App Review: QuickOfficeHD | webOS Nation
 
 

App Review: QuickOfficeHD 61

by Jonathan I Ezor#IM Mon, 12 Sep 2011 1:37 pm EDT

The ability to edit Microsoft Office documents on our webOS devices has been promised to us "soon" literally since the original Palm Pre announcement at CES in January 2009. Later, the read-only version of DataViz' Doc Open bundled with earlier webOS devices included a splash screen telling users that that DataViz did "plan to release Documents to Go for webOS," but that plan was apparently derailed by disputes with Palm and ultimately cancelled when DataViz was purchased by RIM. HP (which had purchased Palm) then struck a deal with QuickOffice to bring its reading and editing suite to webOS, and the Pre 2, Veer and TouchPad launched with that app in read-only form, with editing again promised for the near future. When HP cancelled webOS hardware and put the future of webOS overall at risk in mid-August, QuickOffice had still not released the editing version of its webOS application, and users worried that it never would. Happily, QuickOffice finally came throguh on the 2+ year promise by Palm and HP when the free upgrade for editing (called QuickOfficeHD) came to the webOS 3.x TouchPad (though not webOS 2.x phones) on August 29th. We have now had a chance to try it out, and the verdict is mixed.

First, the good parts: it's here, and it does work, allowing editing of Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets (both the previous and 2007 file types are supported). PowerPoint presentations may be viewed, but not (yet?) edited, on the TouchPad (QuickOfficeHD continues to use the bundled Adobe Reader to display PDF files.) The application automatically searches the TouchPad's local storage for compatible files, and optionally integrates cloud-based storage accounts such as Google Docs, Box.net and Dropbox for both retrieval and saving (assuming a WiFi connection is available). Documents can be created, opened, edited and saved back and forth between Microsoft Office on a PC and QuickOfficeHD on the TouchPad, and with Dropbox integration, this process can be almost seamless.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of challenges and outright problems as well. Formatting options are limited; in Word, the user can select justification; bold, italic and underlining of text; numbered or bullet lists; and three fonts. That's it. While QuickOfficeHD will not undo additional formatting options present in the document, it may not display them properly either. For example, superscripted footnote numbers in text show as nonsense characters, and the footnotes themselves are not visible or editable. Worse, QuickOfficeHD can sometimes alter formatting in a way that cannot be undone; after a bullet list, we found that it caused subsequent paragraphs to have hanging indents, which we could only fix once the document was opened in Microsoft Word, since indenting options are not offered within the application. QuickOfficeHD does not support webOS' built in spelling check and other Text Assist features, and for some reason, the delete key on Bluetooth keyboards will not repeat within a QuickOfficeHD document, although it does elsewhere within webOS.

Some of QuickOfficeHD's failings are not its fault: Palm eliminated keyboard shortcuts for cut, copy, paste and the all-important undo in the full rewrite of webOS for 3.x, and absence of undo and difficult managing clipboard selection and pasting are particularly felt within the editing environment of QuickOfficeHD. Unfortunately, QuickOffice did not take it upon itself to add those features into its application, or other useful shortcuts (such as quick movements to the top and bottom of documents).

While the above issues are annoyances, there are flat-out bugs in the application that make its use much less pleasant. At times, the cursor gets stuck at the bottom of the screen, and one cannot see the text being typed or edited there. The biggest and perhaps fatal flaw in QuickOfficeHD, though, is that it locks up without notice, either during a save or sometimes just while deleting or otherwise changing text. When this happens, the only option seems to be to close and reopen the document, losing any unsaved text in the process. This review was begun within QuickOfficeHD, but whole sections needed to be retyped in Microsoft Word after they disappeared during freezes. Given that Derek was able to write his entire huge review of the TouchPad within the Memos app, the situation was all the more troubling.

Ultimately, QuickOfficeHD's ability to use both local (offline) and cloud storage and its full Microsoft Word and Excel compatibility make it a somewhat better choice for many TouchPad owners than cloud-based options like Google Docs or text editors. Unfortunately, its quirks, missing features and some serious bugs severely limit its overall utility. While we are grateful QuickOffice finished and released this version, we hope that it will continue to repair and improve the application, even while we wait on news of the future of webOS hardware.

