Posts Tagged ‘pdf’

Documents to Go

Posted: August 5, 2010 by cunninghamg in Productivity
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Standard Edition $AUD 12.99 Word, Excel viewing only
Premium Edition $AUD 17.99, email attachment stripping, cloud synchronization, PPT support

standard logo[Click here to download from iTunes] 11 Mb

premium logo[Click here to download from iTunes] 11 Mb

General comments and thoughts

One of the essential tools of any application repertoire on the iPad must be the core productivity apps found on any computer. It is amazing the Office suite, comprising Word ,Excel, Powerpoint has been replicated with a high degree of functionality.

It can be argued that the iPad is not the best environment to be comfortably productive in, however Docs to go goes a long way to bring the most crucial elements of word processing, presentation and spreadsheets. In addition to providing compatibility with common Office file formats, Docs to Go enables viewing of PDFs, SVGs, Gifs and many more. Viewing and basic editing are its main purpose.

I have to say that any application that runs on both the iPad and the iPhone is well worth a look and is likely to be great value for money. Documents to Go competes very well in this space with comparable productivity apps in the same category especially because a single purchase will port to both iPad and iPhone. In addition, the synchronisation options with cloud applications such as Google Docs, MobileMe and Dropbox are a definite plus for any student.

PDF Viewing

PDF document (Click to Enlarge)

Viewing an Excel document

Excel document (Click to Enlarge)

Uses in Higher Education

Documents to Go is ideal for any faculty member or student that has the need to be productive whilst un-chaining themselves from an office or being bound to campus computer labs. I would find that this application’s viewing capability alone will allow any person to go a long way achieving a paperless university experience either in lectures or tutorials or going to grinding faculty meetings! However, the lack of full application functionality does not lend itself to scribing one’s doctoral thesis on.

Overall ? – meets my needs for on the go viewing, editing and document tinkering.

I would certainly go for the Premium edition


  • Functions on iPad,iPhone,iPod Touch
  • Many basic functions of native applications are available, formatting etc.
  • A complete suite of productivity applications for any student or faculty member
  • Supports a comprehensive list of file types including .docx,.ppt, HTML etc
  • Supports local, desktop and cloud based storage options
  • Email support


  • Does not completely substitute for the real functionality of native applications
  • Basic edition implies that Powerpoint editing is possible (Icon gives you this impression)
  • Synchronization between iPad and iPhone is not possible
  • Pasting of images into documents not currently supported




Price: $1.19 (AUD)

App size = 9.1 MB

[Click here to download from iTunes]

One of the key strengths of the iPad is the ability to take a large collection of documents with you in one small device.  I’ve installed a range of readers on the iPad and the one that’s surfacing as most useful is Goodreader.

Given that the majority of documents that come my way at work are either .pdf or .doc the issue I have is making sure I have the right documents with me in class, in meetings, in training sessions and generally when not at my desk.  This is where Goodreader  comes into its own.


Beyond simply displaying a document, Goodreader has the following functions:

  • Preview file
  • Find Files – search by file name; filter by name, date added, date read, or starred.
  • Manage files – copy, zip, protect/unprotect, mark read/unread, star/unstar, email, rename, link, add to PDF portfolio, open in another application… and more
  • Web downloads – this function is one of my favourites – it allows me to download a file into the application directly by entering a URL or web browsing.
  • Connect to Servers – really useful in an enterprise environment where shared folders are still used.

File transfer

You can load files in and out of GoodReader in a variety of ways.  GoodReader can be launched from a document preview in Safari or Mail but also allows:

  • direct URL entry,
  • search the WWW,
  • WiFi File Transfer – a little tricky but there are good instructions on the vendor’s website – [Goodiware WiFi Transfer instructions]
  • USB File Transfer – via  iTunes Apps interface – or using the GoodReaderUSB tool provided as a free download from the vendor website. [GoodReaderUSB download page]

From the website:

GoodReader supports massive PDF and TXT files, but it can also handle all of the most popular file types. Have a look for yourself:

  • MS Office – .doc, .ppt, .xls and more
  • iWork’08/’09
  • HTML and Safari webarchives
  • High resolution images
  • It even does audio and video! []

Ease of Use:

GoodReader has quite a few features that take a little time to discover.  The more files you start accessing with GoodReader the more obvious the features become.  It’s ready to use as a simple reader from the moment its installed, but GoodReader really does become something of a Swiss Army knife as you push it further.  (At this point you also need to keep in mind the price point we’re talking about – GoodReader is $1.19 and does far more than the free readers that are often limited to proprietary site access and have poor file management features.)

Pros and Cons:

The only Con I’ve experienced is the text flow option seemed to lose its controls – but I suspect that was more related to the fact that my iPad hadn’t been restarted in more than a week.  After a restart GoodReader has been working perfectly.

