01.Office finally comes to iPad, Android
You’ll soon be able to run genuine Microsoft Office on your iPad. Microsoft has announced a new mobile-first and cloud-first strategy that includes bringing Word, Excel and PowerPoint to Apple’s popular tablet as well as to Android devices.
The software giant says the apps have been redesigned specifically for the tablet’s touchscreen operation.
You can download free versions of the programs from the Apple App Store for viewing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, but you need a subscription to Microsoft’s Office365 service to create or edit documents.
The announcements were made by new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a webcast from San Francisco, in which Microsoft outlined a range of new cloud-based services, including the Enterprise Mobility Suite and more for corporate users.
Microsoft released Office to iPhone users in mid-2013 under a similar arrangement, which requires an Office365 subscription, but not the iPad-specific version. With an Office 365 subscription comes the ability to install the apps on up to five tablets, but also five copies across Office for your PCs and Macs. Office 365 Home costs $12 per month. Microsoft also recently announced Office 365 Personal, which covers one PC or Mac and one tablet for $89 per year or $9 per month.
Via Microsoft’s OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) cloud service, Office documents are kept up to date no matter what device you’re using, including PC, Mac and iPad.
The designed-for-tablet apps allow for touch-only navigation, doing away with the need for a stylus or keyboard. They include larger touch areas on the navigation ribbon and in menus, plus touch-friendly handles for moving and rotating graphic elements. They also incorporate standard iPad features such as voice dictation and AirPlay support for presentations to a TV screen.
iPad users have long been able to open and edit Microsoft Office documents on the iPad itself using a variety of other programs such as Apple’s own iWork productivity suite, and third party programs such as Documents To Go, along with remote access cloud apps such as Cloud On and Parallels Access. However, many users have long bemoaned the lack of genuine Microsoft Office apps on the iPad itself, citing that sometimes formatting of documents or may be lost in translation. Microsoft says having genuine Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad means content and formatting will be maintained across Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone.
Microsoft is making Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones free, along with Windows Phones of course, allowing viewing and editing of Office documents on the go. Microsoft says that more than a billion people use Office at work or at home.
Microsoft offers a free 30-day Office 365 trial. More information about Microsoft Office for iPad can be found on the Office blog.