Pros

Free of charge for TouchPad owners Integrates well with Dropbox, Box.net and Google Docs Preserves formatting even of unsupported features such as footnotes Enables both cloud and local storage

Cons

Limited formatting and editing choices No spell check or Text Assist No key repeat on delete key Some serious bugs causing freezing

Score

2.5

61 Comments

Why am I not surprised. Picsel, where art thou?

Lately, I've just been typing up documents in the email app to send to myself later. The formatting options (along with the bugs) are limiting enough that I know I'm going to have to edit stuff again anyway. Let's hope that they just rushed this out and will patch it later.

no, they will not.

#correction "TouchPad launched with that app in edit-only form" should be "read-only form"

Probably a QuickOffice HD issue, LOL :)

troubling indeed, I use the spredsheets a lot with gdocs and haven't had any problem whatsoever. Just tried documents a little. Gonna need to test that, if it is as bad as you guys have it, that's **** ...

Excellent review. Thanks.

I loved how you referenced the key issue in the screenshot.

A bug I found is that when opening a Google Spreadsheet with charts saved as separate tabs, when I changed the data in the spreadsheet and re-save the other tabs are lost. :/

This version of Quick office has "contractual obligation" written all over it. I doubt anyone is burning the midnight oil to fix any of those problems.

Agreed, I'm sure if HP paid them they would improve it but I doubt that'll happen now.

Might they be "tanning in the noon day sun" to fix any of those problems? Maybe they are putting some effort into it...but it would be nice to hear for sure, one way or the other.

Well. That. Just. Sucks.

Sounds like HP's new motto..

Correction, that motto would "Well. That. Just. Sucks. for. you!"

Correction:
""Well. That. Just. Sucks. for. you.dear.customer!""

Missed a huge thing in my opinion. I can't get Word docs to open properly that are landscape mode. It displays them in portrait mode only and text goes off the screen and is uneditable. I have tried opening a ticket with Quickoffice and have heard no response from them in over a week. So very disappointed with them.

This is nice for simple docs, but I would not trust it with long and/or important docs.

I will gladly pay for Picsel Smart Office when it comes out.

Good review of a not so good program. It really needs Spell Check integration. I hope they continue to advance the program and address the issues.

I hope they fix all that... Also, PDF viewer used to work much better on my Pre- than it does on my Pre2

Unfortunate.

what did you expect, it´s hot ironed as everything in the past months of webOS :-(

Even more fun: Create a document in Quickoffice and try to open it in OpenOffice or LibreOffice -- it won't just fail to open, it will crash the application. Quickoffice's site says it must be opened and saved in MSFT Office first.

Lawzy.

No comments about the Tab key not working. I did my first document in Quickoffice yesterday and I couldn't indent anything with the Tab key, anyone else seeing this? I haven't tried rebooting to see if this fixes it. Other than that it worked fine for what I needed, then I sent it to my printer and printed off 6 copies, pretty slick.

They probably just stopped work after the announcement and released whatever was done. That way they still kept their promise/deal with HP, but they didn't have to "waste their time" anymore.

The saving bug is absolutely horrible in quickoffice. It makes the suite unusable for typing.

I've had to use google docs for everything, including my notetaking. I lost 3 pages of notes the very first time I used quickoffice thanks to this bug - and I was attempting to save LOCALLY.

Having the app freeze on saving and having no way of recovering the text = horrible.

I had several problems and opened a ticked with Quickoffice. They were pretty responsive and my issues are not there now.

When the cursor gets stuck at the bottom of the page just pinch the screen to resize it and tht seems to fix the problem... it works for other issues too.

well, it's a free app. You can't just expect it to be perfect, but crashing and losing data is just simply not acceptable for an office app.

It is not a free app! It has been marketed as "included with webOS" since inception (The June '09 "Palm Prē" release date, not July '10 "Inception" release date). The company was/is definitely paid to create the app, it's just not the end user paying them directly. To release an app with these glaring issues and not already have a press release about future updates to correct these issues is almost as bad as never having released it at all.

