iPad and Microsoft Office
What is the best iPad Office app or which is the best iPad office Suite are questions that get asked too often and come from people stuck in an old way of thinking. Do you really think there will be a Microsoft Word iPad version.
One of the things that bugs me more times than I care to say is when you get someone coming into the iOS world or the Mac world comes in thinking that they still have to have the comfort blanket of Microsoft office. I know I should be more easy going about it, seeing as it comes down to ignorance that is encouraged by the guys from Redmond. They want people to think that the only way it is possible to work with text or numbers or presentations is by using the behemoth expensive lump of software that is MS Office. Even my nephew seemed to think that he would need Office when he got his iPad.
Blind Leading the Blind
So these unfortunate souls think of it in terms of what the requirements are where they work or study. They get told that they have to hand over documents that are in Word format for example, by people that you would not call tech savvy, by any means. But when it comes right down to it, it is just text with a bit of formatting applied to make it look nice. That can also be done in so many other applications and often for free. On the Mac you have Bean a free word processor that makes files that can be read by Word users without any problem at all. If you don’t tell them which word processor you used they would not necessarily be any the wiser. You can save out in .doc format or .rftd and a number of other formats.
Same deal when we are using iOS
Why are people asking about Microsoft office for iPad. I don’t know if it is likely to become available as an app for the iPad, but truly it is really not needed. For a start off you have Pages on the iPad which will let you create documents that will look great and there are also other office type applications that will do the work that you need to be done, no problem at all.
There is Numbers which is an OK spreadsheet, certainly good enough to do the spreadsheet things you will be doing on the iPad. Then we have KeyNote which is the best presentation software bar none.
Other Office Options for the iPad
- Documents to Go Premium Office Suite – You can edit, create and view files from Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
- Virtual PC with Open Office Suite.
- QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad. – Do all that you want to with any of the MS Office files.
- Office HD – Work with DOC and DOCX, XLS and PPT.
- NeoOffice Mobile You have to have an account with NeoOffice Mobile and you can only view, not edit the documents – But at least it is free.
- Smart Office – Edit and view major office documents. You can view some bitmap and vector formats too.
A Better Way of Attacking the Situation
First of all start thinking a bit differently from the old iPad and Microsoft Office way of thinking. Quit hankering after the old ways of doing it and throw yourself into a new stripped down universe that doesn’t require the bloat of the MS Office. There is something beautiful with just working with text plain and simple and concentrating on the message not the medium.
So use text and stop worrying about fancy formatting. It is the content within the text that is important and not what it looks like. Or think about just using basic formatting and perhaps even consider the use of Markdown or Multimarkdown. With the Markdowns you can have a document that is easy to read and easy to turn into a good looking web page. You can find out more about Markdown on Daring Fireball.
I am certain it is true that many people waste a lot of time messing with formatting rather than getting on with the next piece of work. Get it out there so it can be read and consumed for readability you just need some simple headings, short paragraphs and maybe a little bit of bold or italics to say what you have to say.
Applications for working with Text on the iPad
- NebulousNotes – My favourite right now for working with text and using markdown. There is Edito for working with Markdown also. I use this with Scrivener by syncing Dropbox folders. TextExpander works in this one too.
- PlainText – Simple to use and it works.
- SimpleNote A good solid text editor. Syncs with Scrivener
- EverNote Not just for keeping the web clippings you can also create good looking docs here too.
- ThinkBook – A bit of a weird one but I like the idea behind it, good for outlining a doc.
- Blogsy – Much of what we do is destined for a web page and possibly a blog, here is a good tool to use for blogging. There are also apps dedicated to WordPress or Tumblr.
Spreadsheet for the professionals
I will bow down to Excel as being a whole lot better than numbers for the people that make spreadsheets do the really fancy things that they can do. For the rest of us mere mortals though Numbers is just fine, especially on the iPad.
Presentations deserve to have KeyNote the Apple application. I have used presentations created on the Mac in Keynote and also some done on the iPad and they look absolutely brilliant. Much better that the tired looking presentations you get out of PowerPoint. So it is recommended to use KeyNote for the professional presentations. Will work out much better than any Microsoft Office for iPad could work out.
I can’t recommend Scrivener on the Mac highly enough for writers of all sorts. You can write novels, articles, plays, screen plays and it is great for massaging text into whatever you need it to be. I use it every day for my writing and I would not dream of writing anything using Word. On the iPad you can sync with text files in a folder or use Simple note or Index cards app to use Scrivener on the iPad
No we don’t need MS Office on iPad or need to know which is the best iPad Office app or even where you can get free office for iPad. This is because on the iPad Office documents are easy to open and edit without the need for a Microsoft office app for iPad 2. All you have to do is to load up the Office documents on iPad by whatever means. DropBox is a good way and you can also do it with Good Reader. In fact the Apple Office iPad app Pages will let your work with MS Office documents.
Open Office For iPad
There are other options for office documents on iPad rather than Microsoft Office for iPad, such as Quick Office for iPad and Open Office for iPad. But as far as I am concerned the important thing is the meat and potatoes of the document – The Text – The Numbers – The Pictures – The Content of the Slide shows. The format it is in these days is more or less irrelevant. Stop worrying about the format of the file and just grab the content to work with it. So who needs an iPad Microsoft Office app?
Numbers is a pretty amazing app.