Unfortunately, there is no official Microsoft Office – Word, PowerPoint, and Excel – for the iPad which is what most people, including students, use to write reports, make presentations, and collect data on desktop computers. Here I will discuss replacements for Microsoft Office if your class is using iPads and not desktop computers – Quickoffice Pro HD and Documents To Go.
Quickoffice Pro HD
Quickoffice Pro HD (from here on Quickoffice) is a great Microsoft Office replacement for the iPad. You can create and edit all forms of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files while also viewing PDF files. It is visually stunning and easy to use. The interactions are very user-friendly and even enjoyable. As you can see in the following video, Quickoffice really takes advantage of the innovation the iPad has allowed in a touchscreen landscape. If you use cloud services this app supports Google Docs and Dropbox along with a few others. It does cost $19.99.
Check out this video to see what I mean when I say it really takes “advantage of the innovation the iPad has allowed in a touchscreen landscape:”
View or download in App Store -$19.99
Documents To Go Premium – Office Suite
With Documents To Go Premium (from here on DocsToGo) you can create and edit all forms of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel and it also allows you to view PDF’s along with a few other file formats. All the formatting buttons you’re familiar with, such as fonts, font size, paragraph formatting, align buttons, etc. appear above the touchscreen keyboard. If you use cloud services DocsToGo also supports Google Docs and Dropbox among others. This version (Premium) costs $16.99. There is also a regular version that only costs $9.99 but that version only lets you create and edit Word and Excel files. It does not let you create or edit PowerPoint files; it just lets you view them.
Check out this video review I found to get a better sense of DocsToGo:
View or download in App Store -$16.99
Both Quickoffice Pro HD and Documents To Go Premium seem to be great replacements for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel since there is no official Microsoft Office app for the iPad. In my research, both of these seem to be the two major players in this category. Others either didn’t cover all three file formats (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) or just had such terrible ratings that I didn’t bother with them. In my opinion, Quickoffice is the way to go. It is just more intuitive, more appealing, and has a much more enjoyable experience. DocsToGo has a bland menu when selecting your files and seems like you are using Windows Explorer or Finder. That being said, it still does the job and if money is a concern then you are saving $3.00. Which means if you need to buy either or for a classroom set of iPads then you can do the math as to how much you’re saving and weight your options based on that.