Perhaps not 'free' in the truest sense, but basically free to the end user...especially to those who got a firesale price on the TP. Surely there is a difference between an app that the end user chooses to pay their own money for, and an app that the end user does not pay out extra money for it's use? Also, I would think that the developing company would be somewhat more stimulated to be accountable to paying end users than to a company like HP that they had a contract with, but that basically dropped a mortar in QO's path to webOS software development.

At least they complied with their contract, albeit with a sub par editing QO. Picsel's (hopefully) upcoming product already looked better in that beta video than QO's version.

Is that an excuse because since I dropped the Palm Pre for an Epic 4G and now the Evo 3D they both come with a quality office suite free of charge.

I just installed an update for QO and Adobe that is now showing images in word docs and dreams to improve some on the formatting errors. QO is now 2.1.1905. Had I missed this update or is it new?

I have 2.1.1905 and have had it for a while now, don't remember when it came out though...

Tangential question: As a newcomer to webOS, what is the designation "HD" supposed to convey relative to application names (such as "QuickOffice HD")? Thanks in advance.

HD is essentially "tablet" apps, i.e. designed to work on the Touchpad, as opposed to the lower resolution phone apps, a la the iPad "HD" vs iPhone apps.

Honestly, I tried using quickoffice, but as everyone else points out, it kinda sucks. Google docs is a far more robust (and less buggy) option and it is what I use for taking notes in class. I mean, I am rarely away from wifi so its not a big deal. Also, if you want another option MS office's web suite is also available and you get a 25GB cloud drive.

How did you get that working for editing? I thought office web apps needed Silverlight to work?

I hadn't tried it yet, just did, and it seems that you are correct. You can open the docs, but do nothing with them. Either way, Gdocs works perfectly for me.

This is pathetic. Google Docs works better than QuickOffice!

As serious shame. But like a few posters have said... will have to wait for Picsel's office app. You get what you pay for. (At least that's the hope.)

it's ridiculously slow to load a file form gDocs in my experience and really sucks up the resources while it's doing it.

Really not very impressed with it at all. Still think that webOS would have been better served ensuring that sites like gDocs worked perfectly in the browser.

On the off chance there will be fixes coming - I also can't open template files (.dot), tho I'm sure that's an incredibly simple fix to at least allow viewing. Thanks!

I also have a glitch where it removes all formatting from the document. All of a sudden my nicely spaced out page is one big mess of a paragraph :(
This, plus the crashing while saving makes QuickOffice unusable for me.

Nobody tried to use spreadsheets here? When editing a spreadsheet, it takes a second to update the whole screen after every cell you just edited. And of course, the BT keyboard arrow keys don't help you move to the next cell. Even worse, I can't find any way to copy and paste formulas.

Again, all of the above issues can be avoided by using Google Docs. It's sad that after all those years, Docs2go on Palm OS 5.2 still works way better then this.

But then I guess it is that certain market leader that leads the way in "de-volving" our document editing experience. Copy&pasting formulas is a pain in Numbers for iOS when compared to Docs2go on Palm OS 5.2

Excel is a slow mess. No copy/Paste is sad. I did a little work on the BT keyboard before giving up in disgust. Then tonight I went to pull the document off box.net onto my computer and the last tab was emptied out!!! Thank goodness box.net has previous versions available. I Highly recommend no one use this for anything important until some bug fixes are issued. I almost lost 3 long nights of work. I hope Picsel pulls through, I would pay good money for a refined experience.
PS: The charts I made in excel do not display. I am okay with that though as they are probably resource hogs.

I lost a fair bit of data myself trying out QuickOffice. I submitted an issue to QuickOffice but have not gotten any response yet.

I also lost a bunch of data in Typewriter Beta, which has even more serious issues dealing with ctrl keys.

Is there a decent text editor that currently doesn't lose data and works with Dropbox?

From what I have seen/heard, SmartOffice from Picsel will be releasing soon and might come with most of the issues plaguing QuickOffice resolved.

Sorry, people, but I don't get all the buzz about "Office on Pads" at all.

At least four Colleagues and my Boss are trying to find the best Office App on iOS and Android as well, atm and all I hear is "This doesn't work, that's buggy..." And, of course, none of them really needs such a thing.

