Jason R. Rich is a consumer electronics expert who hosts the Featured App of the Week podcast and contributes articles to many publications.
When it comes to word processing on your smartphone or tablet, you have a variety of options available. The first thing you need to consider when choosing which word processing mobile app to use is document compatibility, based on the word processor you’re already using on your computer, or the word processor being used by the people you’ll be sharing documents or collaborating with.
Most people who use their computer and mobile devices for work-related purposes already rely on the Microsoft Word word processor, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications.
A full-featured version of Microsoft Word is available for iOS and Android-based mobile devices.
Microsoft Word on your smartphone or tablet is fully compatible with the version of Microsoft Word that already runs on all Windows PC and Macs. It also offers seamless integration with the Microsoft OneDrive cloud-based file sharing service, so all of your documents remain synced between all of your own computers and mobile devices.
With the use of OneDrive in conjunction with Microsoft Word, it’s also very easy to share documents and collaborate with others when your smartphone or tablet has Internet access.
To take full advantage of the mobile version of Microsoft Word, you’ll need to become a Microsoft 365 subscriber, which involves paying a monthly fee, starting at $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. This fee gives you full access to several Microsoft 365 applications, including Microsoft Word, on all of your own computers and mobile devices.
Microsoft Word, along with other word processing apps that I am about to discuss, are all considered full-featured word processors.
These offer more robust document layout and design capabilities, compared to a basic notetaking or list creation mobile app, for example.
Many word processors available or tablets, such as the iPad, support a stylus, like the Apple Pencil, which allow you to handwrite or annotate text-based documents. These apps also support external keyboards, which makes typing text-based documents faster and more accurate than using a mobile device’s smaller, on-screen, virtual keyboard.
In fact, if you plan on doing any serious word processing via your smartphone or tablet, in terms of creating documents from scratch or doing heavy editing, I definitely recommend using some sort of external, Bluetooth keyboard in conjunction with your mobile device.
If you’ll be just reading and reviewing documents, or perhaps doing very light editing, using the mobile device’s built-in, on-screen, virtual keyboard in conjunction with a word processor app will typically work just fine.
Word processing apps also include tools, like a grammar and spell checker, as well as the ability to format your text and incorporate photos or graphics into your documents with ease.
Microsoft Word for smartphones and tablets is a free app, but to unlock all of the app’s word processing features and functions, you’ll need to pay for a Microsoft 365 account.
There are, however, several equally powerful word processors for mobile devices that are available for free.
Available from Apple for the iPhone, iPad, and all Macs is a word processor called Pages. It is part of the iWork suite of applications. Pages uses its own document file format, but documents can also be exported as Microsoft Word compatible .DOC files, and Word files can easily be imported directly into Pages.
What you’ll discover is that the different versions of Pages for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac are all fully compatible with each other, and all support the Apple iCloud service for storing, syncing, sharing, and doing real-time document collaboration.
If you’re an Android-based smartphone or tablet user, the Google Docs word processing app is readily available for your mobile device. It’s available from Google and is part of the G Suite collection of work-related applications available for Windows PCs, Macs, and all mobile devices.
To take full advantage of Google Docs and other G Suite applications, you’ll need to pay for a G Suite subscription, which starts at $6.00 per month.
Google Docs fully integrates with Google Drive, which is Google’s cloud-based file sharing service. It allows you to sync, store, and share documents and other G Suite data and files, plus collaborate with others in real-time when your computer or mobile device has Internet access.
In addition to Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Google Docs, there’s a vast selection of other full-featured word processing applications available from the App Store and Google Play Store. While some of these other apps are entirely free, for some you’ll need to pay one up-front fee to purchase the app, and for others, there’s a monthly or annual subscription fee required.
Each full-featured word processing app offers a slightly different selection of features and functions, plus integrates with other mobile apps and cloud-based services in different ways.
Thus, it’s important to figure out what your word processing habits and needs are, and then choose a word processing mobile app that nicely addresses those needs and document combability requirements.
As an Apple iPhone or iPad user, visit the App Store, and within the Search field, use the search term “word processor” or “word processing” to discover your various other word processing options. Use these same search terms within the Search field of the Google Play Store if you’re an Android mobile device user.
Some of the search results will include apps like: OfficeSuite and PDF Editor. This is a collection of work-related tools built into one app that’s somewhat similar to Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365. It includes a proprietary word processor.
The benefit to using this application is that it seamlessly integrates with several popular cloud-based services and works with a variety of document file formats.
OfficeSuite and PDF Editor is a subscription-based app, so you’ll need to pay a monthly fee, starting at $2.99, to unlock all of the app’s features and functions.
An app called iA Writer is another popular, highly-rated, and full-featured word processing application for mobile devices. This app can be purchased outright for $29.99. There are no ongoing monthly fees associated with it.
One reason why many people enjoy using this iA Writer for word processing is because the user interface is simple and there’s little on-screen clutter while you’re creating or reading text-based documents.
Using a word processing mobile app on your smartphone or tablet gives you access to your word processed documents from your computer or that are stored in the cloud from anywhere, anytime, as long as your mobile device has Internet access.
It’s also possible to quickly and easily create documents from scratch while you’re on-the-go, or review documents you receive from other people. From your smartphone or tablet, you can receive document files from other people via email, text message, or using a compatible, cloud-based file sharing service, for example.
When you take advantage of the real-time document collaboration tools that are built into many of these word processors, you and someone else can be working on the same document, at the same time, but from different locations, yet both of you will see and be able to track each other’s edits as they’re made, so you’re both always working from the most current version of the document.
The word processing apps now available for your smartphone or tablet are more powerful than ever before, and they continue to evolve, giving you access to even more useful features and functions that allow you to be highly productive from wherever you happen to be, without needing to access to your desktop or notebook computer.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jason R Rich