Word Processing on Smartphone or Tablet
When you walk away from your home or office computer, you don't have to say goodbye to your documents or spreadsheets. There are plenty of apps for iPhone, iPad and Android users that let you do word processing and other Office-y tasks on your smartphone or tablet. Here's my roundup of the best options for editing your documents while on the go with a mobile device...
Mobile Word Processing for iPhone and Android
Trading a laptop for a smaller tablet or smartphone has its downsides, and one of them is writing. I do my serious scribing on a full-size QWERTY keyboard because it’s fast and comfortable. But when I'm on the move I want my computing device small and lightweight. That means some compromising on word processing capabilities and comfort. Here are some mobile word processing apps that will get the job done with minimal pain...
All Apple iOS devices (iPhone or iPad) come with Notes, a simple text editor that can be used to jot down a grocery list or write a novel; there is no arbitrary limit on document size, but formatting options are sparse. Apple users can spend $9.99 on Pages, a mobile app that is a stripped-down version of its desktop ancestor. It’s more powerful and flexible than Notes, and includes many more fonts. Both Notes and Pages will sync your work to a desktop device if you use iCloud.
iA Writer for iPad ($4.99) provides a nice blank canvas on which to write a masterpiece with either the on-screen keyboard or a Bluetooth detached keyboard. Dropbox integration is supported as well as iCloud. There is a Mac OS X version for desktop users.
Textilus ($5.99) is a full-blown word processor for iOS. You get a lot more fonts (some think, “too many”), bold, underline, italic styles, full search-and-replace, and more. It’s compatible with MS Word, Open Office, and Scrivener documents.
Cross-Platform Mobile Word Processing Apps
The free Google Drive app is Google's cross platform offering for word processing and cloud-based storage. It works on Android, iOS, Windows or Mac devices. The mobile version includes Google Docs, a basic word processor that lets you enter your prose, then doctor it up with fonts, bolding, italics and colors. You can cut, copy, paste, undo, redo; create tables and lists; and perform search & replace operations. Similarly, Google Sheets is available for working with spreadsheets.
And there are no worries about losing your work just because you forgot to save. Your work is automatically saved as you type, swipe, or talk. On my Android gadgets, the swipe method of typing lets me quickly "draw" each word by tracing the letters with my finger. But I prefer to use Android's excellent speech-to-text feature, which lets me speak instead of type. I find this much faster, and it eliminates the hassle of a cramped on-screen or bluetooth keyboard.
Why did I mention "cross platform"? Here's why... Because Docs and Sheets store your files in your Google Drive online storage, you can start editing a document on your smartphone or tablet, then jump over to your laptop or desktop, and pick it up from there, with all the comforts of your favorite keyboard, and a more feature-rich version of Docs or Sheets. Even cooler, if you have the document open on both your mobile and desktop screens, you can watch it being updated on one screen while you type or talk on the other.
Microsoft released a mobile version of Office for Android at the end of July, 2013. Like the iPhone version released earlier (Microsoft likes Apple better than Google?) this one is tied to Office 365, the subscription cloud service. Officially, it’s known as Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers, which almost read like a license agreement instead of a product name.
Office 365 subscribers are authorized to install Office Mobile on up to five devices, any mixture of Android and iOS. Office Mobile for Office 365, like its counterpart for Windows Phone, is optimized for displaying and editing documents in Word and Excel. It’s not neglecting the other Office components but they are not as well executed in the mobile environment as these two business staples.
More Word Processing Apps for Android
For only $4.99, Office Suite Professional 7 does practically all that Microsoft Office does, relying on cloud storage services such as MS Skydrive, Dropbox and others. The makers claim that it's the most popular mobile office suite, installed on over 120 million devices. You can create, edit, print and share files in Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats.
The free Amoeba text editor for Android costs nothing and delivers a basic text editor with more than one font choice. You can edit multiple documents at once and swipe left or right to switch between them. Amoeba can save files locally on your device's internal or SD card storage.
Mobile word processing can be simple or complex. I still look on it as a last resort when I can’t get to a laptop or desktop environment. That’s probably why prices of mobile word processing apps are typically less than five bucks and even free.
What's your goto app for mobile word processing? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Dec 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Word Processing on Smartphone or Tablet (Posted: 18 Dec 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved