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Businesses are predominately a microsoft office based world meaning a propriety world of .doc and .xls based file formats for better or for worse. So how do you survive with your iPad in a world of Office documents?  We’ve rounded up a few ways to use Office on your iPad until the official, rumoured version comes along.

These are just some of the apps out there which let you work with the Office based file formats and in no particular order of preference.

Apple iWork Apps

Cost: numbers £6.99, pages £6.99 and keynote £6.99

Done in a typically Apple way, all of these programs have a simple interface, clear of clutter and any faff and with the ability to work offline.  Files are opened via iCloud so head over to iCloud.com, create yourself an account, drag and drop your documents into the browser window and they appear on your iPad.  Similarly, documents created on the iPad show on your desktop computer.

IMG 0101 625x468 Alternatives to Microsoft Office for the iPad

Pages and numbers do a good if not great job of importing word documents.  Those of you using tracking or complex formatting may have to look at simplifying things for the sake of taking things on the go but it’s not that bad.

Upsides
Simplified working experience.
Cloud based storage

Downsides
A slight learning curve for those used to the Office way of things.
Internet connection needed for synching files

OnLive for iPad

cost: Free for Basic functions and up to $9.99 a month

For those with a decent internet connection, OnLive gives you the complete windows and office based experience via virtual desktop.  Effectively you are logging into a virtual computer hosted in the cloud giving you the complete experience as if you were working on a windows system via your iPad.

onlive desktop windows 7 620px Alternatives to Microsoft Office for the iPad

Full access to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. You also have Paint, Calc and Microsoft Surface Collage.  Bear in mind these apps aren’t designed for a touch interface so a stylus will be making your shopping list.

Upsides
Office as you know it.

Downsides
Requires a constant, always on internet connection
Responsiveness can be a little iffy

Quickoffice Pro HD

Cost: £13.99

An interface that most will find quite at home with, Quickoffice Pro HD plenty of features and word processor is acceptable, if you don’t need to insert images or graphics.  Documents are edited either via dropbox or a simple synch within iTunes (go with dropbox..)

Quickoffice Pro HD Alternatives to Microsoft Office for the iPad

Upsides
Familiar interface
Access your documents from a vast amount of sources

Downsides
No Spell checker
Lack of image or graphics handling
So there you have it.  A few applications for your iPad to help you get on in a world of office formats.  If you aren’t tied into those formats then number’s is worth a try but the choice is yours.

Thanks to Emma “the howlett” for the twitter idea for this article.

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