Documents to Go for iPad- app review

As a user of Dataviz's Documents to Go product for years, I was ecstatic for the iPhone release and now even more so for the universal binary for iPad. Documents to Go is a mobile office productivity suite that allows you to create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint formatted documents and file types on your iPad.

Let's first look at how we can access our documents, there are a few different ways. First, you can create documents on the iPad. Next, you can sync with your desktop (PC or Mac). You can install a free desktop sync tool. This allows you to pick a folder on your computer and sync those documents to the iPad, or use the built-in iTunes sync if that is your preference. Last but not least you can connect to a few different web services in the "cloud" and edit your documents and save it right back to the cloud. Documents to Go supports these services:

  • Google Docs
  • Box.net
  • Dropbox
  • iDisk
  • Public Disk (iDisk)
  • Sugar Sync

Syncing your documents to the cloud is truly fantastic and is something Apple's own iPad iWork suite does not offer beyond iWork.com.

Editing your document is a breeze (see included screen shots for examples). For the most part, documents rendered properly with minimal formatting impact due to DataViz's In-Tact technology. Instead of Documents to Go guessing what a feature/format is, it tells you if it is unsupported and advises you that if delete it, the feature will be gone from the original document. I feel this is a fair compromise between the desktop and mobile versions of a document; it doesn't even try to guess if it is unrecognized. The bottom of the screen gives you all of the tools you need in portrait or landscape including formats, spacing, inserts, bookmarks, slide types, formulas, indents, tabs and more. Need to send an email with attachments? You can do that directly from within the app too, you can even pick your outbound email account and it will accept and attach multiple files.

For all of the great things Documents to Go does well, there are some shortcomings, though not deal-breakers, I feel you should be aware of. First, you can't access email attachments. Some programs out there allow you to access files in your email via IMAP directly from within the app. This feature is missing. It looks like it is only supported on the iPhone, but seems to be missing on the iPad. When searching outside of a document you have an option to search you entire folder hierarchy or downloaded files only- but not their contents; that is a missed opportunity.

Documents to Go is a stable release with much needed support on the iPad in a few areas. For the average user I feel this app is absolutely fantastic, but for an enterprise user, there are a few features that are missing. I really can't recommend this app enough, but the lack of enterprise support makes me lower the score as I think the majority of users that would benefit from this are road warriors that need access to their work documents when visiting a customer. Sure they could sync before leaving the office, but that negates the value of syncing to the cloud.

If you want a very good robust document creation/editing tool look no further than Documents to Go. Looking for an enterprise solution that will sync your documents over-the-air? Keep looking. Video and screens after the break!

[$14.99- iTunes Link]

Pros

  • Create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Several cloud based services for syncing
  • Excellent format compatibility
  • Multiple desktop syncing options
  • iPhone OS document handling

Cons

  • No enterprise network drive access
  • No attachment syncing with email

TiPb iPad 3.5-star rated

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Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

Documents to Go for iPad- app review

43 Comments

Goodreader still blows this away for document and cloud storage management. Its even password protected, which DTG isn't.. one of the top ten most important features and they forget to add it? I'll wait for next update.

I find this confusing.
The review lists the cloud-based options for accessing documents, but concludes by noting a lack of cloud syncing options. Is it that you can pull from the cloud, but not sync back to it?
Again, confused.

Like West3man, I'm also confused. Can I save to DropBox? I've been using QuickOffice on the iPhone and like it a lot; I'm thinking I might wait for that.
As for GoodReader, I've never understood the hype--I need to edit my documents and save them back to the cloud. Isn't that the whole point of D2G and QuickOffice?
What I would really like is Dropbox support inside Pages, but alas, I won't hold my breadth.

@mystic- good catch, I suppose that is why you don't need to set it up :-)
@West3man and @Doug, yes you can save back to Dropbox, or create a new document and save there. Very cool. Sorry for any confusion.

Does anyone know if visual basic is written into any office files, it will run correctly on the ipad?

I was looking at this app earlier in the day and couldn't decide on it. I then saw your review and decided to go for it. So far I really like it and believe it will meet all my needs. Thanks for your time putting together the review.

Have anyone figured out how to change the regional settings for documents to go? I have no use for this program if my spreadsheets is formatted for us english and nothing else.

