Editing office documents was pretty hard on the first smartphones (and I’m talking as far as Windows Mobile devices): the small resolutions and less than powerful hardware made the task nearly impossible, and if you had any formatting or foreign languages, you might as well forget it and look for a laptop nearby.
But these days, it has become very easy to do it: with smartphones running 1 GHZ processors and 256+ MB of RAM, you can easily work on any kind of documents, no matter how long they are. There are a lot of apps for the purpose, as well, and the iPhone has the best collection. Here are just a few of those apps that you can find and install from the iTunes marketplace:
You might’ve already heard of or used Pages, which is part of Apple’s own iWork Suite, a Microsoft Office competitor that is available for Mac OS X, the iPad and just recently it was introduced for the iPhone 4S. Sadly, it only works on the iPhone 4S, but if you have one and want to use it to edit documents and Word files on it, it is the best solution – it’s optimized for touch screens and has all the features you might need, including advanced formatting and the ability to export in multiple formats.
Numbers is the spreadsheet application from Apple, and it’s an excellent competitor for Excel… but that’s only if we’re talking about laptops, because there is no better alternative to it on the iPad and the iPhone 4S – the office app for Windows 7 Phone pales in comparison. You can create and edit beautiful spreadsheets with a lot of data right on your smartphone, and save it in one of the many formats available without any problems.
Keynote completes the iWork suite, and it’s a very nice app for creating presentations. Yes, with the iPhone 4S, you can use the full power of Keynote to create beautiful presentations right on your iPhone, and output them to a projector using the phone’s HDMI out capabilities – if that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
Documents to Go
If you have the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS or even the iPhone3G, you needn’t despair if you are not able to run the iWork apps listed above. Documents to Go is an excellent replacement for it, and it offers practically the same functionality, with a different design of course, but with the ability to connect to Google Docs and other online document storage services, which might prove even more useful than the flashy charts from Numbers.
QuickOffice for iPhone
QuickOffice is another office suite for the iPhone, and it can do everything that iWork and Documents to Go can, while also providing basic PDF editing capabilities – that’s no small feat, as it takes a lot of resources to do that. But the app works fine on the iPhone 4 and even the 3GS, so it’s a great alternative to the apps above. The only thing I have to say is that if you don’t need to edit PDFs, it might be better to use Documents to Go, because it feels slightly faster and uses less memory, but nothing stops you from having them both installed on your iPhone.
Editing or even creating office documents was unheard of when the first smartphones came out, but nowadays it’s business as usual. The big touch screen and resolution, plus the powerful hardware (especially in the iPhone 4S) allow you to easily work on any kind of document, spreadsheet or presentation whenever you want, right on your iPhone. If you have an external keyboard, it’s practically a sealed deal, as it makes it possible to create and finish a document without ever using a laptop or desktop computer!