Microsoft Office is a staple in my law firm, and like it or not, Office is here to stay. For me (argue if you must) Office accomplishes what I need, and is rather easy to work with. There’s also an abundant number of resources, like this one, that help sort through some complex office problems.
Well, as Android tablets and mobile devices begin taking over the office environment, the need to “go mobile” will also increase. Microsoft is addressing some of the mobility issues (though I think they’re still stuck in the PC on every desk mindset) with its Office 365 program, but there are still flaws. The main goal of mobility is making work easier while you’re playing around. There are several office suite apps that make using MS Office on a mobile device easier. Here’s my list of the best Office Suites for lawyers, in no particular order:
Google Docs (free)
Google Docs is Google’s offer to the general public that enables you to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations “in the cloud.” Docs is actually a really robust system, with a variety of tools and offerings that make it a viable go-to solution in a pinch. The great aspect is that your documents are available on a mobile device or from a computer via your Google account. One of the major drawbacks to this program is that it lacks some of the deeper features of MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and doesn’t appear to be receiving any new improvements – I feel as though Google has sort of abandoned the Docs project. Unfortunately, you can’t upload any documents from your mobile device, although pictures work fine, to your Google Docs account. This really sucks if you have a document on your device, but not in your account. Obviously there’s not problem if you create a new document on the mobile device.
DTG is battle-proven. I remember using DTG on my Handspring device back in 2004. The app offered a lot of features then, and has continued to be a great go-to source for mobile productivity. DTG is my preferred document editor. There is a huge drawback in the presentations aspect of the app (which I rarely if at all use), so those looking to create brilliant or stunning presentations will want to look elsewhere. I love that you can store all of your documents on your mobile device, rather than relying on an internet connection to link to the cloud. The biggest drawback is the app’s price, especially considering some of its limitations.
OfficeSuite Pro ($9.99)
OfficeSuite Pro is my least-preferred app for lawyers, although there aren’t too many good reasons why. I suspect that since I paid $14.99 for DTG, I figure I ought to get my money’s worth. OfficeSuite is great for documents, but it’s ability to process Excel files and create presentations make it almost worthless. There are also some issues at times displaying images or tables, which I use a lot of.
QuickOffice Pro ($14.99)
QuickOffice is another one with a lot of great features that I haven’t really grasped onto. I guess the element that wins me over the most is the fact that I can store my documents on my tablet’s SD card, rather than relying on cloud uploading. Although it’s a pricey app, QuickOffice does everything you’ll need it to. QuickOffice offers good compatibility with MS Word document formats and the ability to load your documents from several cloud storage services, among other benefits.
ThinkFree Office Mobile ($9.99)
ThinkFree is among the leaders in viable choices for Office-related applications. ThinkFree offers a wide set of options for creating images from scratch, which also makes it a great tool for using the app as a drawing tool on a tablet. ThinkFree is a great value. The app is designed for tablets, which makes it a superior choice for editing or creating documents.
Well, there you have it. The “definitive” guide to Android apps for creating Microsoft Office mobile solutions. I think lawyers will be happy with any of the choices.
Let me know what you think, or if you have a suggestion for another Office suite app I didn’t list, let me know.