@John I was not able to find a sort or filter option. That would be nice though. I think we need to keep in mind that these apps are really meant to do quick, light editing on the go, or create simple and quick documents.
If you are looking for a more robust spreadsheet tool, I recommend Apple s Numbers app.

I don't know what qualifies as "quick and light" within this context - not that I expect that to be fully fleshed out, here.

I don't know what qualifies as "quick and light" within this context - not that I expect that to be fully fleshed out, here. That throws up a red flag for me, making me wonder if there's anything I'd want it to do that it wouldn't do.

Can I open an excel spreadsheet that someone has emailed to me, make minor changes, save it to Ipad and then email it back out (and be properly opened in all newer versions of excel)? Thanks!
Walter

sorting is something that is on the android version of documents to go. I would not get this product

I have the same question as chemsales #15. Can I open a spreadsheet downloaded from the company website (paysheet), enter data, save it, attach it to an e-mail.
Thanks,
Bruce
PS
this is a must have function for me before I purchase an ipad. If it will do this I can start leaving my laptop at home when I go out on a trip.

Chad, you should know that I purchased Documents To Go from the Apple App Store for my ipad. As I said above I needed it exclusively to run an Excel spreadsheet that I download from my company website for pay purposes. It is a complex, formulated spreadsheet. Documents To Go had no, nada, zero functionality on this spreadsheet. When I opened the spreadsheet in Docs To Go I got a window that said it was a read only document and it couldn't deal with the formulas involved. A big disappointment and $15 down the drain.
I'm sure that it has many good uses, but I needed Documents To Go for only one; Excel.
Cheers,
Bruce Jacobs

I appreciate your review. It prompted me to purchase DocsTo Go Deluxe for my IPad It had been a trusted app for my Palm Treo family products. It worked wonderfully for 3weeks and now won't sync with my IPad All my other Apps that connect via WiFi continue to work except Docs to Go - and now the big disappointment - NO Support. No phone support, no web support - try the used forum and good luck... That is totally unacceptable. I did everything in their help FAQ to no avail... Lost faith in DataViz.

Could I attach docx, xlsx, pdf, pptx files to my mails in ipad. If yes how? And could you save attachments which comes in mail on your ipad, If yes how?

Could I attach docx, xlsx, pdf, pptx files to my mails in ipad. If yes how? And could you save attachments which comes in mail on your ipad, If yes how? If software is required which software will do the job???

Purchased docs to go to run powerpoint, so far it's a major disappointment. It does not download slides exactly as they are in powerpoint and I have not found a way to edit the altered format. I also can't get a connection to a VGA monitor to show the presentation. I'v been told that keynote is much better for this purpose.

Need an application that would save and open my email attachments (both word and xls) as well as be able to manipulate them (do some editing). Does Docs to go allow users to do this? Would appreciate someone's help.

Since updating both Doc-to-go and iPad software I don't see the floppy disk symbol to save the file in Doc-to-go. How do I save a file?

Does DOCS TO GO for IPAD include all the fonts and characters included in WORD, such as Symbol, WingDings, Zapfdingbats, plus all the Special Characters?

I use docs to go for simple word docs, just went to sync new docs to my ipad and it won't connect with my laptop. everything's in order on my end...this is pretty frustrating. Any thoughts?

I use Docs to Go to keep my school records on each child I teach. I updated and now can NOT scroll through each different section of the document. It has completely disappeared. I can get a little of it at a time if I go out of the program between each page and restart. THis is on my IPAD. I am very frustrated and would like a real human to call me and tell me what to do. My school number is 757-410-9474.

I downloaded a sample docs which is editable in the pc, but I couldn't edit in ipad. Pls advise..

Bye, Bye Cable Companies and you're ridiculous monthly bills/fees! It looks like the day when cable is gone forever is coming much more quickly than even I anticipated. Canceling cable TODAY!

Nice post. I was watching continuously this site and I'm impressed! Extremely useful info especially the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this specific information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

2 questions for whoever wouldn't mind replying :)

First, can I download documents and edit them on my ipad when im not connected to wifi?

Second, can I edit tables from a word document?

Thanks in advance!