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Microsoft Office for the iPhone (without the Microsoft)

Why wait for Redmond?

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Review No, you can't run Microsoft Office on your Apple iPhone or iPod touch. But you can edit Word and Excel files, including docs and sheets saved in Redmond's current .docx and .xlsx standards.

This convenience is provided by Quickoffice, a company that has for the past 12 years been providing Microsoft Office document support for Symbian, Blackberry, Palm, and iPhone.

Their latest iPhone and iPod touch offering is Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite 1.4.1 - App Store link here. With this $9.99 app, you can also view a broad range of other files, mount your Apple handheld on your desktop as a wireless drive, access and email files from your MobileMe iDisk, and more.

We recently got our hands on a copy, loaded it onto our iPhone 3GS, put it through its paces, and are ready to render judgment. In short, Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite 1.4.1 is a welcome tool for Office users on the go. It's not perfect - more on that in a minute - but what it does, it does well.

But note that this is a review of version 1.4.1. Earlier versions that we tested were both incomplete and buggy. Version 1.4.1 is a solid - and essential - upgrade.

As a viewer and media player, Quickoffice supports a veritable menagerie of file formats. As a file creator and editor, its capabilities are more limited: its Quickword module focuses on Microsoft Word, and Quicksheet handles Excel.

Supported formats include:

  • Images: .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff, .gif, .svg
  • Microsoft Word: .doc, .docx
  • Microsoft Excel: .xls, .xlsx
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: .ppt, .pptx
  • Apple iWork: .pages, .numbers and .key (iWork '09, however, is not supported)
  • Adobe Acrobat: .pdf (but not password-protected PDFs)
  • Web Pages: .htm, .html
  • Web Archive: .mht
  • Text: .txt (but not .rtf)
  • Audio: .mp3
  • Video: .mov, .qt (.m4v files - those optimized for the iPhone and iPod - aren't supported)

Note the inclusion of .docx and .xlsx, the formats used by Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows and Microsoft Office 2008 for Macintosh. As we reported earlier this month, this addition is the first-line feature of version 1.4.

In our testing, support for these newer file formats is nearly identical to how Quickoffice handles the earlier formats. No small feat.

But before Quickoffice can handle any of its many supported files, you need to get them onto your iPhone. And this aspect of the app is a real winner.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: File transfer

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