Quip’s productivity suite for iPhone, iPad, Android, and the desktop seeks to solve the messy problem of collaboration.
It’s a bit similar to Google Drive, but Quip’s answer to streamlined collaboration lies in its robust messaging platform, which combines the quick nature of an instant messenger with a fully-fledged document editor.
The result is a flexible app that lets teams and individuals comment, tag, and message others all from within the document you’re working on. And since Quip works on your iPhone, iPad, Android device, or on the web, it syncs across all your devices, making it easy for teams using a variety of equipment.
Quip is split into two main sections: the messaging side of things, which contains your inbox and chat, and your desktop, which is your workspace where all your documents are kept.
Quip describes the inbox section as the “What’s new” section, and it basically tracks all your conversations, both private and public.
How you communicate on Quip is entirely up to you. You can create group messages, start private conversations, or even chat about a shared document without having to jump around or stop editing.
If a document is shared with others, Quip automatically inserts a chat thread to the left of the document, which brings some structured focus to everyone’s thoughts on that particular project.
Here’s what it looks like sharing and messaging someone in the web version of Quip.
You can share documents via a private link, or add people individually.
When you’re working on a document, Quip’s simple text editor lets you choose between paragraph, heading, and list formats, with drop-down options for adjusting the font size and style.
It’s a limited set of options, but it keeps the editing process tidy, avoiding the usual “options overkill” issue of other productivity suites, which can be more intimidating than helpful.
One of the coolest feature of Quip is “mentions” — it’s how you insert comments, images, and charts on the fly.
You can always insert things using the “Insert” key on the in-app keyboard, but you can also “mention” or insert things using the @ symbol followed by the type of mention you’d like to insert.
You can @mention people, web links, charts, images, and even lines of code.
The same style of tagging works within Quip’s chat platform, too. It’s a faster way to reference a document, and it’s all accessible from your keyboard, which speeds things up.
Quip also realises that not everyone uses Quip, so the app makes it a breeze to import new documents from your email, desktop, or Google Drive.
Importing Word documents is as easy as dragging and dropping.
You can also easily import and link your Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox accounts.
The nice thing about Quip is it’s flexible enough to adjust to your work habits.
If you’re working on an individual project, you can avoid the entire messaging side of things until you need to ask a question or get some advice. But Quip also rises to the occasion for group projects, and its intuitive tagging system encourages quick, instant-message style communication, which is far faster than email.
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