May 24, 2010, 4:38 PM — Unlike the iPhone and iPod touch, the iPad was designed with the needs of typists in mind. The screen size, the large virtual keyboard in landscape orientation, and the support for external keyboards make the iPad a natural choice for word processing on the go. For many people, that means reading, editing, and saving Microsoft Word documents. Even though there’s no iPad version of Word, you can work with Word documents on your iPad if you’re willing to accept a few compromises.
Read Word documents
Just need read Word documents? All you have to do is get the documents onto your iPad. The iPhone OS (which the iPad uses) can display them natively. For example, you can e-mail documents to yourself as attachments, or use an app designed for transferring and viewing documents, such as Avatron Software’s $10 Air Sharing HD, Good.iWare’s $1 GoodReader ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice ), or Readdle’s $5 ReaddleDocs for iPad.
Editing Word documents is a bit trickier. There are currently two good options, but both come with a qualification: they support only a subset of Word’s features. So, no matter which method you use to import Word documents, some elements of your document (especially formatting details) may be lost in translation.
Edit documents with Pages
Apple’s $10 Pages for the iPad ( Macworld rated 3 out of 5 mice ) can import documents in Word format and offers most of Word’s major features. For example, you’ll find paragraph styles, lists, columns, tables, charts, shapes, imported graphics, named paragraph styles, headers, and footers. However, Pages for the iPad doesn’t support footnotes or endnotes, hyperlinks, tracked changes, or comments, so any of those items present in a Word document will be removed when you import it, and some other elements (such as fonts, grouped objects, and multi-page tables) will be altered as necessary.