For many academics, the ability to track changes and otherwise make comments on a shared document is an essential part of one’s work. Many people use this word processing tool to collaborate on writing projects, and probably at least as many use it to comment on or grade student writing. For these folks, the fact that no iPad-based word processor supported track changes dramatically limited the device’s utility.
No more: Office² HD, an app that, as its name suggests, lets you edit Office documents, now supports track changes. You can review others’ comments and edits, or make your own.
The mechanism for doing so is pretty straightforward, relying on the standard iOS pop-up that you get when you select text:
That invokes a straightforward popup:
And the result is the same color-coded layout of comments that everyone recognizes:
Of course it does more than just track changes. The app lets you create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, all in the most recent Microsoft formats. Best of all? Office² HD is only $7.99.
I do most of my writing these days in text editors of various sorts (nvALT and Byword), and then I use Pages if I need substantive formatting. I don’t think that Office² is likely to change that workflow. However, the ability to quickly comment on a draft, either for a colleague or for a student, is definitely worth the $8 investment.