Microsoft Office Apps for the iPad: Documents to Go vs. CloudOn

by Tony Rushin

I’ve held off loading Documents to Go (DTG) on my iPad.  I know Jeff Richardson (iPhoneJD blog) says DTG is, “an essential app for almost every lawyer, especially any lawyer that uses Microsoft Exchange (Outlook) for e-mail.”  However, I never really liked the fact that DTG wasn’t the same as having the full Office suite on my iPad.

Recently, because of my role as co-chair of the Business & Technology Alliance, I had the opportunity to work with Dan Homrich, the CEO of SmartSoft Mobile Solutions (Dan was a panelist at our Leading Edge Series event).  Dan heartily endorsed CloudOn as the only way to go for Office applications on an iPad.  Hmmm… perhaps I had found a good alternative to DTG.  Here’s the summary of the brief research I did so I could make a choice between the two.

Documents to Go (DTG)
The best feature of DTG is the ability to edit Word documents locally on your iPad – you don’t have to be connected to the internet.  You can edit text and format it in many different ways, including adding (or removing) bold and italics, as well as underlining. The ability to see (although not add) footnotes and comments is another big advantage.  DTG is a tried and true application and you certainly can’t go wrong if you purchase it.  The standard version is $9.99 and the Premium version is $16.99.

CloudOn
CloudOn takes a very different approach.  It provides the full Office Suite – including all of the features like track changes so you can redline documents.  However, it’s running on their servers which means you need to be connected to the internet to run the app.  It is set up very nicely with an interface directly into your DropBox or Box account so you don’t need to learn/use another filing system if you’re used to one of these.  Currently CloudOn is free and will move to a “freemium” policy at some point with both free and for-pay options.

Based mainly on the fact that CloudOn offers the full Office Suite with all of the functionality, I chose CloudOn.  For me, the requirement to be connected to the internet to use the app wasn’t a big deal.  Reading an “iPad for Lawyers” blog by Tom Mighell also helped me with my decision.  I’ve only been using it for 1 week, but so far so good.

Tony Rushin: In his role as VP of sales & marketing, he is responsible for hiring, managing and coaching the sales team and always staying on top of (and meeting) the needs of clients. Under his leadership, the company has steadily grown each year.

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