Potential uses in Higher Education:

GoodReader is proving very useful in a range of contexts.  I’m teaching in a dance studio and I can have all my readings and course documents with me in the one device without worrying about losing or disrupting papers.  I can search for the exact items I want to use at the instant I need them.  Yesterday I was able to have my lesson plan open on the reader and refer to it as the class progressed.  In a WiFi environment I can quickly distribute digital copies of documents to my students via email (or WiFi if they have iPod/iPad/iPhone).

I can quickly access documents shared by colleagues via local (or remote) servers.  The ability to have all my minutes and action lists for meetings in one location is a boon.  I’m often more than a kilometre from my desk and shifting from one colleague’s office to the next – so the portability of the iPad and reliability of this app is really appreciated.

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Posted: July 27, 2010 by jacquiak in Collaboration, Communication, Productivity
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Projector for iPad


Price: $5.99

App size = 4.3 MB

[Click here to download from iTunes]

Official App Description/Marketing spiel: “Finally! With this amazing app now you CAN project your ideas, documents and pictures to an external display (TV, LCD, Projector.  With a mirrored display, you will exactly know where you are while scrolling up and down the pages. Highlight important points of the document on the big screen using your iPad with the build-in laser pointer. ”

NOTE: The Apple VGA connector is also needed to project on external displays.

General comments and thoughts:

After purchasing the dock converter to VGA adapter from Apple for $39 I have to admit that I was disappointed when I found out that only SOME of the apps on the iPad would display on the big screen.  Although the YouTube app and some Videos will play directly through the VGA cable, and if you have the KeyNote app, this displays too – most other applications, including web browsers do not successfully display.

Big disappointment.

However this app is addressing the problem somewhat in its claims to be able to display the following file types:

  • Adobe PDF
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Excel
  • iWork Pages
  • iWord KeyNote
  • iWork Numbers
  • Text and RTF.

Ease of Use:

Once you’ve plugged in the VGA cable to your external monitor and opened up Projector app, you are first presented with a blank canvas where you are prompted to open up a file from your Document List.

Start screen of Projector!

This is where I first discovered that you can’t simply and easily browse for a file as such… you have to go to the file you wish to open first and then Open With > Projector.  A bit of a shame, but never mind.  Once you have located the file you wish to open, it automatically adds it to your Document list.

As you can see in the example above I imported a word doc, excel spreadsheet, PDF, PowerPoint file and an RTF. I figured I’d try as many as possible to see if they really COULD play all file types as per their claims!

So, you select the file you want to open from the Document List and a thumbnail preview of the file appears on the canvas.

In the top right hand corner are 3 Project Icons.

The first (Info icon) displays some basic help instructions.

The second (Image icon) allows you to change the background image.

The third (Play icon) is the most important icon, as this lets you move into presentation mode.

Once you select the Play icon your iPad screen will rotate and display your file at the top of the screen. Below this; 4 buttons will appear – left and right buttons to move back and forth through your file. A stop button to stop the presentation. And a switch button which lets you switch between display mode and a magic wand.

Although your iPad screen will look like the above, on the display you are connected too – only the top part (ie your file) will display on-screen.

Pros and Cons:

Although the app claims to be able to show images, I couldn’t find a way to import an image into the Document List.  Having said that, given you can simply display Photos using a VGA cable directly through the Photos app, this isn’t really a big deal anyway.

I also couldn’t get the magic wand tool to work properly (at least not as I was hoping it would work).  When in Presentation mode, if you use your finger to circle an area on the presentation, it doesn’t actually display this on the display screen you’re connected too.  Which makes the tool a little useless.  BUT maybe that was just the TV I was connected too… might have to test this further.

Potential uses in Higher Education:

As a presentation tool for use in a lecture theatre or classroom; the ability to open up this app and quickly display files from your iPad is potentially very useful. Most lecturers these days tend to store their PowerPoint slides or other class documents within their LMS or on a flash drive for convenience. Some take their laptop’s to class and plug them into the projectors.  So this iPad app provides another storage and display alternative, although I think the portability and convenience of a flash drive would still preferable.  Plus it would fit in your pocket 🙂

At the moment what’s missing is the ability to display web pages and to display ANY application installed on the iPad.  If these things are incorporated into the next version of the app (or another app) – it would improve its usability in leaps and bounds.   Mind you, given that Apple controls the approval of apps within iTunes and given their tendency to release a slick product, minus a few vital features (ie releasing the iPhone3G minus a video camera while including a video camera in the iPod nano) it is highly likely that in the future Apple will no doubt incorporate these additional features.  Fingers crossed anyway.