This iPad App Simplifies Editing On-the-Go

BY Kerrie Spencer

asian businesswoman with tablet
asian businesswoman with tablet

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There is an app to help you conquer your difficulties when editing legal documents on an iPad.

Technology is great, but you likely experience times when you would rather just do it the old way. You get fed up with trying to edit documents on your iPad and wonder why technology cannot seem to keep up with all the changes you need to make your law firm practice run in a seamless manner. You are not alone. Sometimes it seems that at least 92 percent of attorneys who are currently using or about to acquire mobile technology have experienced technological glitches. More attorneys and firms are taking some aspects of their practice mobile to appeal to today’s mobile client, meaning more people are looking for ways to fix the glitches.

There are other issues associated with working on a mobile device, including security weaknesses, but we want to focus on editing documents and what you can do to remedy that irritating situation. If you are going to use cloud technology, then you want to use it with ease, and that includes editing and forwarding documents to staff, clients and colleagues. Imagine how horrified you would be to discover that a document you sent to a client had track changes or comments – referred to as metadata – clearly visible, and those comments were not meant to be seen by the client or other attorneys.

How does that happen? In some cases, unwanted data is forwarded with documents sent from a mobile device. The issue is you cannot see them on your mobile device, but the recipient, if they are using a desktop computer, does see them. Who wants opposing counsel to see what you are working on? What happens is that material originally sent internally (to your law firm) bypasses data cleanup, and when it is sent outside your law firm on a mobile device, you risk others seeing the document with your edits. These documents must be cleaned up at the server level.

An Application That Helps Editing Issues

There are several iPad document edit applications that do a reasonably good job, but they do have their issues. Only one application, Documents to Go Premium, has the least number of problems. While these apps do help with the leaking metadata issue, be aware that they too have quirks, such as removing elements and even content from documents. The most common edit issues include: losing numbering, custom styles, losing or having footers moved, pleading line numbering lost, and table of contents, page number and date codes became text and could not be updated.

The number one app, or at least the application with the least number of issues when attempting to edit with an iPad, is Documents to Go Premium. It keeps all of the elements of your documents relatively intact and can help you avoid loss of information and hassle.

However, if you add paragraphs later, they are saved as style normal, which means they do not show up in the table of contents. Additionally, if you edit a document on iPad and make changes, they cannot be tracked. While this may not be an issue with you, it may be with office staff or the original author.

With track changes, any text moved while using this application is shown on iPad in two locations, the original location and the new one. But without the changes clearly being marked, it looked like the content was duplicated. With regard to other small glitches, there were some style loss and formatting issues that do not show on iPad but that do come back when the document is opened again in Word. If you do not mind working with ghosts in your iPad, Documents to Go Premium might be worth checking out.

Kerrie Spencer

Kerrie Spencer is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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