Free iOS App Lets You Easily View a Variety of File Formats

The free doctape Viewer iOS app lets you open more than 80 different file types using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The app is very useful, but CIO.com blogger James A. Martin found a few drawbacks.

Doctape Viewer, a new, free iOS app, lets you view roughly 80 different file types with a single program. That's the most comprehensive file support of any iOS app available today, according to doctape's developers.

doctape viewer

Say a colleague emails you a Photoshop file, but you only have your iPhone, and the iPhone doesn't support Photoshop-file viewing. Doctape Viewer's cloud-based file conversion engine lets you open the file while on the go. If you have a doctape cloud-storage account (you get 5GB free), the app automatically uploads the file to your account so you can view it on your iOS device.

After looking at the file, you have several options. You can print the file, if you have an AirPrint-compatible printer nearby. Or, after converting the file to the JPEG format, you can share it using the iPhone’s Mail app, Twitter or Facebook; assign the image to a contact; save it to your Camera Roll; or open the app in Dropbox, SkyDrive, iPhoto or any other compatible iOS app installed on your device. You can also keep the file in its .psd Photoshop file format, but the sharing options are more limited.

Let's compare doctape and Dropbox, the popular cloud-storage syncing service that gives you 2GB of free storage. The free Dropbox iOS app lets you upload and then view Photoshop files on your iOS device, too. Dropbox offers several sharing options, but not as many as doctape Viewer. Dropbox lets you share files via email, text message, Facebook message, Facebook status update or Twitter, and you can copy links to the file to your clipboard.

Supported doctape Viewer filetypes include plenty of audio (MP3, M4A, AACF, AIFF, WAV, ALAC ) and video (MP4, MOV, MPV, M4V, 3GP) formats; lots of image and vector files, such as Adobe Illustrator (AI); and some additional file formats.

I do have a few minor issues with doctape Viewer, though. For example, its online help page doesn’t offer much information about security. This is the only related information I found:

“While we’re using Amazon’s S3 storage service in Ireland (Europe) to store all the data in the background, all your files are encrypted with dedicated keys stored separately and safely on our servers in Germany.”

More technical details would be appreciated.

The free app also only lets you convert two files per day for viewing.  Upgrading to the pro version for $1 gets you unlimited conversions. One dollar isn't a large fee, but most of doctape's competitors don’t charge.

Doctape Viewer is also only optimized for iPhone and iPod touch screens, though it still works on iPad. There’s currently no Android version. And the tutorial and online help page could provide better information on how to use the app.

Dropbox aside, other iOS file-viewer apps worth looking into include FileApp and Documents by Readdle, both of which are free and optimized for iPhones and iPads. On Android, I’ve had success with Docs Viewer, a free app that lets you open and view non-native file formats, including Photoshop files, by speedily uploading those files to your Google Drive account. 

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