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Edit Word on iPad, Excel on iPhone or PowerPoint on iPod Touch: Mobile Office Apps Showdown

17 February 2011 No Comment

I’ve become dependent upon my iPhone / iPad for everyday tasks. Generally the iPhone lets me breeze through tasks such as Email, Maps, Search, and more. I wish the iPhone would let me beeze through document editing as easily… Powerpoint has been quite the issue for me.

Here’s my most common use case example:  My colleague Julie emails me a draft of a partner proposal PowerPoint deck to the exec team and me to review.

The exec team needs the revised deck ASAP and all I’ve got is my iPhone to check it over, edit, and send it off. So my first demand is I need to be able to view AND edit the attachment . Unfortunately, all I can do from my iPhone is view a simple rendering of the presentation.

Since editing Office Docs is a obviously a necessity for me I researched and reviewed five apps for iPhone and iPad Word, Excel, and Powerpoint editing:

1.  AlwaysOnPC (http://www.alwaysonpc.com)

AlwaysOnPC is a sweet little app that’s like an iPhone or iPad Office Suite (a complete Office suite) to edit Word, Excel or Powerpoint on iPad or iPhone.

Or, if you would prefer, use the included outlook-clone email client or cloud storage service (Dropbox) to take care of everything in one place.

Or, you can convenient check email or login to your web-based file storage like Sugarsync or Carbonite using the Firefox with Flash on iPhone or iPad.


 Single payment to use all Office applications; Whether doing iPad Word document edits, iTouch Powerpoint updates, or iPhone Excel calculations, you get full MS Office compatibility; The fastest program we’ve seen for opening and editing big documents on the go (e.g. over 3G); great Dropbox usability; a WYSIWYG display. You can also take advantage of the ability to copy and paste to a shared clipboard allowing you to switch between Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.


A bit of learning is required to get comfortable with the User-Interface; a 3G or WiFi connection is required to access the application

2. DataViz Documents to Go

Use a Powerpoint editor through DataViz’s office suite


   Open and save in native Office formats including Powerpoint; plugs into a handful of Cloud storage services including dropbox; interfaces with iPhone nicely


Presentations with heavy pictures and graphs sometimes don’t render; can be slow opening decks over 1Mb; does not allow cut and paste function between other programs; a little pricey


3. VNC to your home or work PC

VNC products like LogMeIn Ignition, Mocha, TeamViewer and others allow you to access your desktop or laptop PC from your iPhone, and thus you can use whatever applications you have there – presumably MS Powerpoint or the equivalent


Gives you access to ANYTHING you have on your main PC; files generally open faster


Setup time – requires setup on home PC, adjusting settings and firewaslls, then installing on iPhone; Home PC must always be on – not in hibernate or sleep mode – and not in use; requires internet connectivity.


4.   iWork suite from Apple

Apple has made iWork suite with Keynote, Numbers and Pages available in the Appstore for iPad. It takes fourth:


Great UI, integrates well for Mac users; import feature for MS Office formats


Incompatible output with devices other the iPad or Mac; no Office file format save/export functionality; requires learning a new interface; ten bucks per app if you want the whole suite.


5.  Google Docs

Google Docs is a great idea and definitely improving, but it is still limited in its capacity as a tool for mobile users (plus not everyone is a Gmail user).

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