Office² HD 4.0 adds PowerPoint support, mostly

Office² HD version 4.0 released today with added support for PowerPoint presentations, but there's one major limitation.

Office², the app that lets you view and edit Microsoft Office Documents, has just today announced support for PowerPoint Presentations with version 4.0, making it a good way to take your Microsoft work with you on your iPad, but it has one major limitation.

It's no secret that when Apple's first iPad hit stores, working people wondered if they could get rid of their laptops and use the touch screen for business and productivity purposes. Apple offered up solid, but abbreviated versions of their own iWork suite (with some Microsoft compatibility), but many users' companies relied on Microsoft Office, and wanted the same controls from the core Office apps (such as Word and Excel) and the same user experience of Microsoft's Office suite on the iPad.

We were able to open and edit Word documents with ease and the proper formatting carried over perfectly. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Byte² seemed to be on the right track, having developed Office² last April for iOS, which let you view and edit Microsoft Office documents including Word docs and Excel spreadsheets. Office² 4.0, released today, adds PowerPoint presentations to that list, adding another integral business medium for users so they can view, edit, and preview their presentations on the iPad. The only problem is, it doesn't work for the latest version of PowerPoint, meaning that you'll be able to edit the older .PPT files, but you'll only be able to view the latest PPTX files. Byte² says that it will be rolling out PPTX file support in the near future, but this may be the issue that prevents people from buying this app. It's also worth noting that Apple's Keynote already lets you view and edit PPTX files, but you'll need to pay $9.99 just for Keynote alone; Word and Excel documents would require you buy Pages ($9.99) and Numbers ($9.99) to open the other file types.

We had to use an older PowerPoint presentation for this screenshot, but it worked fairly well (say hello to the old CNET logo). (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Office² also lets you connect to any of several cloud-based services to upload and transfer your documents. Services like MobileMe, DropBox, Google Docs, MyDisk, and others are all supported, making it easy to connect to the service you use most.

Along with cloud storage support, Office² supports legacy Office files--both Office 2010 and Office 2003 Excel and Word documents can be viewed and edited on your iPad. Adobe Reader support means you also can read or create Adobe PDF files wherever you are.

Overall, Office² looks like it's on the right track for letting you view and edit Microsoft Office documents on the iPad, with some basic tools to edit docs while on the go. But until Office² offers all the latest file types, some users may want to wait for future versions.

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.