Samsung Galaxy S7 For Dummies (2016)
Part V. Productivity Applications
Chapter 14. On the Road Again: Taking Your Work with You on Your Phone
IN THIS CHAPTER
Using Mobile Office applications
Navigating the Office applications in the cloud
Sharing files using your phone
When you pick up your Galaxy S7 phone, you’re holding as much computing power as was available in a high-end desktop from a few years ago — and a graphics processor that would have made a hard-core gamer envious. So it’s not far-fetched to want to do some work with your Microsoft Office applications, which are relatively modest users of computing power, on your Galaxy S7 while you’re away from your desk. Sure. Why not?
Several mobile apps work on Android phones, including Google Docs/Sheets/Slides, WPS Office, ThinkFree Mobile, and Polaris Office + PDF from Infraware. All of these let you be productive on the road without having to pull out your laptop. Depending on what you want to do, you may even be able to leave your heavy laptop at home.
In this chapter, I start with an introduction on the basics, explore the tools on your phone, and explain how you can use them to your best advantage. Then I walk you through the Polaris Office app to show you some of its capabilities. Finally, I fill you in on file sharing so that you can get files on and off your phone and out into the world.
Preparing for Using Office Apps
The Galaxy S7 phone actually doesn’t allow you to leave your computer behind for good, for a few reasons. The most basic is that the sizes of the screen and the keyboard aren’t conducive for writing novels and other similarly long documents. What makes the most sense is to use your phone to view Office documents and make minor changes. Leave the hard-core creation and modification efforts to a full-sized PC.
Before I get too far along, I want to explain the capabilities of this solution and the logic behind working with Microsoft Office applications.
Focusing on the Big Four
Microsoft Office applications are the most popular apps for general purpose business productivity. Virtually every business uses Microsoft Office or applications that can work with Microsoft file formats. As you’re probably well aware, the heavy hitters are
· Microsoft Word: For creating and editing documents. These files use the .doc and .docx suffixes.
· Microsoft Excel: For managing spreadsheets, performing numerical analysis, and creating charts. These files end in the .xls and .xlsx suffixes.
· Microsoft PowerPoint: For creating and viewing presentations. These files end in the .ppt and .pptx suffixes.
· Adobe Portable Document Format: This is a format originally specified by Adobe for sharing documents. Called Portable Document Format, or PDF for short, these files end in .pdf. Clearly, it is not from Microsoft nor is it a part of the Microsoft Office Suite, but it is widely used by businesses to share documents that are not intended for revision.
For everything Microsoft Office, check out Office 2013 For Dummies or Office 2010 For Dummies, by Wallace Wang (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
The newest versions of Microsoft Office files are appended with .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx. Most of the mobile office apps, including Polaris, can work with the older and newer formats. In general, however, more applications work with the older versions. You don’t give up much by using the older version, but you do gain more compatibility with other people who aren’t as current. Over time, the discrepancies become less of an issue as more people update to the newer format.
If you skip this section and don’t have any software on your phone to open Office documents, you won’t be able to read any Office documents attached to messages you receive on your phone. On the other hand, you may not want to be able to look at the documents until you’re in the office.
Accessing the Office files
The next challenge in working with Office files is keeping track of the most recent version of whatever file you’re working on. In the most basic scenario, you’re working on a Microsoft Office file yourself. If you have a desktop PC, you’re probably accustomed to transferring files among different machines if you want to work on them in different locations, such as home or the office. Here are your traditional options:
· Removable media: You use a thumb drive or CD-ROM to move the file from one PC to another.
· Email: You email the file from one PC to another.
· Server: You save a copy of your file from the first PC on a server that you can access from both the first and second PC. This includes the ubiquitous cloud offerings you considered when you were first setting up your phone.
The first option is mostly impractical. Your Galaxy S7 phone doesn’t have a disc drive or a USB port for a thumb drive. You can find on the Internet adapters that plug into the micro-USB on the phone on one side and offer a female USB port on the other side for thumb drives. It can work, but this is a hassle for Office files that are changing all the time.
