Wow! This free iPad productivity app will make you forget Office exists

Forget waiting for Microsoft Office. This great iPad productivity app is here now --- and free.

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Microsoft may fiddle and diddle while it works to bring Office to the iPad, but with HopTo you won't mind waiting. This great productivity app does some things Office has yet to dream about.

What's great about HopTo is that unlike Office, it's been built from the ground up to work with multiple cloud-based storage services, including Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox. Not only that, but you can also access files you've got on a PC. (Oddly enough, though, it can't connect to your Mac or work with iCloud for the moment, although that is supposed to be fixed at some point.)

One very nice thing about HopTo is that it works seamlessly with your files no matter where they're stored. So you won't need to remember, for example, that you've stored next year's budget on Box, and your Thanksgiving recipes on Google Drive. Just do a search, and HopTo searches all of your storage, and pops up search results. Tap any to open. (Again, though, HopTo isn't perfect here because it can only search for document titles on Box and DropBox. On Google Drive and your Windows PC, it searches through text as well.)

The interface is clean, simple, and elegant. The program has some nice extras, such as being able to do a Google search for images, and then embed them directly in a document. You can also easily add photos from the iPad camera roll. And because HopTo puts each document in its own tab, you can easily switch among multiple documents.

That's not to say that all is perfect. It can only view PowerPoint files, not create or edit them. Also, for now you can only work with files if you're connected to the Internet.

Still, those aren't deal-killers, especially because HopTo is free. And by the time Office comes to the iPad, HopTo will likely have many kinks worked out.

By the way, HopTo isn't the only free alternative to Office for the iPad. For others, as well as those that work with Android, PCs, and Macs, check out Who needs Microsoft Office? 7 great free office suites for PCs, Macs, iOS and Android.

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