How to Run Office Apps On Your iPad

Category: Apple-Mac

I recently got an iPad and I love it. I take it everywhere, so I can keep up with email, browse the web and watch videos. I'd like to dump my laptop and carry just one mobile device, but I need to run Word and other office apps. Is there a way to run MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint on the iPad?

Can The iPad Be Your Portable Office?

The iPad is great for entertainment, Web browsing, and multimedia. But what about bread-and-butter business apps like word processing, spreadsheets, presentation graphics, etc.? Is there a version of Microsoft Office that runs on the iPad?

The short answer is no. Microsoft and Apple don't have a friendly relationship, to put it mildly. So don't hold your breath waiting for the folks in Redmond to put out a Cupertino-compatible version of the MS Office suite of programs. But there are several business productivity apps for your iPad, it turns out.

None of them approaches the highly refined efficiency and features of MS Office, but they do enable office work and many are compatible (to varying degrees) with Office documents.
Office Apps on iPad

Apple's iWork for iPad office suite consists of a word processor called Pages; a spreadsheet dubbed Numbers; and presentation software named Keynote. Priced separately at $9.99 each, the iWork programs are available directly from Apple. A companion Web site called iWork.com provides uploading and downloading of iWork files in their native format, as MS Office documents, or as PDFs. However, iWork only lets you create MS Office files; you cannot import them. Unlike Google Docs or Windows Live Office, iWork.com does not allow online editing. But iWork.com is good for collaboration among remotely distributed employees.

DataViz Documents to Go Premium ($11.99 via iTunes) is a "universal app" for iPad, iPod, and iPod Touch. It supports MS Office Word, Excel, and Powerpoint file formats. It also is compatible with more online storage and collaboration services than the iWork suite, including Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox, iDisk, and SugarSync. You can buy it at the iTunes store.

Office2 HD ($7.99) has only word processor and spreadsheet modules. Unlike iWork, Office2 HD can import MS Office files. However, it does not yet support Office 2007 formats, which may be a limitation for business users. Offce2 HD is available on iTunes.

QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite ($9.99 for iPad) supports Powerpoint presentations as well as Word and Excel documents. It also supports GoogleDocs, MobileMe, Dropbox, Box.net, Huddle and Sugarsync cloud-based storage services. Versions are available for iPad, iPhone, Android, HP WebOS, and Symbian platforms. Download the Apple version at iTunes.

One other option deserves mention here, and that's the remote desktop concept. It's possible to access your Windows desktop with a remote access app for the iPad. Learn more about how this works in my related article Windows on the iPad.

The iPad will never replace desktop MS Office as a business productivity tool. For one thing, a ten-inch screen is not the place for major work projects. Also, typing on a touch-screen takes some getting used to. External keyboards are available for the iPad but none of these office apps integrates well with a keyboard; you have to switch from keyboard to screen for some operations. But as a tool for mobile workers who need to create, read, or share Office documents, the iPad has a role to play.

Do you use your iPad for word processing or spreadsheets? Post a comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "How to Run Office Apps On Your iPad"

Posted by:

Dave
28 Jun 2011

Or for free, just use Google Docs in the iPad browser.


Posted by:

Boyd
28 Jun 2011

I have been using Quick Office for several months. I use it to take notes in meeting with the keyboard attached to my IPad. Then I email or upload the files to Dropbox so I have them on my office computer.

I find it very efficient and a lot less to carry around to meetings.


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