The best mobile apps for business
As far as editing documents on a phone or tablet is concerned, both Microsoft and Google are in a muddle.
If you’re a Windows Phone user, the free Office app is superb for viewing and making light edits to documents, but you must remember to hit Save – documents aren’t auto-saved and synced as they are in Google Drive, for example.
Likewise, if you’re one of the few Surface RT owners, or plan to buy a compact Windows 8.1 tablet, the bundled copy of Office 2013 is ideal for working on almost any kind of document, spreadsheet (without macros or plugins) or presentation, or for dealing with email.
When it comes to supporting rival platforms, Microsoft is in a pickle
However, remember that Office 2013 makes few concessions to touchscreens – Microsoft’s lamentable touch mode does little more than put extra space between buttons and menus. A touchpad/mouse and physical keyboard are almost prerequisites for serious work.
When it comes to supporting rival platforms, Microsoft is in a pickle. It recently released the free Office Mobile for iOS and Android phones – which provides much the same editing and viewing functionality of the Office app for Windows Phone – but there’s no version optimised for iPad or Android tablets, which are surely more logical devices for document-editing work.
Last year, Google bought Quickoffice and recently released it for free on Google Play, retiring the more fully featured Quickoffice Pro and Quickoffice Pro HD in the process. Alas, Quickoffice is plagued by basic limitations. It synchronises only with Google Drive, and any documents created in Google’s formats can only be viewed as PDFs – they can’t be edited. Office-format documents can be edited, but even basic options – such as running text around images – are missing from the editor, while it stripped formatting from a relatively complex Excel spreadsheet. One to avoid.
Android tablet users looking for a mobile office suite should consider OfficeSuite Pro (£9.65, free seven-day trial available). It isn’t without its formatting issues, especially if you import Word documents full of images or tables, but it coped magnificently with our complicated, heavily formatted Excel spreadsheet. It has a decent range of formatting and editing tools, and it plays nicely with a host of third-party cloud services, including Google Drive, Dropbox and SkyDrive.
Apple users are more spoilt for choice, but we find it hard to look beyond Apple’s own Pages and Numbers (£6.99 each). Once again, there can be issues importing heavily formatted documents or Excel spreadsheets, but when it comes to ease of text/data entry and creating immaculate-looking documents, Apple’s apps nail it.
Insert a photo into a Pages document, for example, and you can pinch and zoom to resize and twist your fingers to rotate, and text flows automatically around images. Both apps, along with presentations app Slideshow, come preinstalled on iPhone 5s and 5c handsets.
Presentations and pitches
Delivering a presentation as a deck of PowerPoint slides shows a distinct lack of imagination these days. There’s a plethora of apps that aren’t only capable of delivering more compelling, visually striking presentations than PowerPoint, but they’re also often much easier to use.