Six clicks: Good alternatives to Microsoft Office for the iPad

Microsoft Office for the iPad is a very good suite, but may be overkill for some users.
Topic: Mobility
1 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Good alternatives to Microsoft Office for the iPad

A good suite of apps for working with business documents is necessary when using an iPad at work. Microsoft Office is the standard in the enterprise, and the ability to work with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files is important.

While Microsoft’s Office for iPad is a great suite and is free, those using an iPad at work are not restricted to that suite of apps. A decent alternative are the three apps that make up Apple’s iWork suite.

But those two suites are huge, as much as a GB of storage, and they can be daunting to use given all of the features in the apps. Fortunately, there are a number of third-party office suites designed to make working with Microsoft Office documents easy and gentle on the iPad storage.

The suites in this collection have been around for a while and are proven to be good in the field. They can handle most typical Microsoft Office documents without problems.

These suites are presented in no particular order, and inclusion here does not amount to an endorsement.

2 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Polaris Office 5

Polaris Office is one of the most comprehensive packages in this collection. It utilizes good touch operation to create and edit sophisticated Microsoft Office documents.

It can output files in PDF format, and works with most major cloud storage services.

From the developer:

View and edit Microsoft Office documents / View documents in PDF and HWP formats

Integrates a variety of cloud storage services (Dropbox, Box, WebDAV, etc.)

15 templates / 20 2D/3D charts / 173 shapes / More than 300 functions and automatic data calculation

View Conditional Formatting and Pivot Tables / Provide a Custom Keyboard for editing sheets

Apply and edit 37 slide transition effects / View object animation

Pointer and memo for Slideshow / Slideshow notes

Add and edit header, footer, endnote, and footnote / Ruler function

Camera mode that can be used to take pictures and apply them to the document / Insert and play video clips / Directly open zip files

$12.99 -- App Store link

3 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

WPS Office

WPS Office by Kingsoft has the expected word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation functions in one free app. It offers good compatibility with most Microsoft Office documents.

It can work directly with a variety of file formats, including PDF.

From the developer:

One small app (less than 100 megabytes) includes Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheets

Fully compatible with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel

Supports dozens of file formats including doc, docx, ppt, xls, xlsx, tif, rtf, pdf and zip

Export office documents and presentations to a PDF

Rich formatting features similar to a PC experience - fonts, colors, image editing and more

Open and edit documents directly from popular cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and WebDAV

Share presentations and documents with other devices using AirPlay, AirDrop, DLNA or WIFI

Supports wireless printing and Bluetooth keyboards

Free -- App Store link

4 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

OfficeSuite Pro

This suite includes three office apps -- word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation -- and adds a robust PDF viewer to the package.

It may not correctly handle documents created with later versions of Microsoft Office.

From the developer:

View, edit and create MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents

View Adobe PDF documents

Save documents to your cloud storage (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and WebDAV)

Share documents via email

Print documents

The only Office solution for iOS that supports PDF files

$9.99 (limited free version available) -- App Store link

5 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Smart Office 2

This app handles documents created with any version of Microsoft Office. These include Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files.

The robust document editors handle styles and formats to suit the user. Documents are accessed through a robust document navigator designed to facilitate working with large documents.

Smart Office 2 allows printing documents within the app.

Key features as per the developer:

SmartOffice accurately displays MS Office files PLUS Adobe PDF, plain text (.txt) and Images

Fast loading for all MS Office file types, PLUS Adobe PDF, plain text and Images

Full support for multi-touch gestures

Screen display adapts to fit your tablet or smartphone

Visual Explorer – thumbnail and timeline views make it easy to find your recent documents

Reflow pages to fit screen, or see full page layouts

Document Info view shows all file details

"N-up" feature dynamically displays multiple pages of a document – navigate easily to any page with scrolling

Zoom in to the smallest detail in your document – Artifex's rendering engine allows crystal clear viewing

Use slide show view for presentations

3D document viewing – put on your glasses and see your renderings in 3D

$9.99 -- App Store link

6 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Documents To Go Premium

This app has been around for years and has a large installed user base. It handles most Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents. There is robust PDF support in Documents To Go.

The suite works with major cloud services.

From the developer:

View, edit, and create MS Office files (97-2013).

View PDF, iWork, Text, .RTF files, and more!

View, edit, save, and sync with multiple cloud services: iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and SugarSync.

Save changes directly to your device, multiple cloud services, or to your computer with our desktop/laptop application - free with your purchase (this app allows you to access desktop files & sync via a Wi-Fi connection).

Send & receive supported email attachments using the built-in Mail app.

Open & edit files within Docs To Go from any 3rd party app that supports the iOS "Open In" feature.

File sorting manager (sort your file list by Name, Modified, Size, etc.)

Supports iTunes File Sharing via USB cable for manually moving files.

$9.99 -- App Store link

7 of 7 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Citrix ShareFile QuickEdit (formerly Office HD 2)

Citrix bought Office HD 2, a long-time favorite office suite, and renamed it QuickEdit. The app was released for free and integrated with other offerings by Citrix.

It has full-featured word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation functions that are wrapped up in Citrix's cloud service, ShareFile. Users of QuickEdit get 1GB of ShareFile cloud storage at no cost.

Features as per the developer:

Seamlessly manage spreadsheets containing 140+ functions

Manage and link data across multiple worksheets

Collaborate with others by email attachments or by sharing through free cloud storage

Save files to PDF or print a hardcopy

Color, sort, merge and search cells to build professional presentations for home or office

Cell formatting: bold, italic, borders, text and cell color, alignment and text wrapping

Cell types: general, number, currency, percentage, date, time and text

Pane freezing

Tap and drag to change row heights and column widths

Intelligent auto range selection for range-based functions

Tap cells to compose formulas

Insert, copy, paste or cut cell ranges, rows or columns

Date formats, date separators and numeric separators are all handled correctly according to the current locale, with manual override

Free -- App Store link

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