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Microsoft Office still isn't available for iPad, but now HopTo fills the void

Mark Hachman | Nov. 15, 2013
Eventually, Microsoft will bring a touch-optimized version of Office to the iPad. Until that day arrives, however, there's Apple's iWork--and now HopTo, which offers a reskinned version of Word as lovely and useful as an iPad app should be.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint compatibility remains a weakness. Although PowerPoint files can be viewed, even with transitions, document creation and editing is unavailable (though will be added in the near future, Eilam promised). But a few bonuses try to make up for it. Although the iPad was designed to eliminate file managers, Hopto builds one in for people who just can't stand not knowing where their files reside. There's also a built-in photo viewer.

Plenty of others from which to choose

HopTo is a connected app: you'll need to be online to use it, at least for now. But aside from a pause of a second or two to open a document, Hopto appeared as fast as a native app. Still, if HopTo turns out not to be your thing, there are plenty of other office replacements for the iPad from which to choose:

Apple's iWork suite: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are all $10 apiece, although they're free with the purchase of a new iPad. In general, Macworld has raved about Apple's latest update to its productivity suite, with some criticism reserved for the latest iteration of Numbers.

ByteSquared's Office2 and Office2HD: Although ByteSquared charges $6 for the iPhone's Office2 app and $8 for the Office2HD app, the MacWorld Office2/Office2HD review knocked both for a lack of Office compatibility and formatting limitations.

DataViz Documents to Go Premium:  The $16 Documents to Go Premium app is functionally sound, although with baffling design choices, such as the labrynthine process to simply italicize a word. The presentation app is subpar, however.

Google's QuickOffice:Now free, QuickOffice is a snappy app that connects to a variety of cloud services. But the knock on QuickOffice is that you only have limited configuration options to choose from. Basically, it's basic.

As well, there are also a number of Office replacement options that live in the cloud, including HopTo. Some of the other alternatives include:

AstralPad: Although the app is free, users have complained that it's not much use. Don't think of AstralPad as a document creation tool, but as an option to make a last-minute change to a file.

CloudOn Pro:  CloudOn recently transitioned from an app to the browser. Although the CloudOn app is free, advanced features such as the ability to track changes or pivot tables requires users to purchase a $2.99 per month/$29.99 per year subscription to CloudOn Pro.

Microsoft's Office Web Apps: Although Microsoft's free OWA services will run within the Safari browser, they're not really effective enough for daily use. Frankly, there are simply better alternatives, many of them for free.

Eventually, Microsoft will release a touch-optimized version of Microsoft Office for the iPad. But that won't happen until the company develops a touch-optimized version of Office for its Surface tablets—which, as Microsoft demonstrated in July, it's working on. Only after that will Microsoft push Office to other platforms, like the iPad.

 

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