5 Word Processing Apps for Your iPad

Write on the road without sacrificing important tools

The iPad has become a serious productivity device for students and professionals alike. While early word processing iOS apps lacked features and functionality, Apple's mobile ecosystem now supports several powerful, desktop-class word processors that will keep you effective and mobile.

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Apple iWork Pages

Apple iWork Pages on iPad
What We Like
  • Free app that integrates with iPad photos and other apps.

  • Templates for digital books, reports, letters, and more.

  • Smart annotation feature.

What We Don't Like
  • No global search and replace.

  • Limited compatibility with Microsoft Word.

  • Advanced features aren't obvious.

Apple's Pages, along with the Numbers spreadsheet app and Keynote presentation app, comprise a suite of versatile and powerful document editing and creation tools known as iWork.

The Pages app was designed to work with the best iPad features. Insert images into your documents and move them around by dragging them with your fingertip. Pages ​makes formatting simple with built-in templates and styles, as well as other common formatting tools.

Another benefit to using Pages is the ability to save your document in multiple formats, including as a Pages document, a Microsoft Word document, and as a PDF. Plus, you'll have access to iCloud, Apple's cloud storage service, where you can save documents and access them from other devices.

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Google Docs

Google Docs iOS app on an iPad
What We Like
  • Superior sharing and collaboration capabilities.

  • Saves documents automatically as you work.

What We Don't Like
  • Basic word-processing features only.

  • Missing some of the web version features.

Google Docs is the iOS-resident app related to the Google suite of web-based office productivity apps. Docs allows you to create, edit, share, and collaborate on documents stored in Google Drive, Google's cloud storage service. However, an internet connection isn't required to use the Google Docs app on your iPad or iPhone. Docs offers the basic word processing features you'd expect in a document editor.

A generous 15 GB of space is free with Google Drive. Keep in mind, however, that your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard, Gmail, and Google Photos files are all competing for your free storage allotment. If you're getting low on storage, you have the option to upgrade to bigger storage plans with a paid subscription. 

Docs doesn't connect with other cloud storage services, however.

Google Docs is easy to use and versatile, especially if you work and collaborate within the Google ecosystem of productivity apps (for example, Sheets and Slides).

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Microsoft Word

iPad Microsoft Word app
What We Like
  • Full integration with OneDrive.

  • Features include track changes, commenting, and flow text around images.

  • Easily handles Word for PC documents.

What We Don't Like
  • Some features require a Microsoft 365 subscription.

  • Time lag when simultaneously editing a document with others.

  • No voice-to-text capabilities.

Not to be left out of the move to mobile, Microsoft Word is available as an iPad app, alongside other Office apps, including Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive. OneDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage service, where you can store and access your documents online.

The Word app version offers core features and compatibility for document creation and editing. You don't get all of the functionality found in the desktop software, but Word for iPad offers many features and handles well. There's an option to subscribe to the Microsoft 365 service for a fee, which will unlock additional features for all Office mobile apps.

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iA Writer

iA Writer app for iPad
What We Like
  • Minimalist, distraction-free user interface.

  • Great app for all types of writing.

  • Saves individual files in iCloud.

What We Don't Like
  • No rich-text capability.

  • Priced higher than competitors.

  • Offers fewer features than competitors.

The iA Writer app is a visually clean text editor that offers simple word processing with a nice keyboard that gets out of your way and lets you simply write. The app's keyboard is well-reviewed and includes an extra row of special characters. iA Writer supports the iCloud storage service and can sync between your Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

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Docs To Go

Docs To Go iPad app
What We Like
  • View, edit, and create Word documents.

  • View PDFs, iWork, and RTF files.

  • Robust text formatting capabilities.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version includes ads.

  • Occasional syncing problems.

  • No option to print PDFs or documents.

Docs To Go is an app that gives you access to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files, as well as the ability to create new files from scratch. This app also supports iWork files.

Docs To Go offers extensive formatting options and features, including bulleted lists, styles, undo and redo, find and replace, and word count. This app also uses InTact Technology to retain existing formatting.

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