One of the most common tasks that I do on my iPhone and iPad is review a Microsoft Word document that I receive via email. While it is possible to tap the document once and read it using the iOS built-in document viewer, I far prefer to instead open the document in Documents to Go. In Documents to Go I can see redline track changes, comments and footnotes, none of which appear when you use the built-in viewer, and I like being able to pinch to make the text size larger or smaller to make it easier to read the document, something that you cannot do using the built-in document viewer. Documents to Go is also useful for editing documents, but I suspect that 90% of the time that I use Documents to Go I am using it as a superior document viewer.
This week, Documents to Go was updated to version 5.0. I'm always happy to see any update to Documents to Go on iOS, especially a significant update, because three years ago, much of the assets of DataViz were purchased by RIM, the company that makes (and subsequently changed its name to) BlackBerry. I've never seen a full explanation of the details of that transaction, and when it occurred I was worried about the future of Documents to Go on iOS, but after three years of continued updates, hopefully there is no longer any reason to be concerned.
This update does a few things. First, it changes the interface to better match iOS 7, which I expect Apple to release this month. It's just a cosmetic change, but it does have a fresh new look. Here is what the main document screen looked like in the previous version of Documents to Go on an iPad, followed by the main document screen in version 5:
Version 5 also adds support for iCloud if you are using Documents to Go Premium. You can now backup and save your documents to iCloud and use iCloud to sync documents between multiple devices.
The update also improves viewing of PowerPoint slides (and the editing of PowerPoint slides if you use Documents to Go Premium), but that is not a feature that I ever use so I cannot comment on the changes.
The final change is to the way that you view documents, and while it is a minor change, I like it quite a bit. As noted above, viewing Word documents is the primary thing that I do with this app, so I always appreciate an improvement. In the prior version of Documents to Go, you always viewed a document in an edit mode. There was always a bar at the top with the document name and some other buttons, and there was always a bar at the bottom with formatting buttons. Here is what it looked like:
In version 5.0, when you first open up a document, a bar briefly appears at the top with the document name but then it goes away and the app goes into a view only mode with no bars at the top or bottom. Thus, you can see more of the document on the screen (typically 1-2 more lines) plus there are fewer distractions because essentially your entire screen is devoted to the document, except for the standard iOS bar at the top:
Not only does the initial View Only mode remove the bars, it also removes something I will call the Annoying Keyboard Problem. You see, in the prior version of Documents to Go, sometimes when you touch the screen to scroll through a document or simply accidentally tap on the screen, the app thought that you were trying to edit the document so a cursor would appear and the keyboard would pop up, taking over the bottom half of the iPhone or iPad screen. This always proved to be a major distraction for me. But in the new View Only mode, the keyboard never pops up. If you are like me and spend 90% of your time in this app viewing documents, you'll love this one, small change.
When you are ready to edit a document, simply tap once on the screen and a blue bar will come down from the top. Tap the pencil button at the far right and Documents to Go switches to the edit mode, which works the same way that the prior version of Documents to Go always worked — you'll see menu bars at the top and the bottom. Tap the three dots at the top right for more options such as word count, find and replace, save the document to your Documents to Go file list and email the document.
All of the above images show the app on an iPad, but you see the same improvements on the iPhone. This first picture shows the old version of Documents to Go, and the second pictures is the new version in View Only mode:
I wish that this update offered more. For example, it is great that Documents to Go can show you redline track changes in a document, but I wish that DataViz would add the ability to create your own redline track changes in a document. Nevertheless, the updates in version 5 of Documents to Go are nice improvements that I will appreciate every time that I use the app.
If you are still using the iPhone or iPad's built-in viewer to read Microsoft Word documents, I strongly encourage you to consider purchasing Documents to Go. For many years now, it has been one of the most useful apps on my iPhone and iPad. The $10 standard version might be all that you need, or for $17 you can get the Premium version that adds the ability to use cloud services (Google Docs, Box.com, DropBox, SugarSync and now iCloud) and adds more features for editing PowerPoint slides. If you buy the standard version but then decide you want more features, you can pay $7.99 within the app to add all of the features of Documents to Go Premium. Both versions of are universal apps, so you can buy the app once and use the app on both your iPhone and your iPad.
Click here to get Documents to Go Standard ($9.99):
Click here to get Documents to Go Premium ($16.99):