Document Writer (US$ 5.99, universal) claims to be the “best document and editing management suite for iOS.” Based on the extended feature set, I’d have to admit that’s true. The app can create rich text documents and spreadsheets, and also includes a document scanner, a voice recorder, a PDF converter, a drawing pad and support for Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive. You can also import and export through iTunes, and email files.
The reality is somewhat less grand. I found many bugs in this update, including some that made things quite difficult. For example, I created a new document and saw a blank page. I started typing, but my text was hidden behind a tool bar at the top of the page. I had to hit the Return key several times to see what I was doing. I tried a voice memo, but the start/stop controls are hidden behind the timer.
While you can work on documents without an internet connection, templates need a data connection to be displayed. I tested this by putting my iPad into airplane mode, which made the templates unavailable.
Another feature lets you take a photo with your device and insert it into text. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to edit the photo or reduce its size, so it overwhelmed my document.
Printing did not work to either of my AirPrint-ready printers, but I checked some other apps on my iPad and they all printed fine.
On the other hand, there is a lot of power in this app. You can sketch, add a signature to a PDF, change text colors and alignment and create bulleted text and numbered lists. You can also view Microsoft Office documents, iWork documents and text files. I had trouble with some of these functions. I uploaded a pages document to Dropbox, and the title did show up in Document Writer as expected for viewing, but I could not edit the document, which the app is supposed to support.
And so it went. Some things worked; others did not. If the app could make good on all the listed features, it would be a world-class solution. As it is, it’s a bit hit or miss, and some of the important features simply don’t work.
The app really only lets you save in HTML format, not in native Office format. That will please some, but won’t be enough for others. Pages from Apple allows you to share documents in Word and PDF formats. Pages won’t import RTF documents however, which works fine in Document Writer.
I think many people will really want the utility and power that Document Writer provides, but it’s buggy so I’d wait unless you can live with some significant shortcomings.
Document Writer requires iOS 4.3 or greater and is optimized for the iPhone 5.