Tablets

Smarten your mobile office with Smart Office 2

Smart Office Lite and Smart Office 2 are worthy contenders for alternative office suite applications. Find out if this app will fit your mobile document needs.

In the quest for finding the perfect office suite for the Android platform, I've found that there isn't such a beast. Currently, Kingsoft Office still resides at the top of the heap, but that doesn't mean there aren't other tools that might de-throne Kingsoft one day. One tool that presents such a promise is Smart Office. With an outstanding, user-friendly interface, Smart Office is quick to master, efficient to use, and offers plenty of features for both the average and power user.

Smart Office Lite is free of charge, and Smart Office 2 costs $9.99 (USD) -- there's also a paid version for iOS. The Lite version offer the same features as the paid application, but there are some restrictions (for example, documents cannot be saved and only the first few pages of a document can be viewed). I recommend trying the free app first, to get an idea if the tool is right for you.

Features

Here are several features that are offered with Smart Office 2:

  • View and edit major office documents
  • Export to PDF
  • Print to thousands of wireless printers
  • Send and receive email attachments
  • Create and delete files in storage
  • Recalculate spreadsheets and update charts with new formulas
  • Slide show presentations
  • Cut and paste selections to either scrap book or system clipboard
  • Pages view can be set to fit screen or use full page layout
  • Text search
  • Open hyperlinks (using default browser)
  • Navigate easily to any page with convenient gestures
  • Dropbox and Google Docs support
  • Save in original format without data loss

Probably the best feature with Smart Office 2 is the printing. This app connects more easily to wireless printers than most other tablet-friendly office suites. The worst feature, on the other hand, is its Google Docs and Dropbox integration. In fact, I have yet to get Smart Office to successfully connect with Dropbox (though the Google Docs connection was quick, easy, and seamless).

Installation

Let's take a look at how to install the Smart Office Lite:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "smart office"
  3. Tap on Smart Office Lite
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Accept & download

Once it's installed, you can then launch Smart Office from either the home screen or the app drawer.

Connecting Smart Office to Google Docs

One of the first things you'll want to do is connect your Smart Office to your Google Docs account. This is quite simple. From the Smart Office main screen (Figure A), tap the Google Docs connect icon (bottom icon on the left side). Figure A

Smart Office Lite running on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.
A new window will open where you can enter your Google Docs credentials. After you enter your information, tap the Link bar at the bottom (Figure B). Figure B

Smart Office will remained linked to your Google Docs account until you unlink it.

Working with your Google Documents

Once you've made the connection with Google Docs, you'll be presented with a listing of all of your files and Tags (Figure C). Tap on one of those files to open it. Figure C

Tap on a tag to reveal all files associated with said tag.
With the file open (Figure D), you can begin the editing process. From the page view, you can see the various document stats and interact with the document. Figure D

Here you see the Smart Office 3D flow display for documents.

To go to a specific page of a document, simply flick the screen to the left (or right, depending upon where you are in the document). When you find the page you want to view (or edit), tap on the page to go to full screen mode. Once you're in full screen mode, you can zoom in and out using the standard pinching action. When you've located the section to be edited, tap on it to bring up the keyboard, and then edit to your hearts content.

The apps menu button only works when you're in edit mode. Tap that button to reveal a top toolbar (Figure E). Figure E

To dismiss the toolbar, tap the menu button once more.

From the toolbar, you can perform the following actions (from left to right):

  • Go back
  • Act on the file (save, save as, save as PDF, print, email, share PDF, find)
  • Cut/Paste
  • View
  • Add (image or take photo using device camera)
  • Recall or dismiss the keyboard
  • Undo
  • Redo
  • Return to in-document 3D flow view (Figure F)
Figure F

One of the best versions of a cover flow-like interface.

Smart Office is solid addition to your mobile office arsenal. Yes, it has the one caveat regarding Dropbox connectivity, but if you're looking for an office suite that will easily integrate with Google Docs and can open open many different file formats, then you've possibly found your solution. Give Smart Office a try, and see if it doesn't fit all your mobile document needs.

Have you tried Smart Office Lite or Smart Office 2? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

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 getjackd.net.

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