Monday, May 19, 2008

Windows Mobile Journal: Word Mobile 6.1

I just discovered a really annoying trait of Word Mobile 6.1: You can't save documents in the Microsoft Office 2003/XP (2002) file format. Huh?! The screen shot below is from the File > Save As... screen.














As you can clearly see, Microsoft has eliminated the ability to save files in the previous two versions of Microsoft Office. This is the kind of stuff that really annoys me about using Microsoft's software. Is is really that hard to include another file format in Word Mobile that will allow it to work with Word 2000 and later? This is clearly a tactic to get people to upgrade their copy of Microsoft Office on their desktop computers.

At home I use Office 2003 and at work we have Office XP (2002) deployed. There are no differences in the file formats. There is for Office 2007. Microsoft will claim that they do have support for the older versions of Word by providing the ability to save files in the Rich Text Format and Plain Text format. But we all know that is only a partial solution as not all of Word's formating is saved in a .RTF file and virtually no formatting is saved in a .TXT file.

So what is the answer? If you need to use the latest and greatest Microsoft software, you probably have already upgraded to Windows Vista and Office 2007, or Office 2008 for Mac OS X. For what I do, I have no desire to shell out $250 for an Office upgrade, of which I only use Word, and occasionally use Excel and Outlook on my personal computer. The better solution for me would be to find a Windows Mobile 6.0 application that still supports the Office 2003/XP file formats. Once again, I will turn to my old mobile productivity software standby: DataViz Documents To Go.

Documents To Go is the defacto Office suite on the Palm OS platform, and DataViz has been aggressively working to make sure that their outstanding software is available for all of the popular mobile computing platforms, including Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition. Documents To Go is also coming to RIM's BlackBerry platform. (Which should make BlackBerry users very happy. The current BlackBerry Office suite software is expensive and hard to use when I last tested it out about a year ago.)

Now Documents To Go for Windows Mobile Smartphone is designed only for non-touch screen devices. That means devices like my Treo 750, which run Windows Mobile Professional, aren't technically supported. We'll just see about that. A $30 upgrade gets the software installed on my device.

For more information about DataViz Documents To Go for Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition, visit the DataViz website.
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