Thursday, July 23, 2009

Edit Word Documents on your iPhone with "Documents To Go"

Recently I heard about a $5 iPhone app called Documents To Go which allows editing of Microsoft Word documents. If you're not familiar with the iPhone, it has built-in viewers for e-mail attachments in several common desktop file formats, including Word, PDF and Excel, but does not have an editing capability. Documents To Go adds that capability, at least for MS Word files today and for Excel in a future update.
The way I heard about this app first was when several users complained (all on the same day, curiously) that it did not work with our service! At first I couldn't understand what a Word document editing app had to do with our service, but once you realize that there's no easy way to get the files onto and off of the device, it becomes more obvious. Add to that the fact that Documents To Go comes from renowned device sync client developer DataViz, and the penny drops...
Documents To Go can communicate with an application you install on your desktop computer, to fetch and save files, but if you spring $5 extra for the Exchange version, it can read and send files through a corporate mail server, or of course our push e-mail service (we fixed the compatibility problem soon after the first reports). It has its own sync client software, and shows up as a separate device as far as our service is concerned. It has its own settings page where you enter your username, password and, much the same as for the phone's built in client:

Then sync your inbox (my GMail account in this example), which will display all the messages with compatible attachments:

Word attachments can be opened and edited like this:

Then saved on the device, back to your desktop, or e-mailed directly from the app which is what I did with this document, and here it is open in Word on my PC: