In business, if productivity is king then mobility is certainly queen. If mobility has become so important then why can’t we do all of our work on all of our devices from anywhere at any time? Well we can, but there is a catch, there’s always a catch, something we have to sacrifice. For a long time, those of us who have been entrenched in the Microsoft world of Office applications have had to leave behind the familiar applications we were comfortable using and dive into an uncertain world of apps with varying degrees of support for Office features on devices like smart phones and tablets. Today, those murky waters have cleared a bit. Microsoft has released Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the iPad. To date, these Microsoft developed apps are now available on Windows tablets like the Surface 2 in the form of Office RT, Windows phones, iPhones, Android based phones, and now the iPad…finally. This latest iPad release brings Microsoft one step closer to providing a way for its customers to do more, on more devices, in more places.
According to Microsoft, all the content in your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents will show up correctly in the new iPad apps. Before the release of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad, other apps that claimed to be compatible with Office documents were prone to displaying some document content in a jumbled mess, especially when using advanced formatting like columns and text boxes in a Word document. Even Microsoft’s own native viewer built into the OneDrive app had trouble properly displaying some content. It is important to note that with this first release not every feature of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is available when creating or editing a document in the new iPad apps; however, Microsoft says the most common tools are available. The new apps are compatible with both the Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage service and OneDrive Pro. This integration allows for multiple people to edit a document at the same time, providing a way for people to collaborate in real time on a document.
The new Office iPad apps are available for download for free in the app store. The free apps by themselves will only allow you to view and present documents on the iPad. When linked with an Office 365 account the editing features are unlocked. Office for iPad works with most Office 365 subscriptions and will work with the new Office 365 Personal subscription when it becomes available later this spring. You may recall Office 365 allows you to install Office on up to 5 devices. Using these apps with your Office 365 account will count as one of those installation instances. When I began writing this article, Microsoft had only just announced the release of Office for iPad so I have not yet had a chance to work with the apps. I will be attempting to write next month’s entire newsletter with these new apps to try and put them through their paces. Keep an eye on our Facebook page fb/ JacobsCompanyBITS for updates on how I like working with the new apps.