The must-have utilities for your iPad office

The 10 tools you must have on your iPad for business

iPad productivity utilities

Editor's Choice: Must-have productivity iPad apps

Beyond the holy trinity of iPad office productivity apps -- those for textual documents, spreadsheets, and presentations -- are lots of iPad specialty apps. Some are so broadly useful that they should be on nearly everyone's business iPad. Our picks for those follow.

Also on InfoWorld: The must-have iPad office apps, round 8

Good.iWare GoodReader file manager

Best file manager: GoodReader 4

Many people really wish the iPad had a shared file system like a PC or Mac, but it doesn't. GoodReader 4 can give you much of the file manager you want. It provides a central file repository for files you transfer via Wi-Fi, various storage services, iTunes, and the Open In facility used by many iOS apps (such as Mail). GoodReader -- as its name implies -- also lets you read many file formats, including several not supported by iOS's naive Quick Look facility.

App: GoodReader
Price: $6.99
Developer: Good.iWare
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

Good.iWare GoodReader PDF

Best PDF markup: GoodReader 4

GoodReader didn't start as a PDF annotation tool, but it's evolved into a darned good one. You get the key markup and editing tools you expect from Acrobat Professional, and the app is good at using touch gestures for highlighting portions of your PDF for markup. Our only quibbles are that getting the markup menu back can be tricky, and you can't rotate individual pages, so sometimes you're marking up a page rotated 90 degrees from the orientation of the sticky note's text you're adding.

Note: The free Adobe Reader is good for simpler uses, and the $9.99 PDF Expert has a slightly cleaner interface.

App: GoodReader
Price: $6.99
Developer: Good.iWare
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

ToketaWare iThoughts mind-mapping

Best mind-mapping tool: iThoughts

Mind-mapping is one of those terms that feels too touchy-feely for real business users, but it in fact is a valuable approach to connecting ideas to map out their relationships. That can help you discover unexpected connections, see gaps, and otherwise visualize a topic in useful ways. For mind-mapping, the iThoughts app does a great job of making it easy to create these visual connections and even annotate individual items with voice recordings.

App: iThoughts
Price: $9.99
Developer: ToketaWare
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

Ten Touch Grafio diagramming

Best diagramming tool: Grafio

If you want to create business diagrams -- flow charts, org charts, and the like -- Grafio is a great tool. It's very easy to use, and it will convert your finger's rough shapes into consistent, good-looking boxes, ellipses, and so on. No stylus needed! There's also a library of special shapes you can use, and the Connectors feature links objects to each other neatly and consistently. Plus, you can attach voice memos to your diagrams' objects. It's truly powerful.

App: Grafio
Price: $8.99
Developer: Ten Touch
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

Ginger Labs Notability

Best note-taker (tie): Notability

Taking notes is a very personal activity, and dozens of apps for the iPad reflect all those preferences. But three such apps work well for most people. One is the iPad's built-in Notes app, which is great for typing in text-only notes and syncing them to your computer and other devices.

If you want notes that include audio recordings and drawings, you should also get Notability. It's straightforward to use and associates your recordings to what you type as you type; to hear the portion of a recording made when you typed in specific text, just tap that text. It works with iCloud and on iPhones.

App: Notability
Developer: Ginger Labs
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone


Best note-taker (tie): Evernote

Another note-taker you should consider is Evernote. It's a Web-based service that collects snippets of information -- more Post It-style notes than detailed meeting notes, though it can do those too -- and synchronizes the info across your devices and computers. You can create buckets and move items around them, and you won't be as likely to lose them as you do all those scraps on your desk. For collaborative note-taking, Evernote offers several paid subscription options.

Microsoft OneNote is similar in many respects, but it's too complex for our taste.

App: Evernote
$50/year Pro subscription
Developer: Evernote
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

CrowdCafé Calculator HD

Best calculator: Calculator HD

Unlike the iPhone, the iPad doesn't come with a built-in calculator. There are many free ones, but I recommend paying the 99 cents for Calculator HD, which lets you copy results to other apps and paste numbers into it, as well as export a paper tape of your calculation's record.

App: Calculator HD
Price: $0.99
Developer: CrowdCafé
Compatibility: iPad

Headlight Software FTP on the Go Pro

Best FTP client: FTP on the Go Pro

Cloud storage services have made FTP utilities archaic for many users, but if you work on a website or in many file-management systems, you still need a client. For the iPad, that client should be FTP on the Go. It not only does the FTP uploading and downloading you'd expect, but also provides a basic HTML editor so that you can touch up your Web pages.

App: FTP on the Go Pro
Price: $9.99
Developer: Headlight Software
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

Dropbox cloud storage

Best cloud storage (tie): Dropbox

Apple's iCloud is a great service for keeping files and other data synced across iOS and OS X devices, but until iOS 8 ships, it's not a storage service where you can keep files in a central location accessible to all devices and other users. Dropbox is such a service, and it's integrated with many iPad apps, so it can fill in as a common file system in some cases. It also integrates nicely with OS X and Windows, appearing as another storage volume, and it's available for Android. Note that using Dropbox with Apple's iWork apps requires a $5 monthly fee.

App: Dropbox
Price: Charges for storage vary
Developer: Dropbox
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

Box cloud storage

Best cloud storage (tie): Box

Box is back in our graces after dropping its CAPTCHA sign-in requirement that just didn't work on an iPad. Like Dropbox, it's a widely supported, popular cloud storage service that's also available for Windows, OS X, and Android. Note that using Box with Apple's iWork apps is possible through a WebDAV login.

App: Box
Price: Charges for storage vary
Developer: Box
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage

Runners-up for cloud storage: OneDrive and Drive

Although Google Drive is supported by many apps natively, it's a good idea to also have the client app for direct access to your files.

App: Google Drive
Price: Charges for storage vary
Developer: Google
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

Microsoft's OneDrive app is the default storage location for Office 365, Windows 8, Office for iPad, and Office Web Apps, so it's essential for Microsoft users. Few apps support OneDrive natively, so you'll need to transfer files. The separate OneDrive for Business app that is often required for corporate Office 365 subscriptions.

App: OneDrive and OneDrive for Business
Price: Charges for storage vary
Developer: Microsoft
Compatibility: iPad and iPhone

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