CloudOn, a free app, released in January 2012, allows you to create, edit and view Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents on an iPad and an Android tablet.

There are a few apps around (DocumentsToGo, OfficeHD and QuickOffice spring to mind) that allow you to view, edit and create Office compatible documents on your iPad but the functionality of these apps is quite limited.

What makes Cloudon different to the other apps I mentioned is that it actually has the look and feel of Microsoft Office 2010. In fact, in the absence of an app from Microsoft themselves, if you use this app, except for one or two small differences, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are actually using Microsoft Office on your tablet.

Apart from the app, nothing else is stored on your device. Although the software appears to be running locally, it’s actually installed and run on a server. Any files that you create, edit or view are stored in The Cloud – CloudOn currently supports 3 Cloud-based storage services – Dropbox, Box and Google Drive (formerly Google Docs).

As well as enabling you to work with MS Office documents, CloudOn includes a PDF viewer and a graphics viewer that allows you to view a whole range of image formats including PSD, PNG and JPG (these must also be stored in Dropbox, Box or Google Drive).

There’s also an easy-to-use File Manager which can be used to rename, delete, move and copy files and to create new folders. You can drag and drop files between folders although, the ability to copy/move files between different storage services is not yet available. You can also use the File Manager to send a copy of the file to someone via email and to mail a link to the file.

Although there are some limitations, for example no easy way to print a document and no offline mode so you can’t even use the app unless you are connected to the Internet, 90% of the functionality of the desktop versions of the apps is available so for the average Microsoft Office user CloudOn is a great way to edit and view documents on the road.

In Excel for example, all the functions that you’ll find in the desktop version are available, you can create pivot tables, insert SmartArt and shapes, configure the page layout, apply conditional formatting and much much more. In Word, you can create a table of contents, insert page numbers and add comments and track changes – a great feature if you were reviewing a document whilst on the road.

At the moment CloudOn is only available in a few countries, but rest assured, they are expanding into other countries. The app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store and the Android Market Place.

On May 31st I delivered a free webinar on behalf of MacBites Learning on how to use CloudOn. The webinar was recorded and split into 5 short videos which are available from my YouTube channel. In addition, prior to the webinar, I created a short video – “an overview of CloudOn”. This is also available from my YouTube Channel.

Use the links below to view the videos:

Overview of CloudOn

CloudOn – Getting Started

CloudOn – File Management

CloudOn – Excel

CloudOn – Word

CloudOn – PowerPoint