You don't need a laptop to create and edit documents on the go. With your tablet or smartphone and the right apps, you can start writing and really get things done – no matter where you are. Word processing apps work best when coupled with a physical keyboard, and there are a variety of options compatible with most mobile devices. But with a good mobile word processor, you can be productive even if you're stuck punching in characters on a touchscreen. Here are five of the best apps to help you write when you're away from the office.
Pages (free) – iOS
Pages, part of Apple's iWork suite of mobile productivity apps, is fully integrated with Apple's iCloud online storage platform, so you can access and edit your documents from any web-connected device. It lets you create new documents and add text, images, shapes and other elements with a few taps. It also features some advanced editing tools so you can track changes to individual documents, add comments, and tweak styles and fonts. Pages comes pre-installed on all iPhones and iPads.
Google Docs (free) – iOS, Android
Google Docs is available on iOS as well as Android. It's fully integrated with Google Drive, the company's cloud storage platform; sign in using your Google account credentials and every document you create or edit will automatically be uploaded to the cloud. The app offers tools to insert tables, images, charts and other complex elements into your documents, and it's compatible with Microsoft Office files so you can seamlessly transition between your desktop computer and your mobile device. And all editing takes place offline, so you never need to worry about losing service.
iA Writer ($4.99) – iOS, Android
The iA Writer app is a minimalist word processor with some enticing features for iOS or Android users. It features a touchscreen keyboard with a row of special punctuation characters, allowing more fluid typing and editing. Meanwhile, Focus Mode zooms in to show you just three lines so you can concentrate on what you're typing. Syncing your documents is easy; iA Writer has options to upload your files to both iCloud and Dropbox. Formatting options, however, are limited.
WPS Office (free) – iOS, Android
WPS Office, created by Kingsoft Office Software, is a free, multiplatform productivity suite that's available for iOS and Android. It stands up to competing apps thanks to a solid feature set and an easy-to-use interface. The suite's word processor lets you write, edit and save files with relative ease, and email integration lets you send and receive documents as attachments. Editing features include the ability to change fonts and colors, tweak text alignment, and insert tables. Kingsoft Office's file backup feature lets you save and retrieve your documents from almost any device using Google Drive, Dropbox or Box.com.
Microsoft Word (free to download, requires Microsoft Office 365 subscription) – iOS, Android
Microsoft Word, available for iOS or Android, lets you create and edit documents, as long as you have an Office 365 subscription. Mobile documents look like their desktop counterparts, complete with any charts, tablets and graphics that were present in the originals. When you make edits or add comments to a document, those changes will appear next time you access the same file on your desktop computer. You can also create new documents right within the app. It can even read PDFs.
Additional reporting by Brett Nuckles.