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Documents To Go: The Complete Word On UIQ Print E-mail
Written by Richard Bloor   
Sunday, 26 June 2005
There is now a choice of applications for viewing and editing standard Microsoft documents on a UIQ device. DataViz Documents To Go offers support for Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the Sony Ericsson P series. In the first of two reviews we look at how Word support measures up.

Viewing and editing standard office document when away from a PC is a clear and obvious need for any professional who regularly works away from the office. Documents to Go from DataViz is the latest entrant enabling UIQ devices to view and edit Microsoft Word documents.

Documents To Go Word launches to the familiar UIQ file list. The file list, which can be filtered by categories, is supported by a set of shortcuts to common action including: creating a new document, viewing document information, deleting or sending a document and find. In addition there are shortcuts to Documents To Go Sheet and Slide (for Excel and PowerPoint files) which will be covered in a second review.

The find feature is noteworthy as it not only allows text to be found in a document's file name but also within the body of a document. This latter feature works remarkably efficiently, searching a folder of 10 plus documents in little more than a couple of seconds.

Menu options on the file list screen add features to rename, move and copy files. The file list can also be sorted by file name or size (although a date sort might have been more useful). An option is also provided to set Documents To Go as the default word editor and viewer, along with a brief set of help files. The list text can be zoomed through 3 levels.

Opening a document displays it in a view mode. Even large documents open quickly. The view is of a narrow version of the document, with the text snaked to the width of the screen. Images are also scaled to fit the screen width. The only document elements which appears not to be treated this way are tables. Tables are displayed in their original "wide" format. When a table is on screen a horizontal scroll bar makes an appearance to allow the full table to be viewed. The document can be scrolled using either the onscreen scroll bar or the jogdial. Scrolling is smooth, although displaying pictures can initiate a brief "please wait" message.

The view can be split to allow two sections of a document to be easily compared. Documents To Go allows document comments, footnotes and endnotes to be viewed. There is also a full screen mode.

For documents that have tracked changes in them Documents To Go displays the final version of the document. Documents To Go makes no attempt to show the deleted text elements.

To edit a document it is necessary to switch to edit mode. This is done with a toolbar button, located at the bottom left of the screen. In view mode toolbar buttons are also provided to zoom the document (3 levels again) or perform a text find.

Once in edit mode it is possible to change and add text, but none of the graphical or table elements in the document can be altered. Similarly, although it is possible to add text to the comments, footnote and endnotes it is not possible to add new ones.

Control is provided over the format of text and paragraphs. Font controls allows the font and its size to be set. There are some 15 underline options and the ability to select font style and background color. Font effects include bold and italic along with strikethrough, small and all capitals, superscript and subscript.

Paragraph formatting allows alignment, indent settings (which are defined in inches even when the phone was set for metric units) as well as line and paragraph spacing to be controlled.

Separate menu controls allow paragraphs to be indented or unindented.

While these features cover most basic requirements the absence of a style based formatting option means there may be some tidying up to do when a documents is edited again on the desktop.

One significant option which seems to be missing is the ability to create bullets. Any existing bullets list can be extended and indents manipulated. Trying the obvious trick of copying and pasting an existing list does not provide a work around, as the copied text loses its bullets (checking back on the PC shows the pasted text has been given the normal style).

Documents To Go provide copy, cut and paste features. There is a multiple level undo and redo feature, which seemed to cope with most normal wind back requirements. A find and replace feature has options to set case sensitivity and search for whole words.

A toolbar is provided on the screen with access to common editing and formatting features. Several of the toolbars have more than one function, the extra functions are revealed by pop up icons (which proved impossible to screenshot).

It is worth noting that Documents To Go does not follow correct UIQ behavior. It does not close the active document when you switch way. We would usually fault an application for this, but document editing is one task where UIQs behaviour would be very annoying, so non-standard is good in this case.

During the design of Documents To Go DataViz apparently took the decision to make document integrity one of its chief goals. Given that the ability to perform complex editing and formatting has little point if the result back on a PC is unreliable, it seems like a good choice. The result is its InTact Technology which, justifiably, claims to provide complete document fidelity in a round trip from PC to smartphone and back. While extensive check were not made on larger test document no examples of corrupted or lost details were found, while transferring documents back and forth.

Overall Documents To Go Word provides both a useful document viewer and solid, if basic, editor. The document view is one of the best we have seen with picture support, a split view, comment support and a full screen mode. With the exception of page headers and footer Documents To Go shows pretty much the whole document. Editing on the other hand is somewhat basic, particularly in respect of formatting. This is limited to font and paragraph formatting and does not providing style based support. The inability to extend tables and add bullets are perhaps however more significant deficiencies.

Making a choice of Word editing software for a UIQ phone currently comes down to a simple choice of whether the most important requirements is seeing the whole document content, text and pictures, or whether editing using defined styles is a priority. If it is the document image which is key, Documents To Go Word is the clear winner. If editing capabilities are more important then rival product QuickOffice has the upper hand.

Documents To Go Word is available as part of the complete DataViz or Web retailers such as Handango.

See our review of QuickOffice Word here.



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