Documents To Go started life
as a converter/reader for MS Office documents and spreadsheets.
Successive versions had rudimentary editing capability, but
often key formatting fell through the cracks during HotSync.
These editing capabilities have grown steadily to the point
of full-featured document creation on the handheld. DataViz
also addressed the loss of un support ed formatting during
HotSync in a most impressive manner. The Premium edition support
s MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as pdf file conversion
after a fashion.
DTG nicely unifies document access on one
screen. As you can see from the illustration, formats support
ed include proprietary Word To Go, Sheet To Go, and Slideshow
To Go formats, as well as native MS Word and Excel formats.
Tapping on the HotSync icon tells DTG whether or not to sync
that document, and the card icon signifies those files under
VFS. Converted pdf files are converted to WTG format on the
desktop, although all graphics are stripped during the conversion.
Yes, DTG supports native MS Office formats
for Word and Excel on the card, but…there's more to
the story. In order to use these files, they must be converted
to Palm database format before being placed in RAM for access
and/or editing. So really DTG (and Quick Office) just shifts
the conversion from the PC to the handheld. The effect isn't
bad on a 400 MHz Palm T3 (unless the document contains pictures),
but I suspect will not be impressive on slower devices. Whenever
you hear claims of native file support , remember that Palm
OS only support s Palm database formats in RAM. The real
strength of supporting native file formats comes in receiving/sending
email attachments and transferring to/from other users via
Word To Go support s high-fidelity conversions
of MS Word documents, including pictures, tables, bookmarks,
and text/paragraph formatting. I converted a number of complex
documents with excellent results. Tapping on graphics brings
them up in a full screen view—very nice touch. Tapping
on tables brings up a table editing screen. Lack of footnote
support constitutes one important omission, however. Upon
conversion, no footnotes survive. Editing tools include the
basics—font, paragraph, and lists all support ed with
similar settings to MS Word. DTG includes a font file providing
a number of common Windows fonts for its apps, including
WingDings. As best I can tell, fonts cannot be added to those
Document creation and editing proved far
less capable than importing an existing tome. Although tables
can be created in WTG, manipulations of them are rudimentary
at best. Table width, for example, defaults to margin width
and cannot be altered in WTG. Pictures cannot be inserted
using WTG on the handheld. WTG does include spell checking
capability and will perform a word count. For ordinary documents
or those with pictures already inserted on the desktop, WTG
will get the job done nicely on your handheld.
Like its WTG sibling, Sheets To Go does
an excellent job of importing spreadsheets from the desktop.
Embedded charts make the transition. It support s a host
of Excel functions—about 100. STG breaks these functions
into categories for ease of selection, and provides hints
for the arguments—a very nice touch. I imported several
spreadsheets without incident or compromise, and created
one for typical use. STG support s bookmarks and basic cell,
number, and sheet formatting as well as sequential sorts
like MS Excel. It even warns you that cells right/left of
selected columns will not be sorted, an oversight that occasionally
trips even experienced users in a hurry. Tapping and holding
on a cell brings up a small list of formatting choices—another
very nice touch. On the downside, access to other advanced
features occurs through the menus rather than icons on the
interface. Also, the user cannot change the font size in
STG, although you can zoom the entire display as a whole.
The illustration used the medium zoom.
STG includes a charting module. Charts
from the desktop transfer nicely, but creation on the handheld
proved less than smooth. Although the steps were straight
forward, the actual plot took 15-20 seconds to create on
a 400 MHz T3. Although STG support s 14 chart types, getting
the result you want from complex data will prove somewhat
frustrating. STG wasn't alone in this regard. Without a pointer
device like a mouse to select multiple, non-adjacent rows/columns
for graphing, the task becomes quite difficult.
Multiple sheets in a workbook and charts
can be accessed through a pull-down list in the upper right
corner of the screen.
DTG furnishes elegant support for MS PowerPoint
presentations. Conversion was fast and the results very accurate,
including transitions. Graphics, text, and formatting all
survived the conversion, as did the slide notes. Although
Slideshow To Go support s Margi Presenter, I did not test
this capability. The display can be zoomed to see graphics
details, although the conversion eats some details as would
Nice touches include a timing function
in the slideshow feature, aiding presentation pacing and
practice. Although presentations can be created in Slideshow
To Go, formatting options available proved rudimentary.
DTG includes capability to sync with Outlook
mail, including attachments, through its Inbox To Go. Attachments
can also be added inside ITG on the handheld for sending
later. Native Word and Excel file support come in especially
handy here. DataViz includes PicturesToGo to view graphic
attachments in email. My Outlook inbox would choke even my
T3, so I did not test this feature.
DTG also includes PDF To Go which “converts” Adobe
pdf files to WTG format for viewing on your handheld. I put
converts in quotes here because DTG strips all graphics and
tables from the pdf file during conversion. What the conversion
really does is strip all non-text from the pdf file. While
this does provide the user access to the text in a file,
I wouldn't call it a conversion in the same sense that Adobe's
own Palm converter attacks the problem.
All DTG apps support passwording for data
security. Those that parallel MS Office apps add a dedicated
menu to the host programs for easy access. Although these
menus worked fine in Excel and PowerPoint, you may have trouble
getting it to display in Word 2002 without the latest Microsoft
security patches. This problem with Word was not limited
to DTG, but was common to all apps reviewed.
DataViz learned a great deal from its early
experiences at document conversion. Early versions of virtually
every office program lost (read deleted) formatting features
they didn't support. DataViz created DocSync to resolve this
issue. It preserves formatting and items in original files
that DTG does not support . Users will welcome relief from
maintaining two sets of documents with manual transfers between
The desktop utility resembles the Palm
Quick Install program on steroids. Just drag and drop support
ed files on the conversion utility and DTG does the rest.
A window to the right provides settings and information on
the selected file, giving the user complete control over
the HotSync process. This utility sets the standard for desktop-side
DataViz markets several levels of Documents
To Go . The Standard Edition sells for $29.95 and just has
the word processor with word count and the spreadsheet. The
Pro Edition that comes with many handhelds now adds PowerPoint
support for Windows OS only. The $49.95 Premium Edition adds
spell checking, file password protection, PDF, picture, charting,
and email support . At the top sits the $69.95 Office Edition,
which adds full Outlook synchronization support for tasks,
calendar, notes, and contacts.
Although I wrote part of this review in
Mobile Word, I wrote the bulk of it in Word To Go. Once I
inserted the pictures and hyperlinks on the desktop, the
rest was easy on the T3. Using the converted Word To Go format
proved considerably faster than using a native MS Word file.
DataViz provides the best package that
connects your Palm OS device to all of the standard MS Office
desktop applications. If you're looking for a one-stop shop,
Documents To Go furnishes your solution. But…you'll
have to live with some editing limitations on the handheld.
As a final note, you'll need a recent patch from DataViz
if you use Palm's updated security app released just after
the T3 hit the market. You can only get it at this writing
by emailing DataViz .
Covers the entire MS Office desktop suite
Excellent conversion of MS Office documents
Excellent unified access to documents
First-rate spreadsheet capability on the Palm
Great HotSync flexibility and desktop support
Native Word and Excel support
Except for the spreadsheet, handheld editing is limited such that you
cannot duplicate on the handheld documents that you can import
Huge footprint (around 3MB) on your PDA
No footnote/endnote support