Read PC and Mac Documents





Read PC and Mac Documents

Sure, the screen's small and you might have to scroll and squint a bit, but if you've got to read documents while you're on the go, something's better than nothing!

Working with office documents while on the run might seem tedious at first. Most mobile phones have keypads that don't exactly lend themselves well to text input, but I've often found myself wanting to read them, especially when I receive attachments via email. With the help of some affordable software, you can view, and in some cases even edit, documents that start out life on a PC or Mac.

Configuring connections to a SyncML server from a Series 60 mobile phone


I have been using Quickword Viewer ($14.95 from http://www.quickoffice.com/) to view documents while they are sitting in the Inbox on my Nokia 6600, waiting to end up on my computer when I get back home or into the office. Quickword also can read Palm DOC eBooks. Quickword is fast, and can run at full screen to show the most that any document viewer really can show on a Series 60 device. Quickpoint Viewer ($14.95) is also available, and will let you view PowerPoint documents on your phone.

You can take things a step further with Quickoffice Premier ($49.95), which can read and write Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files. However, it requires a newer Series 60 device. If you are using an older device, such as the Nokia 3650, you'll be limited to Quickword and Quickpoint. Figure shows a Word document in Quickoffice Premier.

Opening a Word document in Quickword


RepliGo (http://www.cerience.com/) is another option. It syncs your documents back and forth, similar to the Documents to Go application available to Palm OS users. RepliGo requires a PC to perform conversions, leaving Mac users totally in the cold. (Though like many Mac users, I'm used to getting kicked in the stomach by software developers now and then, so this doesn't really bother me much.) The RepliGo viewers are available for free, which is good news for folks who spend money on the converters, since it makes it possible for anyone with a supported device to view the converted office documents.

Like RepliGo, the Mobipocket Office Companion (http://www.mobipocket.com/) converts your office documents to a format that you can view on your phone. The reader is free, but you'll need to buy the converter ($19.95; $29.95 adds Access, FrontPage, and Visio support).

PDF Documents

The PDF format is a great way to share documents on a variety of devices. Adobe Reader (http://www.adobe.com/) exists for desktop computers and Palm OS devices. You can view PDF files on a Series 60 device by using Pdf+ from mBrain (http://www.mbrainsoftware.com/Pdf/Pdf.htm).

Installation is a snap, of course, and you can open PDF documents right from the Inbox of your handset's Messaging program. You can also store a PDF document on the MMC or Memory Stick and open it up for viewing.

Nokia 6680 users can get Acrobat Reader directly from Adobe. Visit Adobe's site at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readerforsymbian.html to learn more.


Pdf+ costs $25 from Handango (http://www.handango.com/) and is a great way to view PDF documents on your mobile phone. I have experienced a couple of instances in which Pdf+ certainly earned its keep.

MapQuest (http://www.mapquest.com/) has "printable" directions that print easily to PDF files from Mac OS X (or via other means on Windows PCs), and scale well in most circumstances to the display on a Nokia 6600. I get the directions, save them as a PDF, and send them to my mobile phone using Bluetooth, and I'm out the door with directions to my destination. Figure shows how the directions from Providence, R.I., to Hell, Mich., look in Pdf+, and Figure shows how they look with text wrapping enabled (12 hours… that's a pretty short trip).

Viewing directions from Providence, Rhode Island to Hell, Michigan


Text wrapping enabled in Pdf+


Documentation for your mobile phone might be available in PDF format, and what's better to read than the manual while you're waiting for your stop on the subway or bus? You might learn something cool about your phone while you're at it. You can also save various eBooks to the PDF format however you desire, and stash a copy on your MMC card for reading later.

PDF is not the only format for electronic books. Some older books are available in plain-text format. Or, you can save your Word documents to plain text as well. To view long text files on a mobile phone, try the open source Mobile Bookshelf at http://bookshelf.sourceforge.net. It parses the long text into multiple pages for easy viewing, and it supports the full-screen reading mode. Mobile Bookshelf is a Java program that runs on both Series 40 and Series 60 phones.


Hacking the Hack

Instead of running helper applications on your Nokia, wouldn't it be great if your email and web applications had native support for the documents you want to view? Reqwireless's EmailViewer [Hack #60] and WebViewer [Hack #50] do just that. Actually, it's not that these applications know how to display PDFs and Word documents. Instead, the Reqwireless proxy service ($5.99 quarterly, or a $19.99 one-time fee) translates the documents on the fly, displaying documents right in your web browser. Figure shows a portion of one of the Word documents from the first draft of the book you're reading right now.

Reading a Word document in WebViewer


WebViewer and EmailViewer can look inside zip files, and will display Microsoft Word and Excel, Corel WordPerfect, and PDF documents. Not only that, both programs will run on practically any Java-powered phone, so it's a perfect choice for both Series 40 and Series 60 users.

Emory Lundberg


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