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Office work is never done in a vacuum. No matter how simple or important of a project you're working on, each thing you work on will have input from others and then will need to be shared once it's finished. When you're using Word and Excel, you have to copy in quotes from sources, financials from statements, and need to email the file to your colleagues to look over once you're done. All the while, you'll need to keep in touch in your team chat or email app.
It's a lot keep track of, and with all the moving around, it's far too easy to lose something. That's where Quip does things differently. It's an office tool that combines documents, spreadsheets, and team chat all in one app, so you can work together and keep everything in one place.
Quip started out as an iPad app, and that shows through its design. It's easy to use, with a launch screen that shows your recent files and folders in a dashboard, with a list of your contacts and chat rooms on the left side. Start a new document, and you'll find a clean layout with just a title and space for you to write, along with a few tools along the top.
Much like in many mobile apps, there are few settings to tweak in Quip. The default document design is nice and clean, with a sans-serif typeface for the header and a serif typeface for your document copy—much like the Microsoft Word default. You can add formatting using Markdown-type characters, adding hashtags for headings and asterisks for italics (though it's worth noting that Quip turns them into rich text formatting instead of saving the Markdown characters). Or, just hover over the left side and click the formatting button to turn text into a heading, list, or checklist—or select text and use formatting buttons that show up above. For extra customization, you can find 5 themes under the gear icon in the top left, to make your document look as professional or casual as you want.
Need more than text? Quip lets you drag in images and arrange them on your document as you want, or list facts in a table. Or, you can create a spreadsheet and embed it in your document, complete with standard formulas and tools to crunch numbers. There's code block formats, too, to share code samples in documents.
Every change you make to a document is listed in the left sidebar. You'll see a tiny preview of the text or spreadsheet cells you've changed, and can add comments along the bottom. Then, tap the Share button on the top, and you can bring in the rest of your team to collaborate and discus the document together. You can even use Zapier integrations to have RSS feed data, Twitter mentions, and more come into your Quip comments feed, to automatically give you new data to include in your work. And once you're done, you can share the finished document through Quip, or export it in Microsoft Office, HTML, or PDF formats to share with anyone.
Back in your dashboard, there's Quip's full-featured team chat. You can talk about anything, drag in one of the documents you're working on, or jump on a private conversation with a colleague. Or, you can keep the conversation inside files, to help you focus on work.
If you're having trouble keeping track of everything in Office, and want a simpler, streamlined alternative, Quip is a great tool to check out. It doesn't have all the features of Word, Excel, or Google Docs, but it has enough to help you quickly make documents and work on them with your team—without having to jump between apps all the time.