Byte Squared’s Office(2) app, which was reviewed here at Appletell as part of our Macworld | iWorld 2012 coverage, has received a major update. This update delivers collaborative features for business users, and with Google’s purchase of the Connect QuickOffice suite, Office(2) now represents one of the only non-Google choices for iPad users who want access to their MS Office documents on the go.
The two headlining feature additions in this latest upgrade are support for Track Changes/commenting and an expanded ability to read/write to the Microsoft Open Office XML file formats, specifically for the Excel .xlsx and Powerpoint .pptx formats. The expanded file format support is crucial, as the newer versions of office have made these the default formats on both Macs and PCs. Most users saving new documents, spreadsheets, and presentations use one of the new formats without even thinking about it, so this new feature helps make the iPad more productive for office workers on the go.
Byte Squared’s implementation of the Track Changes functionality is really superb. You can receive documents containing tracked changes as well as mark up existing/new documents with changes. Insertions, deletions, and comments all appear in a balloon format out to the right of the main document, rather than inline (following Apple’s model of change tracking implemented in Pages). Tap a balloon to see a popup containing the full details of the change, as well as options to Accept/Reject it. You can even set your name so other users can easily identify the changes/comments you make (and it is about 100 times easier to find this setting in Office(2) than in MS Office)!
In addition to the new collaboration options, this update to Office(2) brings new cloud storage/access options, includingsupport for Microsoft’s SkyDrive service. As always, you can download and work with files directly in the app, unlike some iPad productivity apps which require an active internet connection. All the great features we mentioned in our earlier review are still present, and the app’s stability issues seem to be mostly resolved (during testing of the latest version, the app only crashed once).
If you have not downloaded Office(2) HD, head over to the iTunes store and grab a copy. If you are already using it, make sure to update your app!