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4 Office for iPad alternatives

Michael Ansaldo | April 25, 2014
When Office for iPad arrived last month, it was a bittersweet moment. The elation over the promise of true tablet productivity muted by the realization that the apps were little more than document viewers without an Office 365 subscription.

You can view, edit, and create Word and Excel files in HopTo, but you may only view PowerPoint presentations. Editing capability will be added in a future version.

Tapping in a document or spreadsheet launches a toolbar across the bottom containing basic formatting options. HopTo's chief executive Eldad Eilam has claimed HopTo offers "pixel perfect" compatibility with Office. Our experience bore that out: File fidelity and track changes support were flawless in our tests. HopTo will display changes made to a Word doc, but it offers scant information about revisions and seemingly no way to accept or reject them, which hampers working on collaborative documents.

HopTo supports virtually every major cloud service not offered by Apple. However, once you associate HopTo to a cloud account, there's no way to sign out of it. The only current workaround is to reset HopTo in your iOS settings, which will clear all your cloud accounts and require you to reconnect them. That's not enough to recommend against it but it can be tiresome if you frequently switch between, say, your work and personal OneDrive accounts. HopTo also offers a free remote desktop installer that allows you to access files on your Mac or Windows PC from your iPad.

QuickEdit (Free)

The popular all-in-one office app Office2 HD was recently purchased by Citrix and renamed Sharefile QuickEdit, but it remains a capable option with excellent Office compatibility. You can view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. We found it maintained file integrity for the first two file types, but it had some minor problems with the last.

Unfortunately, QuickEdit's stark interface won't win any design awards. Where HopTo's simple UI feels elegantly uncluttered, QuickEdit's — featuring just a left-side navigation pane and the document window — seems workmanlike. A sideways-scrolling toolbar across the top offers most of the basic Office formatting options, though the ability to create or edit charts in Excel spreadsheets is conspicuously missing.

Where QuickEdit shines is in collaboration. The app tracks changes with the same colored revision balloons Office uses, making it easy to identify multiple authors in a marked-up document. It also boasts the most file-sharing options of any app in our roundup: Quick edit comes with 1GB of free Sharefile storage; support for nearly a dozen cloud services including Dropbox, Google Drive, MyDisk, Box, and OneDrive; and the ability to connect to generic WebDAV accounts.

Quickoffice (Free)

A couple of years ago, Google purchased Quickoffice, the company behind the popular iPad office suite Quickoffice Pro HD. The app hasn't lost too much luster in the changeover, though. It still provides some of the best support for viewing, creating, and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. (Curiously, it does not support Google documents. For those, you need the separate Google Drive app.)

 

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