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Ed Hardy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Quickword is based on SmartDoc, a Palm DOC reader that Cutting Edge has been selling for a long time. In fact, Quickword essentially is SmartDoc with a conduit added to sync with Microsoft Word documents.
Unfortunately, Quickword has the same limitations as all other DOC readers when it come to formatting; there is no way to make words bold, italics, underlined, or anything else. Cutting Edge is working on this but they are running into one simple problem: the DOC format itself has no way to do text formatting. In order to add this, future versions of Quickword will have to come up with a new document format, though I am sure they will continue to be backwards compatible. They'd be fools to cut their users off from the thousands and thousands of books already available in Palm DOC format.
This is where Quickword's big limitation becomes blindingly clear. If you have formatting in the Word document and sync it with your Palm, that formatting will be removed. When you for set a document to be synchronized, Quickword asks if you want to create a copy just for its use. If the document has formatting you don't want to lose, you need to hit "yes".
Quickword only synchronizes the actual text of the document and up to 25 bookmarks. Objects, pictures, tables, database links, inter-document links, and ActiveX links are not transferred.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As I said, the developers are already hard at work on the next version and they are promising "basic" formatting capabilities. They also promised that the next version will be a free upgrade to all registered users of the current one.
There is no Macintosh version of the conduit.
The Palm App
The main window you see when you start the app is a listing of all the DOCs on your Palm. To the right is the size of the file and to the left is a small icon called an "Action Icon". Clicking on this will let you perform quite a few actions on the file without having to open it, like beam it, or compress it, or even print it if you have PalmPrint. It also shows which file was the last one to be opened. Like just about all Palm apps that deal with multiple files, Quickword lets you organize your files into categories. In the upper right corner is a drop-down box showing what category of DOC files is being listed. To open a file, you can either tap on its name or tap the New button at the bottom of the page.
Once you have a file open, you will see a small pencil next to the document name at the top of the screen. Tap to toggle whether the document is editable. If the pencil has a line through it, the document currently is non-editable. You may want to keep the document non-editable if it is just for reading.
In the middle of the screen is the contents of the file. This is where you read or add text. Along the bottom of this screen you will see four buttons. The Done button saves and closes the file. The Details button opens a pop-up screen where you can name the file, see how many characters and words it has, mark it as private, mark whether to backup the file when HotSyncing, mark whether to include this file when doing Global Finds, and delete it. The third button is for doing find and replace. The final button has a small arrow on it that will auto scroll through the document for hands-free reading. In the lower right corner is a small triangle that, when tapped on, lets you add and edit bookmarks that let you save your place in a long document.
You can also set preferences for the entire application. When a file is marked non-editable, tapping on the top or bottom of the screen will move you forward or backward in the file. The Preferences screen lets you control exactly how this works. You can change whether a tap moves you only one line or a whole page and much more. You can also set how big to make the font for all your documents here. You can't set this for each document; all of them have to be the same. You can set all your text to left or right aligned and whether to under line your text like Memo Pad does. At the bottom of this page you can see where you set whether new documents that you create are compressed, whether to scan for bookmarks whenever you open a document, and whether to allow Global Finds to all your documents.
The Palm app is well designed and easy to use. I've used some DOC editors that put about a dozen small icons on the text viewing screen that really clutter up the interface. I'm sure there are some people who love this but I'm not one of them. Give me a simple interface every time.
Quickword is a decent DOC editor and probably worth the $20 it costs, if just for the conduit. As a comparison, PalmDocs is a piece of shareware that converts Word documents to Palm DOC format and puts them on your Palm, but it also costs $20 and doesn't come with an editor. But I'm really looking forward to the next version of Quickword and its text formatting capabilities. I haven't a clue whether Cutting Edge will raise the price for the next version, but if you go ahead and buy Quickword now, you'll be guaranteed to get that next version for a mere $20.
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