This leaves you with the second two options: using email or using a server. Sending and receiving Microsoft Office files as attachments with text or email messages is probably old hat by now. You receive the email, download the attachment, and work away. When you’re done, you save the file to work on later, or you send it back to your PC. I go into more detail about this process later in this chapter in the section “Sending an Office file as an attachment.”
The server option calls for a little more explanation. By the way, there are two fancy terms for this kind of computing. The first one is cloud storage. Cloud storage is a service that is provided, usually for free for basic services, from a number of companies. Hopefully, you took my advice in Chapter 1 and have signed up for at least one of these services.
There is also an idea called a VPN, or virtual private network. This is fairly common in businesses. It’s similar to cloud computing, but the “cloud” in this case is the company’s computer system.
Using cloud storage
The issue of file sharing is integral to getting the most out of the Office applications on your phone. To make it really work, the more Office files you store on the server, the better. It will do you little good if the files you want to see and change are safely stored on your PC, which you dutifully powered off to save energy.
The principle behind this service is that the server appears to your PC and your phone as if it were a drive or memory card directly connected to your machine. If you know how to copy files from, say, your PC hard drive to a USB thumb drive, you can use a server in the cloud. You might not know which computer is doing the processing when you open a file. It could be your phone; it could also be a computer on the company network or the server itself. Ultimately, you don’t really care as long as it works fast and does what you want.
When you tap a filename that appears on your phone (which is comparable to double-clicking a filename on your PC), the file opens, and you can read and edit it.
When you’re done reading or editing, the file gets saved, secure and accessible, until the next time you want to do something to it. This is the essence of the cloud, and your phone can happily participate.
Your wireless carrier may offer this service to you, but it is also available from Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.
Using a VPN
The idea behind a VPN is that your phone and the company’s data network set up a secret password. They know it’s you because you entered your password. Any evildoers who see your information exchanges would see gibberish. Only your phone and the company computers know how to unscramble the gibberish.
As with checking your business email on your phone, make sure that your company is okay with you accessing files this way. In many cases, it’s okay, but some companies have security policies that simply don’t let you (or just anyone) have access to every piece of data that the company has ever had while you could be sitting in a competitor’s office.
Reading and Editing Files with Your Phone
Several mobile apps for Android phones let you be productive while on the road. Here, I take a look at the Polaris Office app to show you some of its capabilities. You can obtain Polaris Office from the Play Store for free if it’s not already installed on your phone, as seen in Figure 14-1.
FIGURE 14-1: The Polaris Office page in the Google Play Store.
Creating a document
To introduce the process, I show you how to create a document on your phone:
1. On your phone, open the App list and tap the Polaris Office icon.
You need to create an account and agree to the End User License Agreement. You can also use your Facebook or Google+ accounts. Once you get past these hurdles and pass through some marketing pages, the Home screen (shown in Figure 14-2) appears.
This is the image that you will see first when you open this app.
2. Tap the icon with the plus sign in the red circle.
This is the one with the text balloon that says Create New (Hey, this is a Dummies book). The options are presented in Figure 14-3.
3. Tap the icon for the file type you wish to create.
The options are
· Text: Open a blank sheet for a very simple document.
· Slide: Open a blank presentation in PowerPoint format (.ppt).
· Sheet: Open a blank spreadsheet in Excel spreadsheet format (.xls).
· Word: Open a blank sheet in Word format (.doc) or text if it is a very simple document.
Tapping the icon of your choice brings up a screen like that shown in Figure 14-4 — a Word document that describes how to use the app. The details of editing are described in this document.
4. Tap the three parallel lines next to the Word icon in the upper-left corner to save the document.
Doing so brings up the options shown in Figure 14-5.
5. Tap Save or Save As to save the document.
The first time you save a document, you can tap Save, and it will ask you to name it something other than the default name. This is just like on your PC. Likewise, once you have named the file, you can tap Save, and it will save. However, if you tap Save As after it’s named, it assumes you want to change the name.
