An iPad app for drafting, editing and revising Word, Excel & PowerPoint documents
By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.
For most lawyers, writing – and the editing and revising that goes along with it – is an essential part of the practice. In order to make the most of an iPad, many lawyers want to be able to write, edit and review Word documents from the device.
This week, Lawyer Tech Review takes a look at Documents to Go, an iPad app that allows users to write and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. The app comes as a basic version for $9.99 or a premium version for $16.99. (Affiliate links) Initially, I installed the basic version but needed to upgrade in order to view, edit and sync files in my cloud based storage apps.
After using Documents to Go for a couple of months, including on an international flight and while sitting on the bleachers during a baseball game, here are some of my tips, suggestions and observations.
Configuring your app settings
To access my documents, I opened the settings and selected my account type from a menu that listed Dropbox, Box.net, SugarSync, Google Docs and iDisk.
As we noted in “Dropbox in the Hotseat,” some lawyers avoid using these services or avoid uploading extremely sensitive documents.
Accessing existing documents from the app
I have configured my Documents to Go to sync with Dropbox. To pull a Dropbox document into my DocsToGo app, I select the cloud icon labeled online at the bottom of the page.
Accepting edits and making changes
I created a sample document on my laptop, edited it using the Track Changes feature in Word then upload it to Dropbox. When I downloaded it into Documents To Go, here is what appeared on my iPad screen:
As you can see, the tracked changes are visible in red. However, you cannot simply accept or reject the changes. To accept the changes, I manually deleted the words that had been stricken and typed in the new ones.
When I was done, I saved the work. As you can see, the redline changes are no longer visible in Documents to Go.
The changes also aren’t visible in my Dropbox app on my iPad.
However, when I open Dropbox on my desktop and download the file, the new tracked changes are visible.
Therefore, an attorney who is editing documents using an iPad needs to be extremely careful. Just because you can’t see the tracked changes on your iPad doesn’t mean they won’t be visible.
Creating a new document
You can also create a new document using the Documents to Go app. Select the local icon at the bottom of the screen and then the +doc icon in the right hand corner.
A screen appears that allows you to choose the type of document you want.
From here, you can create a document and then save it in the app, email it or open it in a variety of additional apps, depending on the ones you have on your iPad.
For me, Documents to Go is a very useful app. In my “hurry-up-and-wait” existence, I encounter unexpected chunks of downtime – perfect for starting a document draft or reviewing the latest round of edits on a project. With Documents to Go, I can make the most of those moments and then save the document or email it to a project member for further work or discussion.