I believe that people just don't realize that Phones and Tabs just weren't made for this stuff. They serve a different purpose atm.

On my crappy old keyboard that I use right now, I'm able to type around 250 chars per minute. If I would want to do that on the Touchpad, I'd buy a bluetooth keyboard, which in combination isn't that far away from my netbook in size, weight and price (assuming I'm getting the refund, of course)

Box.net and competitors are a neat thing - as long as there's internet connection available, somehow. So I have 32GB of internal memory to save stuff, which is about one tenth of what I can store on my Netbook.

The same with picture/photo editing. I just don't want to miss my 24" s-ips Monitor at home for this stuff and that's just my semi-pro opinion (sold around 10 photos this year and around 25 within the last 5 years).

A working all-purpose office app is the least thing I'd consider to be a killer feature on my Touchpad. Sure, it'd be a nice to have. But that's it.

For me the real tool that is needed is better editing of Powerpoint files, which none of these programs do well on any platform.

So does the rest of most software that we use on our "old school" computers. Except for games, maybe. But then I never tried to play something more complex on any of the pads.

What we ultimately need is a Java Virtual Machine, because then we can select from a range of mature applications and, yes, run them. I'm a little astounded that there is no JVM for webOS 3.x. Can only assume that it's thought that if there were such a thing there would be fewer native developers -- the dreaded OS/2-Windows compatibility problem. But we as users would be better off if we had Java, and it's hard to see why we don't.

we as users would be better off with many other things, that never came from HPalm, and as someone else pointed out above, Office suite on ANY tab is a solution looking for a problem, not the other way around.

Part of that whole "increased productivity" hype/nonsense, surrounding tablets, that has nothing to do with the reality.

Gotta disagree with you here. Yes, an office suite on a telephone is a little flaky. But a tablet oughta be able to do anything a notebook -- or, at least, a netbook -- can do. And 32 (or even 16) gigs is a honking big hunk of local document storage. I'd a lot rather carry around the TouchPad than my Thinkpad, but the TouchPad didn't ship even with a decent text editor. This is surely not a solution looking for a problem. A proper word processor is, in my case, not one, either -- it is a fundamental requirement.

"But a tablet oughta be able to do anything a notebook -- or, at least, a netbook -- can do."

"oughta be". Right, but:
1. For twice the netbook's price (let's do not count firesale for fair comparison, shall we)
2. With the need of the added Bluetooth keyboard
3. And, most probably, a stand
4. And, still requiring some kind of table to put it all on (can't imagine using it on your laps)
5. and, still requiring two hands to lug it around "on the go", with separate keyboard
6. And still, having not nearly as mature OS (pick any mobile OS you want here) as netbooks have, for the intended purpose.

...So, yes, technically it CAN be done, (same as you technically CAN use a hammer to spread butter, or knife to drive nails into the plank),and get ALMOST the same productivity/ergonomy (assuming the above terms & conditions) as on a Netbook that costs half the price, with all the above mentioned quirks and drawbacks, but no thanks, I will insist it still is a solution looking for a problem.

But that's just my opinion, people tend to use hammers to spread butter all the time.

First, it's built on Linux, which is a remarkably mature OS, which is why I've used it exclusively for 15 years.

Second, if the good people of H-P (or the non-good ones for that matter) were to open things up a little, we'd get some of the things we need in an onscreen keyboard (or maybe a little home-end, arrow keys, selection lock dropdown like the calculator reviewed here a couple days ago), obviating the accessory keyboard. I have one, but I don't carry it around with me and but for navigation and selection, the onscreen keyboard works fine for me.

I find that the TouchPad works without a table at least as well as a notebook machine does. Perhaps you think notebook machines also should not have word processors and the like?

I'm glad you don't need these features, but some of us would very much like to have them and would use them for productive work if we did. I don't disparage anyone's use of Facetube or Tooter; surely others can understand that some of us get machines for purposes other than the ones that entice them.

How's your typing rate? Mine is around 250 per minute on the cherry keyboard and drops to 160 on my Netbook (Lenovo Ideapad S205). On the Touchpad? Well, I'm still faster than on... you know... that other one that has only one fixed keyboard layout.

