Quickoffice elegant but limited

Here’s the bottom line on Quickoffice for readers who need to make a purchasing decision while running between meetings. If you need to access and edit Google Docs, Quickoffice is your best option, and it’s a pleasure to work with. If you need to keep your graphics intact, look elsewhere.


  • Provides great online file management capabilities.
  • Opens and edits Google docs.
  • Has an elegant interface.
  • Doesn’t like graphics.
  • Doesn’t work well with Apple external keyboards.

In addition, I discuss the essential rituals of Baptist Preacher’s Kids, the importance of prevarication and why cats don’t share documents (preferring instead to pee on the bed).

One of the worst feelings that can happen to a reviewer is the feeling he has nothing left to say. Fortunately that has never happened to me because I have been a gifted prevaricator since childhood. This may be due to my upbringing as a Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK) where learning to polish your prevarication skills is one of the four most important rites of childhood.

The other three rites are answering the invitation to get salvation, baptism, and rededicating your faith after you discover cigarettes, beer, girls, playing doctor with girls, vandalism, first base with girls, second base with girls, dating more than one girl at once, hard liquor and all the other events that for other boys are the important rites of childhood rather than the things that will get you ratted out to your minister dad if word gets around (and when you’re BPK, word always gets around).

The bright side is you get to repeat the rededicating your faith ritual more than once, and, if you really have connections, multiple declarations of rededication can earn you a second baptism. I had the honor of three. No, four. I forgot about Patty Kelso from Houston who I met at church camp. At the end of a service the choir sang “Oh, why not tonight?” and she said the same.

How could any boy resist an invitation like that?

Back at home next Sunday I rededicated my faith and this one earned me another baptism. Dad never found out about Patty because she went to Clear Lake Baptist in Houston and he didn’t know any deacons from there.

It may seem to readers with no experience as fundamentalists or evangelicals that learning to prevaricate shouldn’t be included with the other three rituals of the BPK childhood. This is because they weren’t raised as fundamentalists or evangelicals. In fact, it is important for BPK’s to learn to prevaricate so that their BP dads (BPDs) don’t have meltdowns when they confront BPKs about certain stories they heard from the deacons (who decide their salaries and are looking for any excuse to deny BP dads a raise).

Besides, BPKs need to learn to prevaricate so they can learn to embellish their sermons when they become BPDs themselves. Once you accept the call from God, not only is it perfectly acceptable to incorporate the stories that once upset your BPD into your own sermons, you have to make your deeds sound even more dastardly to prove how much you needed the grace of God.

Every time you and a buddy snuck a beer from his his dad’s refrigerator will become a drunken binge with the Hell’s Angels while carrying heroin over the border. Every trip to second base with a girl on the debate team became a night spent in a drunken stupor surrounded by hookers in Mexico. The pool game you won from a hustler by clearing the table for the only time in your life and without knowing how you did it becomes a gambling career spent on the run from the Mafia.

So lying is not only Christian, it’s essential to the ministry (even though that particular calling passed me by).

In the meantime, I find myself, not with nothing left to say, but with the task of saying that nothing about another Office Suite companion app for the iPad—Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for the iPad (which may well deliver more syllables than features).

Nice, but not professional

If you’re a casual word processor user who uses the Office Suite to type memos and poems as well as mock up a budget or simple account ledger, Quickoffice is a good choice. The app is designed to make it easy to create and format documents and then back them up wirelessly.

Once you set up your backup account you can navigate between your servers as easily as you could with the Macintosh Finder. If you’re used to Windows file operations, you may find Quickoffice easier to work with. The file browser works in columns view allowing you to see files and nested folders without actually opening a folder.

The best file management on the iPad

Whether you want to save your files online or on your iPad, Quickoffice has the best file management interface I’ve seen on the iPad in any app. You can create as many nested folders as you want and you can drag and drop files to any other folder on the iPad or on your online server.

If you work with a good number of documents, this feature is a life saver. Pages and Numbers, by contrast, force you to save all files to one location. I may be working on ten reviews at a time—all in different stages of research and writing—in addition to other documents, and wading through that many files to find the right one is a pain.

I am seriously considering switching drafting for my blogs to Quickoffice simply because of the ability to manage files. If it weren’t for the poor keyboard support (which I’ll get to a few paragraphs further on), I would have made the decision already.

Nested folders on your iPad or server

Complete drag and drop support.

Google Docs support

Quickoffice seems to work seamlessly with Google Docs, which its competitor Documents to Go does inconsistently at best. Anyone who has tried to edit Google Docs using their iPad browser (as is intended) has probably long ago discovered that iPad browsers don’t support Google docs any more than they support Flash. I don’t use Google Docs much but Carol does need to share documents with her friends in Siamese Rescue. Being able to edit shared docs on the fly with her iPad saves her a lot of trouble.

Jenny Manytoes, a topic in one or two of those shared documents, marvels at the concept. Cats don’t share anything, except, perhaps, space on a bed. Nor do they keep documents because nothing they have to say to each other is worth remembering five minutes from now. The other cats either moved away from the food dish or pillow already, or there was a fight and fur is now covering every throw in the living room, or the cat with the message decided it wasn’t worth the conflict and found something else to do.

The only message cats really leave is to pee on the bed. This is not a message for cats but for their pets (us). When dogs pee, the message is always, “This is my territory.” (Or else, “You really should have let me outside when I was barking fifteen minutes ago”.) When cats pee, they’re pissed about something they think you’re responsible for. The closer the wet spot is to the pillow, the more likely they are to hold you responsible.

Cats never tell you what they’re mad about. If you can’t figure it out, you’re not smart enough to serve them. Besides, they usually forgot what they were pissed about ten minutes after they peed on the bed.

