Whether we need or not, I guess every one of us has an Office solution on their computer. It is either a free or a paid one, but we all have it. After the introduction of more powerful and ‘smart’ phones, this started to be the case with our phones too. I’ll admit that, most of us need those office apps. We sometimes need them for viewing one of the attachments of an important e-mail. Sometimes we need them to review the document we finished working on while we are on the way to work.
Office apps on the mobile have improved so much lately. But you still have this question in mind: Will the file still work with my desktop office solution if I edit it in my phone with this app? Well, I have an app which some of you might have heard about: Kingsoft Office. This free app is on Google Play and they lately published an international version which supports 13 languages, which you can also get from Google Play.
Kingsoft Office has a nice UI, which you wouldn’t expect from an office solution. You wouldn’t need it to be that eye-candy. But it doesn’t hurt, and it does not interfere with your document. When you first start it, it welcomes you with a “Welcome” file which sums up the features of the app in a word or two;
The application is easy to use. The first time you choose Open, it will take time as you would expect, and this time depends on how many files you have on your storage and of course, storage size determines this period too.
If you open a file, Kingsoft Office will add it to the main screen for you to access that file quicker for the later uses. It is made easier to delete, share and copy the file with that feature. Just choose the operation you want to do when the file is on the focus (on your screen, doesn’t need to be opened).
Quick Trial of the Office Suite
I am going to run a few quick tests to see if this app is good enough to edit our precious project files. Here is how I am going to do this test:
First, I’ll choose some files. These will be a PDF file and the other popular office formats like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Both the old and the new formats will be included. I will convert these files to open source file formats using both Microsoft to see how Kingsoft Office performs with these.
I picked a Word file which is 3.37 MB and includes a formula, some images and some text. I converted it to PDF, XPS, doc, docx and odt. I picked a 44 MB PDF file. I picked a 59 MB PowerPoint file and converted it like I did with the Word file. I picked a 1 MB Excel file since that was the biggest I have. I did the same thing with it too.
I also created some files using Kingsoft Office and tried to view them properly on my desktop.
Apparently, Kingsoft Office does not support open source file formats. This may not be very important because they did not list this as a feature in their Google Play description, but if there are people who use open source formats often, they should look somewhere else.
- PDF ( read only)
I did not have any problems in both editing and viewing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. I should give this to the app. However, if you are using a keyboard with auto-complete or auto-correct feature, you will have some difficulties. For example, first I used Swiftkey X Keyboard for editing the PowerPoint file. It seemed there was no way to make the app type whatever I wanted. But the other two formats were okay. At first it made me think that the problem is with the presentation module of Kingsoft Office, but then I decided to use a simple keyboard (Samsung Galaxy Note’s stock keyboard) and it worked well. And you can open your documents in Microsoft Office properly after editing it using Kingsoft Office. So here is our first minus; there should have been better keyboard support.
Now let’s see what the Word, Spreadsheet and Presentation offer us to use while editing or creating our documents.
You can insert pictures and tables. You can take pictures using your device’s camera or just choose it from your gallery. This is nice and neat. However you cannot add a table which is larger than 9 x 9. Fortunately, you can add more colons or rows later. While you are editing the table, the app ‘labels’ the rows and colons. This is a nice thought. The spell check feature works okay for English. If there is a mistyped word, you can find it by doing a spell check. It finds the words and lists them so you can replace them with the correct ones (if that correct one is listed), but you cannot add words to the dictionary of the app. If your Word file has some comments, you can view them but again, you cannot edit them. You cannot add symbols, the developers look like they left this job to the keyboards. Obviously, you cannot add formulas on your phone. You can share your document via mail or message while you are editing it.
You can edit cells after you tap twice on it. There are not many features to talk about on spreadsheets, you can add special characters like $ or %, you can insert or delete cells. The usual mathematical operations are hidden. You can see them by dragging down the sheet. After you choose the cells you want to see the sum, max, min, average and count of, just drag down the sheet and you will see these numbers.
Presentation looks adequate for editing and creating a presentation document. Actually, if you create a presentation, it will be a raw one and you will need to retouch it on your computer. Still, you can set the layout and style of the slides. And you have the usual features like font color and size etc in your hands. So, it might be of help if you are in a rush or if you are just trying to utilize your time on the road.
Cloud Storage Options
It supports Dropbox, Google Docs/Drive and Box.Net right now. You can add your ftp or WebDAV to the app using WebDAV/FTP option. This is pretty cool. You can open your files on your cloud storages and you can “share” your local files with your cloud storages.
Overall, it is a good office application which has the potential to be a great one. Its nice interface is charming and makes you want to look into it deeper. The way it implements ‘touch’ feature is really cool and simple, one touch to go there and double touch to edit. Kingsoft Office has its powerful and weak sides. This makes it hard to pick it as the “only” office app to be installed on your device, but it deserves to be the one of the office applications in your device. To be fair, although the office apps on Android improved much lately, it is still hard to choose one as the only app. They recently released an international version of the app which is also free. So, that would take them one step ahead if the other features of the app could not do that for you.
To describe what I think about Kingsoft Office in one short and simple sentence, it’s pretty much one of the better Office Suites out there for the Android mobile and it’s Free! The app is also in active development. The last update was on 17th April 2012, so if you don’t like anything in the app, you can let the developers know about it and hope they work on it.
Screenshots from the App