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QuickOffice HD for iPad Review: Solid Workflow Support

Here we are, a few months after the launch of the iPad, and the device is still waiting for that killer productivity app, the one that will make it a vital workplace tool. A recent entry into the contest is Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad, the latest iteration of the popular Quickoffice line of mobile productivity apps. While Quickoffice for iPad doesn’t quite hit “killer app” status, it is definitely one of the better workflow tools in the App Store.

Quickoffice’s core components are a word processor, Quickword; a spreadsheet editor, Quicksheet; and a PowerPoint viewer. It’s easiest to reference our recent Quickoffice Mobile Connect for iPhone review for a full rundown of each component, because almost nothing has changed here in terms of functionality and features:

  • Quickword is still a great word processor, albeit one with no ability to insert, manipulate, or remove images, charts, or graphs.  They’ve added some formatting and navigational aides, like persistent formatting menus and a slick page-scrolling feature, which help you better work with existing documents. The problems with lost formatting in imported .docx files remains, though.
  • Quicksheet is still a decent spreadsheet system that’s great for managing and displaying data in an existing workbook. It’s still very limited in its spreadsheet creation tools, though, and like Quickword it will strip fancy formatting from your .xlsx files.
  • The PowerPoint viewer is still mediocre at best, capable of opening and displaying but with a lot of formatting errors. Editing functionality has not yet been introduced.

Quickoffice, by its very nature, invites comparison to the iWork titles. While it’s not quite apples and oranges, the two really come from two different directions. Whereas iWork seemed designed with content creation in mind, QuickOffice for iPad is all about inserting itself into your workflow.

Almost every refinement, every improvement, every additional feature in Quickoffice for iPad relates to workflow and the management of documents both between the ipad and cloud serbices and also across cloud services. And in this, Quickoffice for iPad hits a home run.  Quickoffice lets you not only acess, but edit, copy, move, and manage documents from all the major cloud servers. It supports Google Docs, Dropbox, Box, MobileMe, and iDisk. Its dashboard has been designed so that every file in each of these services can be manipulated on-screen, without switching windows or hopping back and forth. The file management screen is perhaps my favorite addition to the iPad app, a feature that takes full advantage of the iPad’s larger screen.

Quickoffice really did an excellent job on file management.

Quickoffice for iPad also creates in, saves to, and shares with Microsoft Office, supporing .doc, .docx, .xls, and .xlsx formats. This alone makes it more valuable than iWork to the 80% or more of us whose workplaces have adopted Office or Office-compatible productivity suites.

(It should be noted that, at the time of this writing, Quickoffice is having an issue working with some Google Docs files, due to changes made in the Google Docs system within days of the release of the app. The developers have stated that this should be fixed in the apps next update.)

There are things keeping Quickoffice from being perfect right now.  The whole PowerPoint viewer is a bit meh, and is anticipated editing feature still isn’t there–it has been coming to the various iterations of Quickoffice “soon” for some time now. Then there are the little but noticeable missing options in Quickword, and the more significant and limiting missing options in Quicksheet, mostly as it comes to creating spreadsheets or entering data into more than one cell at a time. So as a standalone content creation device, Quickoffice for iPad has some way to go.

As a part of your daily workflow, however, it’s top notch. And since the developer has a history of supporting and updating their apps, Quickoffice for iPad will only get better. With the iWork suite, Apple focused on features, but dropped the ball on functionality by ignoring the need for workflow and Office compatibility. Quickoffice for iPad doesn’t make these mistakes, and as such, even with its current limitations, it is a great choice for anyone who needs a portable document companion in their work.

Our Score: 4/5.

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