How to create and edit Office documents on Android 4.4 KitKat

Android 4.4 KitKat users can create and edit Microsoft Office files without even having to open the Play Store.

Google scooped up Quickoffice back in June 2012, then made the iOS and Android document editor free in September of this year.

Now the app has been bundled with KitKat , giving Android 4.4 users the ability to create and edit Microsoft Office files without even having to open up the Play Store. Google Drive is still present and correct, of course, and 4.4 users will also notice a new file upload/open system that makes it easier to get at files stored in the cloud.

Creating and opening files

Launch Quickoffice from the apps page and you'll see a list of your recent files together with options for opening and creating new ones.

The same open and create options are available from the toolbar at the top. Opt to open a file and you can pick from recent documents, your Google Drive account and your device's Downloads folder. Other options may appear in the list depending on the other apps you have installed, and here's a bonus tip -- open up the file picker settings from the menu, enable the "Display advanced devices" option and you can browse your device's internal storage.

 

Choose to create a new Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint file and you'll be met with a blank canvas to work with. Tap and type anywhere to begin making edits. Unlike Google Drive, changes aren't saved immediately, and you'll need to tap on the chunky floppy disk icon (still going strong in 2013) to save your updated file.

Making changes

The Word, Excel and PowerPoint sections of Quickoffice each have their own separate ways of working, but there are some common features. Tap anywhere in a document, spreadsheet or presentation box to make changes. On the toolbar at the top of the screen are options for formatting your text, undoing changes and inserting new elements (like a chart or link).

 

As word processing is the simplest task to do on a small screen, it's worth learning the ropes here. Press and hold or double-tap to select. Use the large "A" icon to bring up text formatting controls, and the plus icon to drop in images and tables. From the app menu you can switch between reading and page view, and you'll need to be in page view to resize pictures and tables.

 

Spreadsheets have the same formatting and insert icons available. Tap a cell to bring up its handles -- use the blue ones to expand the selection and the green one to fill a series of cells with the same value. Functions can be built using the fx button just below the toolbar, and it's also possible to drop in charts and freeze particular blocks of cells. The app menu enables you to insert rows and columns where required.

 

Finally, the presentation section of Quickoffice. Tap the plus icon on the slide thumbnail previews (at the bottom in portrait view, on the left in landscape view) to create a new slide, and you can choose from a set of sample layouts. The editing options are fairly limited, but you can drop in text boxes, pictures and shapes, resize and rotate elements, and change the text formatting as before. The play button on the toolbar lets you show off your presentation.

Saving and syncing

As we've mentioned already, files aren't automatically saved as they are in Google Drive. Try and get out of a document, spreadsheet or presentation with unsaved edits and Quickoffice will ask you if you want to keep or discard your alterations. Google Drive is used for storage by default, though the same alternatives appear as when you're opening files, including your device's internal storage if you've activated the feature.

 

Google Drive can accept and convert Microsoft Office files into its own native formats, of course, so this is another option for editing files on the move (Google Drive presentations can only be viewed and not edited on Android for the time being). Open an unconverted Office file from Google Drive on Android, however, and Quickoffice takes over editing responsibilities. Remember, Quickoffice is freely available on Google Play, though only KitKat users get it included with Android.

 

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