It's not that I haven't tried to handle the thing. I tried as soon as Typewriter Beta showed up. And I still use it in favor of that Office Thing we're talking about.

But I just don't see myself editing Spreadsheets, complex Word docs or even (yuck!) PP presentations on any of today's available Tablets.

I agree about the lack of a decent text editor, though.

Actually, I can type pretty quickly on the onscreen keyboard in medium size. Where things slow down is if I see a typo two lines above and try to put the cursor there. My fingers are bigger than the letters, and in several applications there's no stretching. Oh how this thing would benefit from arrow keys, plus key combinations that would allow precise and easy text selection! I understand that webOS had this function earlier but it was inexplicably removed on 3.x -- my guess is that it is supposed to cripple the pad so it doesn't so much compete with HP's dinky notebooks.

Would happily pay for the patch that would resupply those things, in anticipation of Picsel's Smart Office, which one supposes will be better than Quickoffice; it certainly could not be worse.

"First, it's built on Linux, which is a remarkably mature OS, which is why I've used it exclusively for 15 years."
Aha. Thanks for enlightenment. So what, it is build on top of Linux? Do them developers have access to Linux APIs/libraries etc.? No they do not have it. So much for "being build on top" of it.

"(...)obviating the accessory keyboard. I have one, but I don't carry it around with me and but for navigation and selection, the onscreen keyboard works fine for me."
Seriously? You have a physical keyboard, but you do not carry it around? Well, it kinda validates my point about irksomeness of lugging it around apart from the tablet itself, doesn't it?
OK then, have fun typing/editing using touchscreen keyboard, if it really suits you. For me, on-screen keyboard is still a retarded experience of clumsiness and counter-productivity, versus physical keyboard.

"I find that the TouchPad works without a table at least as well as a notebook machine does."
....assuming one agrees with your previous statement about on-screen keyboard being as good as physical one for typing, it is true. But I have yet to see anyone touch-typing on a touch-keyboard, or indeed, typing at any decent rate. "Pretty fast" for you, might be not that fast in general.

"(...)but some of us would very much like to have them and would use them for productive work if we did. I don't disparage anyone's use of Facetube or Tooter; surely others can understand that some of us get machines for purposes other than the ones that entice them."

...I do not have any problem with people "wanting to have one". That's perfectly fine reason on it's own to buy one, IMHO, without the need of rationalizing your buying decision and trying to push the reality into some mythical "productivity increases, when using tablets" realms. That is NOT the case for text/documents editing, for sure.

...Seriously, if you want a cross-breed of functionality/productivity together with all the tablet fun, just do yourself a favor and buy Asus Transformer w/ keyboard dock. That is as productive a tablet as it gets (equally to netbook), as ergonomic, and much less irksome than TouchPad + wireless keyboard option (that could not even be carried together with the tablet easily, for the difference of dimensions, and funny curved shape)

I hope that whatever has made you so angry is soon relieved.

Please know that you are perfectly free to do as you with with any devices you own.

What you should also know is that it looks foolish when someone who knows nothing about another person's workflow nevertheless makes assumptions about that workflow.

"What you should also know is that it looks foolish when someone who knows nothing about another person's workflow nevertheless makes assumptions about that workflow."

Oh... But I thought I know everything about that particular workflow, because I was under impression that we are discussing document editing use case on tablets type device(s), and their (un)suitability for that tasks, versus devices with physical keyboards, costing half the price and having better suited OSes/app suites for the task in question. I was also under impression that I had a lot of unanswered arguments to support my stance, until you have decided to switch to discuss my feelings instead (how sweet of you :), thanks), which totally, I mean TOTALLY destroys all of my reasoning and proves your point beyond any further discussion!

well done!

**** no! (Sorry about that)

I'd never suggest such a thing unless the sectarians from Oracle don't get any fresh air into their tiny brains.

Sure, there are other free Java VMs but they all have some flaws I've been messing around for the last 10 Years in a row. That ain't fun. In fact, it was so little fun that I changed the Job.

I commented on FB... Hope I am not to late.