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Office² (iPhone Application)

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      21.03.2011 14:15
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      A brilliant app which will have you typing on the move in no time.

      You know how it is. You're on the train home knowing you have that important assignment to crack on with when you get back. If only you could start it while on the move...well, fear no longer iPhone users! Office Squared is a cheap and cheerful app which makes your iPhone an impressive word processor and spreadsheet viewer.

      Among a plethora of Word imitators to be found on the AppStore, it can be a hard enough task to pick the right one for you. My choice was based on Dropbox functionality and the few reviews I found online but I was still sceptical given the £3 price tag. Nevertheless, eager to add word processing to my iPod's arsenal I snapped it up...and it's been a trusty companion ever since.

      The first, and arguably most important, feature of note is the incredibly slick and simple interface. Supporting the Retina display, the basic home menu will have you arranging your files or opening new documents with summary ease. The Local Files menu lists your documents in order of when last modified, seperated between days and weeks to simplify your search. The document links themselves show the format type (.doc...) and once you've found the one you want to open, you just tap it and voilà.

      A bar along the bottom of the screen presents you with a range of neat tools, ranging from a new folder option to a button which allows you to copy or move files between folders. A little bin icon also allows you to delete those no longer needed documents.

      As you open a document, the on screen keyboard is immediately visible but can be hidden for text-only viewing by tapping the keyboard icon. Working in both portrait and landscape orientations, a style conducive to everyone's typing style is offered. I personally prefer the landscape view which offers just enough space for text while permitting for fast typing speeds on the sizeable QWERTY keyboard. What's more, linguists (like me) can type in other languages as they can in the iPod's notes section if necessary.

      A task bar sits atop the keyboard offering an impressive array of tweaking tools for use on the move. A save icon does just that, while a font button allows for font colour, size and even style to be changed and bolded, italicised or underlined. Orientation tools allow you to justify or centre your text, while bullet point tools are also available. Further tabs allow you to input photos from you iPod photo library while there's even the option to spell check and print your work. Finally, undo and redo buttons make it in to help you limit those errors.

      Typing is a breeze, and I have in fact written this entire review on my iPod in this app. Most impressively of all, I can copy this text to my Dropbox once done to sync it with my home PC, allowing me to tweak it on the big screen after I'm off the train. This really is a stunning option which means you never waste of minute of time when sitting bored of the train journey. The fact you can listen to music while typing simply sweetens the deal. Spreadsheets are also translated to the iPod well, though it is obviously harder to navigate one on the move.

      With the ability to save documents to the app from online attachments for later viewing, the app is made even more impressive, while the range of formats supported is impressive, with PDFs, .doc and XLS documents all viewable among many others.

      Finally, the developers offer frequent updates which implement features users ask for. Things like the spell checker were added after user pleas for such a function, and this just rounds off the app's success.

      *Summary*

      Those looking for a word processing app need look no further. With simple menus, easy access, Dropbox functionality and a fully-fledged word processor and spreadsheet app included for just £3 it's a hit you'll be willing to take.

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