A coworker who owns a TRGpro was tinkering with my Palm V when I asked him if he’d tried Documents To Go, a software package that lets you put Word and Excel documents on your handheld.

“Palms can’t do that,” he said.

“Apparently, they can,” I replied.

Documents To Go, a DataViz software package, shrinks spreadsheets and word processing documents into a format your Palm OS can handle. It includes a spreadsheet viewer, called SheetView, and two word processing viewers, called WordView and WordView+.

Documents To Go is perfect if you need to keep spreadsheets on hand or want to take along work-related reading but don’t want to pack a laptop.

Consider Documents To Go if:

  • You need to retain formatting in the documents you want to review.
  • You need to carry spreadsheets on your handheld.

But if you want to pack up your desktop onto your Palm and edit the documents, forget it. Documents To Go is only a viewer, although the folks at DataViz say they may add editing functions in a future release.
Documents To Go version 2.005 works on Palm OS 2.0 or later. It requires a handheld with 512 K of memory or higher. Documents To Go works on all Palm series, Handspring Visor series, and IBM WorkPad devicesrunning Palm OS 2.0 or later. Converted documents shrink to approximately one third of the size of the unformatted version.
How does it work?
Documents To Go creates an icon on your desktop so you can simply drag and drop documents onto the icon for automatic file conversion. The program allows you to choose either the WordView format or the standard .doc format for word processing documents. Spreadsheets are automatically converted to a format for the SheetView.

Then, the next time you sync, the Documents To Go files are added to your handheld.

Documents To Go converts:

  • Windows Word 7 (95), 8 (97), 2000 and Macintosh Word 6, 8 (98)
  • WordPerfect 6, 7, 8
  • Word Pro 96, 97, 98
  • Text
  • Excel 5 (95), 8 (97), 2000 and Macintosh Excel 5, 8 (98)
  • Quattro Pro 1, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Lotus 1-2-3 97, 98
  • ClarisWorks/AppleWorks 4, 5 (word processing)
  • ClarisWorks/AppleWorks 4, 5 (spreadsheet)

Why would you want to use WordView+ over the .doc format? WordView+ retains more of your formatting, including bold, italics, underlined text, tables, and paragraph alignment. Titles and subheads also appear larger, relative to the body copy on the handheld screen.

I was able to convert a 186-KB Word document into a WordView file of 71 KB, complete with formatting, and a .doc file of 34 KB without formatting.

The WordView format also allows you to add up to 256 bookmarks.

When dealing with spreadsheets, Documents To Go’s reduction wasn’t as impressive. A 182-KB spreadsheet reduced to a 105-KB SheetView format. I was able to see nine rows and four very condensed columns. When you click on a column, it will allow you to read its contents up to 26 characters, or by clicking on a Cell Details button, you can read the full contents.

Documents To Go allows you to convert up to 15 workbook sheets.

You can download a two-week demo from the DataViz site, where the software package sells for $39.95 plus shipping and handling. The site sometimes offers Documents To Go packaged with Desktop To Go, a program that synchronizes your Outlook with your Palm and includes a free add-on that allows you to convert attachments.

Reduced prices are available for multiple licenses, and Documents To Go can be accessed by multiple users on Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.
We’ll be periodically reviewing Palm OS software and would like to know your favorite programs. Show us what’s in your handheld by e-mail or post below.