Also, you can store the document on the Polaris drive or in your phone’s memory. The app saves the document on your phone or My Polaris servers in the format you selected. Figure 14-6 shows the documents stored on the server.
FIGURE 14-2: The Polaris Home screen on your phone.
FIGURE 14-3: New document options.
FIGURE 14-4: Viewing your Polaris Word document on your phone.
FIGURE 14-5: The Save As option on the Polaris My Docs page.
FIGURE 14-6: Office files in My Polaris Drive.
Sending an Office file as an attachment
After a file is saved, it’s safe to send it to your home PC or to another PC. When you’re ready to email the document to your PC or to another PC, do the following:
1. From the My Polaris Drive, tap the information icon.
Here you see my effort to displace The Great Gatsby as required reading in the high schools across the country. Imagine I have done some editing, and now it is time to send it to the editor.
2. Tap the information icon to the right of the document.
You have several choices from the resulting pop-up screen, as shown in Figure 14-7. In this case, we want to share it.
3. Tap the Share option.
Four options appear, as seen in Figure 14-8.
4. Tap the Attach to Email option.
You now get a complete suite of options currently available on your phone to share this file (see Figure 14-9). In this case, tap the email icon (yes, this is the second time that you have told the app that you want to use email, but just go with it). You see the screen shown inFigure 14-10.
5. Type an email address (probably from your Contacts list) in the To text box and add a subject and a message if you want.
I am sending this document to Wiley Publishing (wish me luck!).
If you want the document on your PC, simply address it to yourself or use one of the other share options.
6. Tap Send.
The miracle of wireless communication zips the document off to the intended recipient.
FIGURE 14-7: Information pop-up from an Office file on My Polaris Server.
FIGURE 14-8: Share options first screen.
FIGURE 14-9: Share options second screen.
FIGURE 14-10: Sample email.
The process is the same for Word-, Excel-, and PowerPoint-formatted documents.
The formatting of the document on your phone might not be exactly the same as it is when it appears on your PC. In particular, your phone may not have every font that is on your PC, so it will substitute one that kind of looks like the correct font. Save yourself time and don’t try to format a document on your Galaxy S7 phone.
Managing Office documents with a server
The Polaris server works fine for you as an individual. Often companies want to store documents on their servers or on servers that they specify. You can work with any server. The names may be a little different and the color schemes changed, but the basic concepts are similar whether it is the Polaris server or a server that belongs to your company.
The easiest way to describe the process is to start from the server’s point of view. Suppose that you’re writing the Great American Novel on your PC, but you want to put it on your phone so that you can review it and maybe make some minor edits. The first thing you do is move the file to your Dropbox server from your PC. Figure 14-11 is what this document looks like on your desktop PC.
FIGURE 14-11: The Great American Novel on a PC.
Here are the steps to view and edit this document on your phone using a popular public server that works like many servers within business settings:
1. On your PC, save your file to Dropbox.
Dropbox looks like a locally attached hard drive. I have created a folder for my 100 percent original work. Doing so brings up the screen shown in Figure 14-12.
2. Open Dropbox (see Figure 14-13) on your phone and tap the folder that contains the desired file.
In this case, it’s the folder titled Great American Novel.
3. Tap the folder that represents the folder containing the desired file.
In this case, the document is Great American Novel-II.
The image in Figure 14-14 shows my novel. (I still have some work to do on this, but I am off to a good start. Anything in common with work previously written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is completely unintentional.)
Now you can write more and edit.
4. When you’re done, tap the three lines by the Word icon.
Doing so brings up options, including Save.
5. Tap Save.
This saves any changes you’ve made back to the file — which is stored on Dropbox.
FIGURE 14-12: Dropbox on a PC.
FIGURE 14-13: Dropbox on your phone.
FIGURE 14-14: The document open in Polaris.
This process works with any Microsoft Office file format. It works with cloud servers other than Dropbox, too. It can work the same way with your VPN at the office. The tools are there for you to use.