Editing on a Tablet, Part 2: Quip
The mobile convenience and simplicity of an iPad or other tablet is tempting, but limitations in software, specifically word-processing apps, are still a concern for editors. As noted in a previous Tech Tip, the new Microsoft Office Mobile for iPhone is, disappointingly, not iPad friendly and comes with other limitations. In this series, we’re looking at a few other options for editing on a tablet. In the first post, we considered CloudOn, another cloud-based, Office-accessing app. Here, we examine an entirely new approach.
Option 2: Embracing a New Word-Processing Ecosystem with Quip
Quip is described as a “modern word processor.” Rather than an interface that allows you to access a limited, cloud-hosted version of Microsoft Office or another word processor, Quip is designed for native creation, editing, and collaboration on your mobile devices (or desktop via a browser).
The look and feel of Quip is intuitive and uncluttered, but not quite minimalist. The document being viewed is always the most recent, clean version. Documents are kept synced and updated, with changes and comments tracked in a conversation panel to the left of the open document (see above). Tracked edits, called “Diffs,” show up as snippets in this conversation panel and use a familiar format of underlining, highlighting, and strikethrough. Documents edited when a user is offline are updated when an online connection is available (similar to DropBox, if multiple people make offline edits to a document, conflicts are noted when the document is updated). Shared folders, the conversation panel, and push notifications keep colleagues in the loop on the latest developments and eliminate the need to email versions of the document back and forth. Quip launched less than a month ago and only has a preview release of the Android version available. It is free for up to five team members and $12/month per user for 6-250 member teams.
Compared to CloudOn’s Word access, Quip’s word-processing features are very minimal, particularly in the realm of formatting. More formatting options will be added in the future, however, and the developers are open to receiving feature requests. The closed system is likely a greater obstacle that the formatting limitations. For now, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get Quip documents out of Quip. A Quip document cannot be converted to a Word doc. And can only be printed or saved as a PDF from the browser-based Quip, not directly from the app, which seems an odd oversight in an otherwise smooth in-app interface.
Verdict: Very responsive and easy on the eyes, excellent potential for an open-minded, mobile-savvy team with more emphasis on collaboration than traditional structures of document editing and review.
Tune in to next week’s Tip Tech for a look at another option for editing on a tablet.