I don’t really see the need for Google Docs either. I don’t collaborate with that many people. Come to think of it, those collaborations usually last two or three months at best and then I end up working on my own again.

But some people really like to have other people poking around into what they write, and some people’s bosses think it’s a good idea to have team collaboration on documents in progress. Quickoffice gives you the ability to collaborate on Google Docs when you need to sneak out of the office with your iPad so you can actually find time enough to compose your thoughts.

User friendly formatting

Quickoffice has the best user interface I’ve seen in an Office app on the iPad. Some of the features are slicker than iWorks. Quick Office offers a formatting palette with tabs for text, paragraphs, colors and spreadsheet columns and borders. You can even select text with the palette open, which means you can format multiple sentences and cells without having to open and close the editing window. The justification feature actually allows you to drag sample text into the alignment format you want and preview the results before leaving the palette.

The interface is also drop dead gorgeous. Its a pleasure to use Quickoffice just to play with the features.

Awesome formatting interface.

On the other hand, if you work with styles in your documents, you can forget them. This isn’t just a Quickoffice problem, this is an iPad problem. Even Pages has extremely limited styles support. Any Office document with styles will lose them as soon as you open the document in Quickoffice.

No graphics or Power Point

Quickoffice drops the ball when it comes to graphics. The app can’t even read graphics that were added to files in Mac or Windows Office Suite. If you need graphics support, you will need to use iWorks or Documents to Go. If you need to add and manipulate graphics from the iPad, you’re stuck with iWorks.

A document with graphics opened in Documents to Go.

The same document in Quickoffice.

Quickoffice can read Power Point files, but that’s it. As with graphics, the only app that lets you edit the text in Power Point presentations is Documents to Go.

Poor keyboard implementation

Quickoffice shares Documents to Go’s inability to access any keys but the character keys on the Apple Bluetooth and iPad Dock keyboards. As much as I love the virtual keyboard, when I have a lot of typing to do, nothing beats a standard keyboard. I even carry a Bluetooth keyboard in my car just in case I need to do heavy typing on the road.

You can type into Quickoffice, but the app doesn’t recognize the arrow keys, which makes highlighting large text blocks and navigating through documents more difficult. You can still touch the screen directly just as you would with the virtual keyboard, but switching from the keyboard to touch screen mode can be awkward and can disrupt the flow of your thoughts.

Quite frankly, if it weren’t for this drawback, I would have replaced Pages with Quickoffice weeks ago as my go to app for text only documents.

The lack of graphics support is enough to knock Quickoffice down the list of apps to use for office and client documents. The inability to edit Power Point files doesn’t bother me nearly so much, but it still weighs heavily against it.

At fifteen dollars Quickoffice is at the top of the list for expensive Office apps. I like the app, I like it a lot. I would love it were it to provide graphics support and keyboard support. But I can’t recommend it over Documents to Go or iWorks unless you really need full access to Google Docs files or work exclusively with files that require no graphics.

Jenny Manytoes rates Qucikoffice

Jenny Manytoes would take a nap the minute it launches. It’s pretty and elegant, but it also lacks some essential features.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

iPad Envy is created entirely using apps from my iPad.
Please email me at iPadenvy@me.com.

About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in iPad, Office Suite, Power Apps and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Quickoffice elegant but limited

  1. James says:

    Hello. Great review. I’m thinking about purchasing QuickOffice for my iPad, especially since they’re running a special this weekend for$11.99. But I still have a few reservations that I haven’t been able to find answers to.

    1. Haven’t been able to find any recent reviews that don’t state the obvious features already mentioned in the product descriptions. Are you running the most recent version, and if so is it ant better for you?

    2. Is it possible to format margins from within the iPad app? I can’t seem to find anything online and also have not gotten a response yet from a support question I sent in.

    Any insight would be much appreciated.



    • I love it but it still has the problems mentioned in the review.

      The only margin formatting is for individual paragraphs, not the entire document.

      You may be happier with the more recent version of Pages, which is cheaper although you also need to buy Numbers if you want spreadsheet report. On the other hand, Keynote provides better Power Point support than any aother aop.

      The most recent Pages supports graphics, footnotes, toc and styles from office files, and exports better back to Word. It also handles graphics far better. As I recall, Quick Office supports no graphic formats.

      What Pages doesn’t do is nested file management and support for as many online backup services. If you need online backup other than iDisk or WebDav your SOL.

      see the iWorks upgrade review.

      Office HD may also be a better alternative. You can check that review at Office HD review.

      I know I seem wishy washy but it’s hard to find the perfect match for your desktop. Sadly there simply is no word processor on the iPad that can give us all the features we expect from desktop versions, nor is it likely that smaller portable OS like iOS will ever do so.

      I wish I could be more helpful.

      • James says:

        Thanks so much for the insight. Yeah, it sounds like there’s not one app that does it all as far as compatibility with Word.

        Since the price of the iWork apps are pretty concrete at $9.99, I think I may take the chance with QuickOffice while it’s on sale for $11.99. They say on their website that PowerPoint editing will be in an update late 2010, but that’s not a big deal for me as I don’t use ppt much. Since QO has both a word processor and spreadsheet, at least it would be a good app to start out with.

        Maybe they’ll add the ability to insert images and format margins from within the app. I guess time will tell. So, from your experience with QO and it’s inability to format margins, how do it look when you open them in the desktop Word? Does QO have fixed margins that are the same in every doc you export?

        Thanks again for shedding some light on the app.


      • The margins import into Word with the default 1.25″ side and 1″ top margin at lease with .docx files. I never tested ,doc files, but i would assume they behave the same way. Once it’s there, of course, you can adjust the margins any way you want.

        And I had forgotten that QO does export both .doc and .docx files, so that another thing it does that iWorks for iPad hasn’t done yet.

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