Recent Files
Kingsoft Office – Recent Files

I don’t remember when I first tried this app but I do remember thinking “This is free?! “. I believe at the time I was looking for an app that could view pdf and Microsoft office documents. I had Adobe Reader installed but I couldn’t read document files. My first port of call was Polaris Office. I had heard about it from friends who had it pre-installed by the manufacturer on their phone. The free app didn’t quite do it for me. There are others apps as well but you have to pay to get the advanced features. With Kingsoft you get all the features for free, unlocked and unlimited. It even has cloud connectivity.

What does the App claim it can do?

The app claims “THE BEST CHOICE FOR YOUR MOBILE OFFICE“. It claims that it can do spreadsheets, slide shows, word processing and PDF viewing. It claims that it can support 23 different file formats and that all it’s features are free. It claims that it’s the only office Android App that provides everything, unlimited and unlocked. It claims connectivity to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box.Net and others. Apparently the app also supports a hardware (Bluetooth) keyboard. There’s a lot of other things it claims too. It claims other things like:
  • Email integration
  • A built-in file manager
  • The Word Processor can save to PDF, has a print feature, spell check, paint and can insert and edit pictures
  • The Spreadsheet can insert charts, have complex formatting and it too can print to PDF or PS.
  • The Presentation software can share via WiFi, can insert shapes, charts and tables.
  • The PDF viewer can add bookmarks and comments.

The App really claims a fair bit.

Does the App REALLY do what it claims to do?

Well the simple answer to that is yes. In fact once you start using Kingsoft Office you find out it’s actually a bit better than you think it would be for an App that resides on a phone. As mentioned before I was immediately impressed by the ease of use and the features. One thing to remember though, is that it’s not MS Word. I wouldn’t really expect it to be. The install file is 16M and it is something that you carry around on a mobile device so there’s some things it can’t do. It won’t run macros for example but you’ll be surprised by what it do.

Word Processing in Kingsoft
Word Processing in Kingsoft

My wife was working in the child care industry recently and needed a way to work smarter because the center manager was telling her to work harder. One of the things she needed to do was to take photographs of the children and write-up a bit of a story for observations. Her process was to take photos using her phone, copy them to her laptop and make a word document on it. I thought about this for a bit. I dreamed up a solution where she started an office program, and started her document on her phone, on the fly. Initially I couldn’t believe that Kingsoft Office could do it so I started looking at other applications. I eventually gave that search up because I’d have to pay for the pleasure. I went back to Kingsoft and “gave it a go”. Lo and behold I could start the writer, insert a photo from the camera. The process of copying the document to her laptop was easy because of the Dropbox integration. The gem about inserting from the camera is not found in the list of things it claims it can do. Nowhere in its blurb does it say that you can insert from the camera and it’s not a standard feature in other office apps.

Spreadsheet with Kingsoft
Spreadsheet with Kingsoft

Working with spreadsheets on a touch pad is definitely different from using a keyboard and mouse. Each app I’ve used do it a little differently than each other too which can be a little confusing. But ultimately I believe that Kingsoft have it right. The cell editing is as simple as double clicking. It pops up a little options box that allows you to edit it. There’s a ribbon along the top that you can scroll left and right for things like formatting, cell operations, data functions like Filters, Sorting and Re-calculation. Up the very top is your sheet tabs, click on it once to bring up the available sheets, click on it again to exit. I like the interface better than Google Drive since it’s so much more intuitive.

Reading IEC61508-3 in PDF Viewer
Reading IEC61508-3 in PDF Viewer

The PDF viewer is simple, there’s not a lot to it but it does allow for bookmarks and it will let you view your PDF’s full screen. I have had some troubles with large files that are over 150 pages long (standards etc) but overall it’s pretty good.

I really haven’t tried to create a presentation, it’s probably the only part of the program I don’t really use at all so if you start using the app let me know what you think about it.

What do I like most about the App?

Everything. I simply like everything it does. After I started using it for viewing PDF documents I removed Adobe Acrobat Reader, there was simply no point. I really don’t know how the company makes its money but seriously I can’t imagine it can get much better. If you push me to pick one thing it would be the amount of features it has. For an office app on a mobile device it’s really a full package.

What’s not to like about it?

Well, it won’t run really well on cheap Android phones. Don’t get me wrong it’ll run but doing lots of stuff with photos just taxes your phone. My wife had a Samsung Fit to start with. We simply had to shop for a faster one for her purposes but for a viewer it was really good.

What are the little niggles (What would make it perfect)?

I’m not really fussed about the user interface. It’s not a polished high graphical interface that you get on some of the modern programs. The icons are… functional. It’s not really a pretty app, but I can definitely forgive it this one small indiscretion.

It also won’t open up any Libre Office (OpenOffice) files, I mean c’mon, the format is an open, international standard, get with the program guys.

Why did I decide to keep/remove it?

Because it’s simply awesome.

Would my wife use it?