10 Microsoft Office Alternatives for Peripatetic iPad Users

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-03-28 Print this article Print

Microsoft Office is officially coming to the iPad. This move, announced on March 27, is a long time coming and illustrates new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's seeming willingness to accept that his company needs to move well beyond its Windows platform. To be successful in mobile, Nadella has realized that Microsoft needs to be platform-agnostic and follow the consumers and enterprise customers wherever they are. The big question on many minds, however, is whether Microsoft's move is too little, too late. While some people will be ecstatic to finally get Office on the iPad, several companies have been offering alternatives for years. And many of those firms have established loyal customers who see no reason to switch to a Microsoft product. Although there are alternatives on the desktop, Office is still the gold standard on that platform. For the majority of enterprise desktop users, switching to an open-source application or something like Google Docs or iWork makes little sense. But in the mobile space, consumers and enterprise users are just fine using Office alternatives to create, edit and send documents. This eWEEK slide show looks at the many alternatives to Office for the iPad, helping folks discover programs that might be as suitable a fit as Microsoft's latest entry into the app space.

  • 10 Microsoft Office Alternatives for Peripatetic iPad Users

    By Don Reisinger
    10 Microsoft Office Alternatives for Peripatetic iPad Users
  • Apple iWork

    Apple's iWork suite is a must-have for someone who wants to create and edit Office documents but doesn't want to go with Microsoft's alternative. Apple's productivity suite includes a Word alternative in Pages, an Excel competitor in Numbers and more. The iWork suite is available for free when customers pick up a new iOS-based device.
    Apple iWork
  • Documents Unlimited Suite

    Documents Unlimited Suite is one of the most popular Office alternatives on the iPad. The app, which costs $4.99 for a limited time (it usually costs $19.99), comes with a distinctly Office-like design, allowing users to create and edit everything from Word documents to PowerPoint presentations. The app also integrates with OpenOffice for those in the open-source community who create and edit documents with that suite.
    Documents Unlimited Suite
  • Documents To Go Premium

    Documents To Go Premium is also a wildly popular Office alternative. The suite has the same ability to create and edit Office documents, and it also supports cloud storage for those who want to share files over the Web. Documents To Go Premium is one of the more expensive apps in this roundup, however, going for $16.99.
    Documents To Go Premium
  • OfficeSuite Professional

    OfficeSuite Professional is another popular app, so far tallying 120 million users across the world. The app allows for editing of Word and Excel documents, but only allows users to view PowerPoint and PDFs. All documents can be stored in the cloud or printed from the app. Best of all, it costs just $1.99.
    OfficeSuite Professional
  • Polaris Office 5

    Polaris Office 5, which was updated recently, includes all kinds of features for those who want to edit Office documents. The company claims to have over 500 editing options for Office documents, and it can handle 300 data-analysis inputs. All that means is that the app is capable of performing sophisticated functions Office users would expect. Be aware, though, that the app costs $12.99.
    Polaris Office 5
  • SmartOffice 2

    SmartOffice 2's claim to fame is its ability to easily share documents with others. The $9.99 app allows users to create and edit Office documents and export those to PDF if necessary. It also has full cloud file access through Box, Dropbox and Google Docs and even allows for sharing across a wide array of services. The app is capable of printing to a multitude of printers too, including those from HP, Epson, Canon and Samsung.
    SmartOffice 2
  • OfficeReader Pro

    Although its name might suggest that there's no editing with OfficeReader Pro, that's not the case. In fact, the $4.99 app allows users to view and edit Word and Excel files. It also includes support for PDF annotations. It's not the most full-featured program in this roundup, but it comes with enough features to justify its price.
    OfficeReader Pro
  • QuickOffice

    QuickOffice, which comes from Google, allows users to both create and edit Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations on their iPads. Unlike most of the other apps in this roundup, QuickOffice is free. Best of all, it works quite well. Consider it a worthy option, given how expensive its competitors are.
  • iDocs

    iDocs, another free app, comes with the fewest features in this roundup, as it only allows users to edit Word documents and make annotations on PDFs. There are some useful text-formatting features, such as underlining, italicizing and bold, but those seeking high-end features will need to look elsewhere.
  • Google Drive

    Google Drive might seem like an odd inclusion in this roundup, but as soon as Office documents are shared with the cloud-based storage service, users can seamlessly edit them from within the platform. Those documents can then be saved in Google Drive and shared elsewhere. It might not be the best solution for everyone, but for Google fans, it's a great alternative to Office for iPad.
    Google Drive
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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