Hardware

Synchronize Documents To Go with your desktop

Jack Wallen takes a look at how simple it is to sync your documents between your smartphone and your desktop with Documents To Go.

One of the more popular office tools for mobile devices is Documents To Go. It's been around since the days of later Palm devices (I used it on my dreaded Treo) and is one of the more reliable office document viewers for the mobile cross section. Here are some features of this application:

  • View, edit, and create Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files
  • Includes support for Office 2007, 2008, and 2010
  • View Adobe PDF, Apple iWork, and other files
  • View, edit, and sync files stored in: Google Drive, Box.net, Dropbox, iDisk, and SugarSync
  • View and edit email attachments
  • True 2-way file synchronization with included desktop application

Of the above features, both the ability to sync with Google Drive and the PC/Mac desktop are only available in the full version, which can be purchased from the Google Play Store for $14.99 (USD) and the App Store for $9.99 (USD) and $16.99 (USD).

When you purchase the full version, you'll receive a download link for the Desktop client. This client (available only for Windows and Mac) allows you to quickly sync documents between your mobile device and your desktop. Obviously, you don't want to go crazy syncing an entire library worth of files to your mobile device, but with a little selective syncing, you can make your mobile office life incredibly efficient and simple.

There are plenty of apps out there that allow you to sync folders between your mobile and your desktop (Ubuntu One Files, Dropbox, SpiderOak, etc). These apps are wonderful tools that allow you to sync specific folders to a mobile device. However, when you only need to sync office files, a tool like Documents To Go in conjunction with its Desktop client is an ideal, streamlined solution for anyone looking to keep office documents between their mobile and desktop in sync.

With that said, let's take a look at how simple it is to sync your documents between your smartphone and your desktop with Documents To Go.

Installation: Mobile

There are two pieces to install:

  • Mobile Application
  • Desktop Client

As I mentioned earlier, you can't sync mobile and desktop unless you've paid for the full version of Documents To Go.

To install the mobile app, simply to go your smartphone's app store, search for "documents to go" (no quotes), and purchase the full version. Once you've made the purchase, get the download link from the automated email. If you don't get that email, here are the download links:

Installation: Desktop

As you might expect, the installation of the desktop client is little more than downloading the executable and double-clicking. Once you've done that, the installation will complete fairly quickly. After the installation, the Documents To Go desktop client will automatically run, and the first-run wizard will walk you through the setup.

The first screen (Figure A) requires you to connect your smartphone to the PC. Figure A

Here I'm connecting a Verizon-branded Droid Bionic to a Windows 7 PC.

Once the device is connected, click Next to continue on.

The next phase of the installation requires you name both the mobile and the PC (Figure B). I suggest you retain the default name for the PC (it will automatically detect the PC name), but give the mobile a unique name. Figure B

I aptly named this smartphone Bionic.
Once you've set up the names, click Next, and you're done! The last screen will give you the basics of using the Documents To Go desktop client. Once you click OK to dismiss that screen, you'll find yourself in the Documents To Go desktop client main window (Figure C). Figure C

You can have multiple devices associated with the desktop client, so select your device from the drop-down in the upper right.
From the main screen, you can add folders to be synced with the device. To add a folder, click the Add Folder button. If you already have a folder set up for syncing, and you want to include/exclude files for syncing, double-click the folder listing (from the main window), and then uncheck any/all files you do not want to sync (Figure D). Figure D

Want to sync a file? Check the box. Don't want a file to sync? Uncheck the box.

All you have to do now is click the Sync button on the main window, and the sync will occur. Any file you have set up to sync will automatically sync and show up in the Documents To Go app on the mobile device.

Getting your documents to your mobile device (and ready for editing) has never been so easy. Documents To Go is a viable solution for anyone needing to work on the go. As soon as you return to your office, sync the edited files, and they'll be available to your desktop.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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