When we heard Quickoffice was coming to iPad, we were excited but not surprised. After all, it's already one of our favorite iPhone apps. Like its predecessor, Quickoffice's Connect Mobile Suite ($9.99), lets users create and edit word documents and spreadsheets, as well as import existing files from popular sources, such as Google Docs. While those looking to work on presentations are out of luck, everybody else should find it easy to stay productive on the go with this app.
Whereas Apple's iWork Suite is comprised of three distinct apps (Keynote, Numbers, and Pages), Quickoffice is a single app from which you can view, edit, and create word documents and spreadsheets (no presentations in this version); you can also view PDFs. The main screen looks a lot like the Google Docs homepage, in the sense that all of your files, regardless of whether they're word docs or spreadsheets, appear in a single list. Unfortunately, those files are displayed alphabetically, and you can't sort them by type or, say, the date they were last modified. (With DataViz Documents to Go, you can sort them in myriad ways.) You also can't preview files, as you can with iWork.
However, Quickoffice has a leg up on the competition in that it can import files from a host of sources, including Box.net, Dropbox, Google Docs, and MobileMe. Each source will appear as a separate tab in the leftmost pane, so that you can keep documents from different places separate. As with other office suites for iPad, including Apple's own iWork trio, you can't set Quickoffice to open e-mail attachments by default; you can either press and hold an attachment in Mail and then press Open In or access the document in Apple's viewer and then tap the Open In button in the upper right corner.
From this menu, you can also hold your finger on top of a file and drag it toward either a trash icon or another for mailing it as an attachment. This seems like more of a move out of Android's playbook than Apple's; we're not used to holding and dragging on Apple devices, which makes this app slightly less intuitive (though we figured it out quickly).
In general, we like that Quickoffice for iPad automatically saves drafts, and lets you know it's doing so. One of our complaints about Apple's iWork apps is that although they do autosave, there's no visual confirmation of this action.
Word DocumentsClick to enlarge
With Quickoffice, you only have to tap once to make the keyboard appear (Apple's Pages requires you to double tap). At times, while scrolling through a document with one finger, we accidentally brought up the keyboard, which was mildly annoying. As with other word processing apps for the iPad, when you're done typing you have to press a button on the keyboard to close it, whereas the more intuitive thing to do would be to just tap the document. Likewise, if you're in the settings menu and want to exit, you need to press a small X nearby. We prefer Documents to Go's word processing interface, which layers a thin row of formatting icons above the keyboard so that you can type and edit without having to switch in and out of the keyboard.
As with Pages, there are icons for making text bold, italicized, or underlined. There's also an undo button, although it doesn't say undo; you have to press it once to figure out what its two-way arrow icon means. Under the single settings icon, you can adjust the font using a carousel of typefaces and sizes, as well as the text, background color, and paragraph alignment. Incidentally, Quickoffice has no ruler on the top of the screen, although we found its absence resulted in a more streamlined interface.
You can tap and hold the screen to zoom in on documents, which makes it easier to first select a starting point and then drag your finger to highlight the rest of the text you'd like to format. (You can achieve the same effect in Pages by using two fingers to zoom in.)
SpreadsheetsClick to enlarge
Whereas Apple's Numbers hides all of the formatting options for spreadsheets, Quickoffice puts many of them out in the open, which, for better and worse, makes it appear more like a desktop spreadsheet program (the numbered rows and lettered columns help achieve this look, too). This may intimidate some users, but others might find that being able to insert rows and columns and set formulas in one tap is convenient. With a single tap, you can just as quickly change the number format (say, dollars or a date) and bold or italicize (but not underline) text.
While QuickOffice for iPad lacks the dedicated sum button that Numbers has, it's easy to click on the formulas icon (next to the seemingly unnecessary formula bar), which presents formulas by category. You'll find averages and sums in the common formulas category, among other useful computations. When testing Documents to Go, which lacks a category for common apps, we found we missed this feature. As with the word processing app, you can adjust the fonts and text size using a convenient carousel, as well as change the text alignment, text and background color, and, in this case, borders.
With its attractive interface and ability to sync with files stored all over the cloud, Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad makes it easy to work on projects while on the road. And at $9.99--the cost of just one of Apple's own productivity programs--you get loads of features, such as the ability to work on both word documents and spreadsheets. If you're not a presentations junkie and want an interface that looks like the kind you're used to working in on your desktop, give Quickoffice a whirl.