What does your iPad get used for? The chances are that it is used for a variety of things ranging from accessing social networks and sending emails, to watching videos and playing games. While the bulk of your iPad’s life may be dedicated to fun, it can also be used as a serious tool for work.
On a desktop computer there is one essential piece of software — the office suite. Such tools have existed on mobile platforms for some time now, but have generally left a lot to be desired. But things have evolved over the years, and we’ve now reached a stage where mobile office suites make working on the move with an iPad is easier than ever. Enter Documents To Go Premium.
Introducing Documents To Go Premium
The iPad, particularly if you are sticking to using the on-screen keyboard rather than investing in a separate Bluetooth one, is unlikely to be used to produce works of Kerouacian proportions, but it is still a very useful piece of equipment for those occasions when you need to work on the move.
As this is an office suite, you’re afforded the opportunity to create and edit documents that are fully compatible with Microsoft Office. What this means in practice is that you’re able to open files that were created in Word, Excel or PowerPoint right up to the 2010 version, but you can also work with PDFs, iWork, plain text files and many more.
You’ll probably have noticed that this app has a Premium tag and if you were under the impression that this implied there is also a non-premium version available you would be correct. With the Premium version weighing in at $16.99 and the regular version just $9.99, it’s important to know just what you’re getting for an extra $6.
There are really only two extra features, but they are pretty major ones. The first one is the ability to work with PowerPoint files; just as with other the other supported documents, you can use the app to not only view these files, but also edit them and create new ones from scratch.
But perhaps the most important difference between the two versions is the fact that the premium edition features cloud support. This means that you are able to work with files stored on any of a number of cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Google Docs and SugarSync, but you can also use a desktop app to sync files via Wi-Fi if you prefer.
Whether you’re working with the word processor, spreadsheet or presentation tool, each component of the suite works in very much the same way. As with other similar tools, you may find that it is often easier to work in portrait mode as when in landscape mode the keyboard occupies too much of the screen to be able to see much of the document you’re working on.
A slimline toolbar at the bottom of the app interface provides access to common formatting options, and these vary only slightly between the different apps. When you’re number crunching, you’ll probably find that you spend a lot of time zooming or scrolling around as there’s a limit to how much data can be displayed at any one time.
Perhaps the least impressive part of the suite is the presentation tool. There is a limit to what can be achieved with presentations but you are able to edit existing slides, add notes and work with a small number of relatively uninspiring templates.
Tools & Features
The spreadsheet and presentation tool are, for most people, going to be the least used of the available components. The word processor is the undoubted star of the show, and it’s a great tool for a writer who needs to be able to get words down on paper wherever they may be.
In this area, Documents To Go does not disappoint, and there are plenty of tools and features that other office suites overlook. For the serious writer, the word count tool is essential, and it’s good to see that it’s been included here; the same goes for find and replace and the option to work in distraction-free full-screen mode.
File management is something of a mixed bag. Documents that you have chosen to save to your iPad can be easily browsed through and you even have the option of starring those you want to use frequently to make them easier to find. There’s also a search function on hand, but this can only be used with locally saved files, or those that you have downloaded.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the premium version of the app is a little on the expensive side. But the extra cost does bring the feature that almost everyone looking at the app is going to want to use. While this does feel rather like being held to ransom, the additional outlay is worthwhile as it just makes life so much easier to be able to work in the cloud.
This is not a perfect office suite, but it is — even with some distance — one of the better options available in the App Store.