Updated article for iOS 7: Best Apps to Edit Microsoft Office Documents (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) in iOS 7
How to edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint Documents on the iPad (Mini), iPhone, and iPod Touch.
Microsoft has not released MS Office for iOS. However, there are a couple of different apps that have the capability of not only viewing but also editing Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents on the iPad (Mini), the iPhone,and the iPod Touch. These apps also allow you to upload or transfer Microsoft Office files from your computer to your iOS Device. There are 2 apps that I recommend for editing these types of documents: QuickOffice (separate iPad and iPhone versions), and CloudOn (universal app – works on both iPhone and iPad). Both QuickOffice and CloudOn can edit Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents. Both apps can also create Microsoft Office documents. Before we get to the specific apps though, here are a couple of ways to get Microsoft Office documents to your iOS device.
One easy way to get a document from your Mac or PC to your iPad or iPhone is by email. Simply attach the document you want to share and send it to an email address you can access with the mail app on your iPhone or iPad. Navigate on your iPad or iPhone to the email you just sent and open the attached document. In the upper right corner of the document you will see the Share icon. Tap on the Share icon to open the document in one of the 2 apps recommended: QuickOffice, or CloudOn. From there, you can edit the document. The only downside to this method is that the document does not automatically sync between your iOS device and your Mac or PC. You will need to save the document and email it again to access it on your computer. To avoid this, I recommend the second option.
The second option allows for editing of a Microsoft Office document (Office, Excel, or Powerpoint) while keeping it synced with your computer. First, you will need to set up a Dropbox account. Dropbox offers a free account with up to 2 GB of storage for saving and sharing documents between devices (if you need more storage, there are paid services available). Here is a direct link to find out more and sign up for a Dropbox account: dropbox.com.
Once you have a Dropbox account, you can save any document (including Microsoft Office Documents) on your Mac or PC to the Dropbox folder. Then, these documents are accessible from any device that can access your Dropbox account including your iPhone or iPad with the Dropbox App. Whenever you edit the document on your computer or your iOS device the document is synced between all your devices – no need to email the document back and forth. Both CloudOn and QuickOffice integrate Dropbox directly into the app allowing you to set up your Dropbox account in the app and access all your Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents right inside the app. Anytime you edit a document and save it, the document will be updated when you reopen it on your computer.
Here is a quick overview of both the apps I have recommended:
This app has a nice user interface and is easy to use. There are 8 different sync services that you can set up with QuickOffice including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, and Box.net. Each of the services you add will be listed in the left column. Add the Dropbox service that you set up earlier by tapping the Plus button in the lower left hand corner. After you have entered you username and password, you will be able to access any documents that you have previously saved to your Dropbox folder. You can also create and save new Word, Powerpoint, or Excel Documents right inside the app. If you save these to your Dropbox folder, they will appear on your computer the next time you open up the Dropbox folder. In many ways, editing a Word document on the iPad with QuickOffice is better than using Microsoft Word because the user interface is much simpler.
This app is another fantastic option for editing Microsoft Office documents. The designers of this app have gone for a look and feel that is very similar to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Thus, the user interface is not as clean but there are more features when compared to QuickOffice. Once you have downloaded and launched the app, tap on the sync service you would like to use (Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive). As mentioned above, I recommend using Dropbox. Once you have connected Dropbox (or one of the other services), tap on the Dropbox icon to find your documents and folders. Open the document you would like to edit. Once you edit the document and close it, CloudOn will automatically update the file in Dropbox so that when you access it from another device, it will be updated.
Overall, both QuickOffice and CloudOn provide excellent tools you need to create, edit, and manage all of your Microsoft Office documents on the go. Test them out and let me know what you think. Or, if you have a recommendation of an additional app that you like to use to edit Microsoft Office documents, please share that as well. Finally, if you have any questions about these apps or need help setting up any of the services mentioned above, feel free to post a comment.
For a more comprehensive list of iPhone, iPad (Mini), and iPod Touch apps available to edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, see this article: 6 iOS Apps to Edit MS Office Documents (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint).
*App links in this article are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase one of the apps on iTunes or the App Store through the link, the blog author will get a small commission to continue to improve this site and bring additional content. Thanks for your support!