One of the frustrating things about Android is its extremely weak support of office documents. ThinkFree Office Mobile is one of a growing number of apps that attempt to remedy that deficiency. With ThinkFree you can view, edit, and create Microsoft Office files; you can also view (but not edit) PDFs. In addition, ThinkFree provides 1GB of free cloud storage, which integrates with its Web-based office app for desktop browsers.
As a document viewer, ThinkFree performs very well, properly displaying almost all types of document formatting. If that’s all you need, the developer provides a free viewer without editing capabilities.
It’s a mixed bag as a document editor. When editing Word files, you can apply only basic formatting such as bold or italic. Hyperlinks are not an option. You can select, cut, and paste text, as well as alter the font size and color or change the text alignment. The app also has a voice-transcription feature; it didn’t work well for me, but your results might vary.
I was excited to find an option to insert pictures and even hand-drawn images into Word documents. Unfortunately, while these images display okay in the ThinkFree Android and Web apps, they didn’t show up at all when I opened the documents in my desktop word processor, OpenOffice Write. The images also failed to appear when I uploaded the files to Google Docs.
Oddly, the PowerPoint editing works much better. I was able to create a PowerPoint presentation with images and bullet points, and it worked fine in OpenOffice and Google Docs. This is one of the very few mobile apps that can make a PowerPoint file with images, so kudos to ThinkFree for that.
Excel-file support is a big disappointment. In my tests, several timesheet-type spreadsheets wouldn’t open. Spreadsheets with more-basic formatting will open; the features are pretty limited, though, and column sorting is not an option.
The cloud-storage and document-collaboration feature is nice. To upload or share a document, you must first register an account at ThinkFree Online. You can do this in the app or in a desktop browser; afterward, you log in through the app. Within the app, you’ll see an integrated file browser with tabs to toggle between views of your device’s SD Card and your ThinkFree Online storage.
To share a file on your SD Card, just tap and hold the file until the dialog box pops up, and then select Upload. Select or create a destination folder and click Choose, and the file uploads. Toggle to the Online tab, select and hold the file, and choose the Share option. Enter an e-mail address (you can import your e-mail contacts in the desktop Web browser version of ThinkFree) and a message, and then click Share. Now you and the recipient can collaborate on the same file. If you don’t want to collaborate, you can just send the file as an e-mail attachment (choose Send instead).
Although this app has some nice features, at the moment it feels a bit half-baked. I recommend trying the free viewer first, and then checking out the free desktop browser version of ThinkFree Online. If you like what you see, this app might be a good option for you. Personally, I still prefer Documents to Go and AlwaysOnPC.
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