Smart Office helps Android users view Word, PowerPoint, Excel files

Picsel Smart Office (approximately $9.54) is one of many apps that attempt to remedy the Android mobile operating system’s pitifully weak office-document support. Picsel can view and edit Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files, and can view but not edit PDFs.

As a document viewer it performs well, rendering most formatting perfectly. A toolbar at the top of the screen features a Find button to search text. A Reflow button optimizes the view for the small screen, while a Help button gives quick access to an instruction manual.

Picsel has a unique feature called 3D. Pressing this toolbar button toggles into a document view that makes bold text and other formatting stand out in three dimensions. You need special glasses (the kind with one red lens and one blue lens) to see the 3D view; übergeek that I am, I happen to have just such a pair of glasses on hand. I can confirm that this feature does indeed work as advertised. I can also confirm that this feature is a pointless gimmick.

Related story – Smartphone battle brewing in the enterprise market

Document editing is a mixed bag. On one hand, you can edit and save Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files, and the formatting doesn’t screw up in the process. On the other hand, the editing interface is so awkward, you probably won’t want to use it. Even describing this awkward interface is a challenge. Suffice it to say, the editing interface needs a major overhaul to be useful.

Picsel offers an integrated local file browser so that you can find and open files on your SD Card. While Picsel doesn’t include cloud storage, you can open and edit files in your Dropbox folder if you have that app installed. The Save dialog box, unfortunately, leaves something to be desired.

If you are editing an existing file, you don’t get a Save As option; the app just overwrites the file. And when you create a file, you can choose the file name but not the destination–it goes to the /documents folder on your SD Card.

Related story – Apps for printing photos from Android phones

You can apply basic formatting, colors, and lists to text, but inserting images is not an option. Picsel includes some basic default document templates such as Letter, Expense Report, and Dark and Light Presentations, which may be more useful than starting entirely from scratch.

Smart Office comes with a 3D view

Overall, this app is best as a document viewer. However, competitor Documents to Go provides an excellent free file viewer (which you can upgrade to the full editing version for $15), so you don’t really need to buy Picsel just to view files. As an editor, Picsel is too awkward to use for more than just occasional spelling correction in existing documents.

Related story – Unleash Android’s multimedia muscle

Picsel Smart Office could become a great app if the user interface improves, but for now you might want to look at Documents to Go or try AlwaysOnPC, which gives you PC-powered access to a full suite of desktop apps on your Android device.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Related Tech News

Get ITBusiness Delivered

Our experienced team of journalists brings you engaging content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives delivered directly to your inbox.