Office2 for iPhone and iPad
To determine whether or not the Office2 word processing and spreadsheet apps from Byte2 are a good fit for you, it’s important to understand your needs and Office2’s limitations. While Office2 for the iPhone and the iPad-only Office2 HD offer up some great features as well as excellent options for linking to your favorite cloud-based storage service, they do not have the document formatting and page layout capabilities that you’ll find in apps like the iPad versions of Apple’s iWork apps nor do they have the kind of compatibility with Microsoft Office that you’d hope for in an application that is designed to act as stand-in for Office on your iOS device.
For this review, I looked at both Office2 (as in “Office Squared”) on the iPhone and Office2 HD on the iPad. The apps are essentially similar—the iPad version takes better advantage of that device’s larger screen, of course—so any comment I make about Office2 applies to both versions, unless otherwise specified.
Office2 offers a number of features you’ll find in most word processing applications. Most notably, Office2 offers you full-screen text editing in both portrait and landscape mode without limiting your access to the app’s formatting toolbar. The toolbar, which includes options for text and paragraph formatting as well as tools for viewing document statistics and adding images and tables, slides from left to right to reveal all the app’s available options, so it does not interfere with your work area.
Unlike the iPad version of Pages, Office2 offers no support for document styles or keyboard shortcuts such as Command-I or Command-B, and its support for images is basic at best, only allowing you to crop and insert inline images into your documents. Office2 also offers no support for Office’s change tracking features but does offer a full text search.
As a spreadsheet application, Office2 is subject to many of the same limitations as Numbers on the iPad. Office2 provides more than 130 functions for you to use to manipulate data and text. But, as with Numbers, if the spreadsheets you’re working with contain scripts or lookups of data in secondary Excel spreadsheets, the app is not going to be too useful. Also, when using Office2’s spreadsheet, you’ll find that it doesn’t provide the same intelligent data entry features that Numbers has. For example, while Numbers’ onscreen keyboard defaults to a number pad when you’re entering data, Office2 offers up the iOS’s standard QWERTY number keyboard. So your overall experience with the spreadsheet app can tend toward the frustrating. I was also surprised to find that Office2 was unable to edit Microsoft’s .docx and .xlsx formats. The app could view these documents, but I couldn’t find a way to save or edit those docs.