I’ve been waiting for the ability to edit Word documents on the iPhone since the day I got one. Why? Because I’m a dreamer, and my dream is someday not having to lug around a laptop of any size while I’m traveling, or just out and about in the city.
My iPhone has become a big part of that dream, and the ability to edit any kind of document using it is another. The release of Quickoffice ($19.99, iTunes link) marks a big first for those editing capabilities, with full support for .doc files.
Now, Word support doesn’t mean as much to me as it once did, since I work primarily online these days, but it’s still great to have, and helpful for my own personal fiction writing. Thanks to Quickoffice, I can now edit stories and start new ones on the go, without having to first convert them to .txt or .rtf documents. Conversion doesn’t work well because a lot of the small print publishers still want .doc files, so I have to then convert back before sending.
Quickoffice does some big things right, but it also misses the mark with other features. First, uploading docs from your computer couldn’t be easier, and there’s no server app to install. You do it right in your browser by directing it to a private IP address on your local network, so it doesn’t matter if you’re using Windows or a Mac. Uploading a doc using the web interface worked flawlessly. Definitely a big plus.
Landscape editing is supported, and it does away with the interface bars to give you as much viewing space as possible. Well-thought out and customized for the platform. Editing in landscape makes working on the iPhone much less painful, and the menus aren’t really all that handy unless you’re setting up a brand new doc.
Copy and paste is supported, but since I’m using the new iPhone 3.0, Quickoffice’s implementation seems a little weak, since it actually sidesteps the built-in one. I’m sure this will be fixed by the time 3.0 is officially released, though, and for now their implementation is just fine, though it only works within Quickoffice itself and not between apps.
With Quickoffice you can also edit Excel files, though PowerPoint presentations are not yet supported. Microsoft’s (s msft) newer .docx and .xlsx files are also not editable, though static versions can be viewed in Quickoffice. Honestly, that’s not really that big of a deal since most people have stuck with the older .doc standard anyway. Bottom line: if you want to edit Word documents on your iPhone, this is the way to do it for the time being, and things could be much, much worse.