How to create and edit Office documents in Android 4.4 KitKat

by , Computing Helpdesk 15/03/2014
tablet office documents

Google originally purchased QuickOffice in June 2012, but only made the iOS and Android apps available in late 2013. By default, QuickOffice is built-in with Android 4.4 KitKat. This means users can create and edit documents straight out-of-the-box without even visiting the Google Play store.

Now Google has two office suites, QuickOffice and Google Drive, with nearly two identical interfaces. Which one should you use? Drive is no slouch by any means, but if you’re looking to create a document on the go that includes tables, images or charts, QuickOffice is your go-to app. Overall, the interface is easier to use and all of the editing takes place offline, so it feels like a smoother experience.

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Creating and opening files

Start by launching the QuickOffice app from the apps page and you’ll be presented with a list of options for opening and creating new files, together with a list of recent files.

The same options are available from the toolbar at the top of the page by clicking the ‘+’ icon. If you choose to open an existing file, you can select from recent documents, your Google Drive account and the device’s downloads folder. Pro tip; select the file picker settings from the menu and enable ‘display advanced devices’ option and you can now select files from your device’s internal storage.

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When creating a new document, select a new Word document, Excel spreadsheet or Powerpoint file and you’re presented with a blank file to begin your work. Something to be mindful of as you work, unlike Drive, changes aren’t saved immediately and you’ll need to select the floppy disc icon to save any edits to your file.

Making edits

Each of the sections of QuickOffice (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) each have their own specific ways of working with files but there are some common features across all sections. Tap and select anywhere in the document to make a change. Located at the top of the screen, the toolbar has options for formatting text, undoing changes and inserting objects (such as a chart or an image).

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Word processing changes are very easy to do and in no time, you’ll be whizzing around the document like a pro. Press and hold or double tap the word to select. Use the small blue arrows to increase or decrease the highlighted content. Use the large ‘A’ icon at the top of the page to show text formatting, or select the ‘+’ icon to drop in images or tables.

Saving and syncing

As mentioned earlier, files aren’t automatically saved as like in Google Drive. If you try to exit a document, spreadsheet or powerpoint file without saving, you’re prompted to discard or keep your alterations. Google Drive is used for storage by default, though the same alternatives will appear as when you’re opening an existing file.

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Korkmaz

These two apps have their merits, for sure – but they also have big shortcomings.

Especially when it comes to compatibility with Microsoft Office. Yes, they open/save doc, xls, or ppt – but screw up formatting in 6 out of 10 cases. And they won’t even open some docx, xlsx, or pptx files at all (especially if they are more extensive, or password-protected), and 8 of 10 are opened with flaws.

Another disadvantage is their lack of functions. Google Drive and QuickOffice alike offer a minimum of features for viewing documents and making a few corrections, but real productivity on the go is not possible.

Mainly because of these two points I prefer using SoftMaker’s apps (word processor “TextMaker Mobile”, spreadsheet “PlanMaker Mobile”, presentation author “Presentations Mobile”) – they offer a much wider range of editing and formatting features, and the best interoperability with Microsoft Office, compared to all other office apps including the two mentioned ones.

These apps let me create e.g. a Word or Excel document on my desktop PC, put it on my Androidtablet, edit and format it on the road, and then send it back to the office as a .DOC/X or .XLS/X file, with content and all formatting still intact. That’s what really counts for many users.

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