Microsoft finally got around to releasing Office for the iPad earlier this year. The app has proved incredibly popular so far, with Microsoft reporting more than 12 million downloads within the first week of its appearance on the App Store. But how does Microsoft’s creation compare to Apple’s Pages and WPS Office?
By Jane Hosking
Word for iPad (iOS)
Microsoft Word has finally come to the iPad, providing the familiar layout and most of the features of the desktop version, adapted to the touch screen format. This app allows you to open and read pre-existing documents for free, but to edit and create a new document you will need to buy an Office 365 subscription. But by doing this, all of your devices will be covered, so that your formatting can be maintained across Office on PC, Mac, tablet, and phone. While a bit pricey, many users will likely be willing to pay a premium to access familiar tools including images, photos, footnotes, track changes, and more. The app is also seamlessly integrated with Microsoft’s cloud services and its sharing features let you work with others.
Cost: $99 a year or $9.99 a month
Features: 5 stars
Usability: 4 stars
Sharing: 4 stars
Until the arrival of Word, Apple’s Pages was by far the most popular app for managing your documents on iOS devices. Apple isn’t wrong when it describes this app as the most beautiful word processor you’ve ever seen on a mobile device, and they’ve stuck with their track record of being easy to use. Pages is fully integrated with Apple’s iCloud online storage platform, allowing you to create and edit documents across your different devices using an array of tools and formatting options, including images, tables, charts, footnotes, colors, and fonts. Pages sync between your iPhone and iPad really well, although syncing with iCloud to your Mac is not so straightforward. While it may have less features than Word for iPad, Pages outdoes it in terms of style and price. And since late last year Pages comes pre-installed on new iPhones and iPads, so you may not need to purchase it at all.
Features: 4 starts
Usability: 4 starts
Sharing: 3 stars
WPS Office (iOS, Android, Windows, Linux)
If you’re looking for a free alternative that works on more than just the iPad, then WPS Office is well worth considering. Formerly known as Kingsoft Office, once installed, this app doesn’t require an online connection and provides strong features that are perfect for basic word processing. It also combines spreadsheets and presentation programs and is able to open almost any file type including PDF, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. It comes with a simple interface, and while it may not have the variety of features offered by its competitors, it still has great sharing capabilities and cloud connectivity. Did we also mention it was free?
Features: 2 stars
Usability: 3 stars
Sharing: 3 stars