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InstaColl Live Documents review

With its Flash gloss, Live Documents looks more impressive than it actually is

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Our Verdict

For

  • Decent spreadsheet editor
  • Some advanced features
  • Flashy design

Against

  • Lacking some needed features
  • Word processor not the best

Live Documents is another Flash-based office suite, but one with rather more pizzazz than Adobe's attempt.

Instead of the classic menu screens, it gives you a full-on virtual desktop complete with folders, Google Docs imports and an OS X style dock. It also includes alerts, a list of tasks and three editors – word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Oddly though, whichever of the icons you click, it immediately asks you what type of document you want to make anyway.

Entering the document editor, the first things that jump out are the huge editing window – which includes margins and pagination, unlike many others – and the unusual range of style tools.

You can alter the kerning of the text, but not create a headline style. You can add a footnote or a comment, but there's no apparent way to set a standard header or footer. It's a strange editor, advanced in some ways but primitive in others, using the Flash gloss to make it look much sleeker and more powerful than it actually is.

The Spreadsheet tool fares better, partly by having a much more comprehensive view of what the user will need, and partly by presenting it in a far better way. A simple strip along the top of the screen activates all its features instead of bits popping in and out as you move the mouse cursor around the screen.

As with the other online spreadsheets, data junkies aren't going to move from tools like Excel unless you prise them away with a crowbar, but it's fine for the basics. Live Documents is flashy, in more ways than one.

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