A closer look at Microsoft Office for the iPad

A closer look at Microsoft Office for the iPad

Summary: After years of speculation, Microsoft has finally delivered editions of its flagship business productivity programs to the iPad platform. Here's what you'll find in the new Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps.


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  • Word, Excel, and PowerPoint debut on the iPad

    The three big guns of Office - Word, Excel, and PowerPoint - arrived in unison for the iPad. Each is a separate (and free) download from the App Store. The basic app allows you to read Word documents, work with existing Excel spreadsheets, and present a PowerPoint slideshow. You'll need to sign in with an Office 365 account to create new documents or use the full set of editing tools, however.

    See also: Microsoft Office for iPad sets the gold standard for tablet productivity

  • Sign in with an Office 365 account to activate the apps

    Signing in with an Office 365 Home Premium, Small Business, or Enterprise account activates all of the Office apps and enables the full range of editing capabilities.

Topics: CXO, Apple, Data Centers, Enterprise Software, iOS, iPad, Microsoft, Storage, Windows

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  • Download

    How do you download? Don't see on Apple App Store.
    • Here

      Ed Bott
  • if no Office365

    can the format of cells be change that only effect the look of the characters? ie: can the font size be increased?
  • There's two ironies at play here...

    First... it was far easier for Microsoft to release an iPad for Office version that it was for them to create a Metro one.

    Why? The Macintosh Business Unit had since 1997 has released Mac ported versions of Microsoft products. In 2007 they started using Xcode and so far have delivered Office:Mac 2008 and Office:Mac 2011.

    That track record can't be matched by the Metro team. There wasn't an Office for .NET (WinForms or WPF) and there's clearly delay with the Gemini versions for Metro.

    Second... It's far easier to convince people using on iPad and iPhone to continue using Microsoft products, than doing the same for Android.

    Also, iPad and iPhone are clearly a safe haven for business against Android. Virus, FUD and fragmentation have kept most business away from Android, but Samsung is making inroads that Microsoft must not underestimate. Alas, their Windows Phone and RT strategy is going nowhere and most PC's sold with Windows 8 are being used on the desktop side, not on the Metro side.

    Sun Tzu is quoted saying "The enemy of your enemy is your friend". Office for iPad must embrace that idea and not just be an experiment which Microsoft forgets in two or three years time.
    • Excel started as a MAC only product

    • Don't forget...

      if the rumours are true, the team have been working on getting the iPad version finished for over 4 years.

      4 years ago Windows 8 and Modern UI didn't exist, outside an internal Alpha that wasn't feature complete.

      Creating millions of lines of code and getting it properly tested isn't something that can be done over night.

      It is a shame that Gemini hasn't appeared quicker, but for any programmer, it isn't really a surprise.
      • I doubt it has taken 4 years

        My guess is that Microsoft toyed with the idea, and maybe even developed prototypes, but didn't do the heavy coding until it got serious about delivery. Ballmer was pretty adamant about using Office as a differentiator for Windows RT and the Surface line. Since RT has been a bust, Microsoft finally bit the bullet and produced an iPad version, with an Android version to follow later (probably after the Gemini re-write is done).

        Perhaps it was easier to get the iPad version out first because Microsoft didn't have to attempt to make it full featured. By contrast, the current Surface version of Office is basically an ARM port of the x86 version with touch thrown in as an afterthought.

        In retrospect, that's probably what they should have done with Surface RT. I.e. they should have made it Metro-only and marketed it as a companion device, not an end-all-be-all, with a touch-oriented version of Office that was file compatible, but didn't attempt to replicate everything. They could have then positioned Surface Pro as a more traditional Ultrabook (maybe with a 12" screen), and Surface as a smaller 8-10" device. Ideally each would have gotten separate branding (no confusion re: Surface vs. Surface Pro).
  • Office 365 Installs

    It appears that installing and signing in with Office 365 doesn't count against your 5 installs. Is this true? I had 2 available before and after. It looks pretty good.
    • Five PCs or Macs and five tablets

      So no, this doesn't count against your PC/Mac allocation.
      Ed Bott
    • Desktop/Laptop Seaprate from Tablets

      With Office 365 Home Premium I get five installs on any PC or Mac that I want, PLUS five installs on a tablet...so why are people whining about $99/year for all of that? The ones that hack me off the worst are the exiting iPaders who scream bloody murder about Office 365 - why in the world did they buy the most expensive tablet on the planet if they can't afford $69/year for the new personal subscription to Office 365?
    • PC/Mac and Mobile

      It should count against your mobile installations, not your "desktop" installation count.
  • I was at a presentation yesterday by a

    senior public sector CTO. He pulled the cable out of the presentation laptop, plugged in his iPad through a connector to the overhead, fired into Keynote, and proceeded to control the presentation from his iPhone. There were 15 people in the room, all CE's, COO's and some CIO's.

    All were impressed.

    Clearly, in the last 4 years, other solutions have been shown to work. MS won't care because this market will all be upside to them, but it does demonstrate to me that if you re late into the mobile market you are endangered...
  • Such a good idea?

    Sorry guys - I just can't see how this is a great idea - except that Ms are set to increase their income by 3-400% at least by fleecing users. The apps, so it appears, are anything but as usable as regular Office and being internet based, if your connection is down (or slow as mine often is) I really can't see you doing much work. So you can use this on a tablet of phone! Again, hardly something that will prove to be seriously productive.

    I just can't help thinking of the emperor's new clothes...
    • Work locally

      the files might be synced to the cloud, but you can work locally, if you have no connection - assuming you are creating a document or have downloaded the ones you need before going offline, just like with a PC or any other platform.
  • Finally!

    This is really good. Also please let us because now in use my iPad Air as a replacement laptop properly as opposed to just a content consumption device. The only thing that is missing that I'd really like is equation editor which I tend to use an awful lot because of the type of documents I write. But that's okay as I can write the bulk of the documents on the iPad and then upload it to OneDrive and then download it and do the final edits on a desktop PC somewhere.

    Let's not underestimate this. I think Microsoft has done the right thing, if a little bit late.
  • No reason to pay for O365 - it works well without!

    The apps work like a charm if you activate with a O365 ID and do a log out afterwords. That is in practice Without O365!
    Well - you will not get a connection to the Cloud, and only way out for your documents will be via Mail. Import is as usual "Open in" from Mail or other sources. And the O365 free first month is a nice path to this functionality. I did not notice any track of these activations in my O365 My Account page.

    A serious flaw in Powerpoint for ipad.. it doesn't support video. AT ALL!
    Regardless of format (.mov, mp4, flv, wmv), Powerpoint for ipad does not play an embedded video clip.

    REALLY????...A Presentation Software Package in this video age that doesn't support video? You've got to be kidding. As limited as Keynote may be, it plays video. And while I have been waiting for 4 years to put Powerpoint on my ipad, and jettison Keynote, I can't.

    A stellar move on Microsoft's part... what were they thinking?
  • Too late for the home user

    There are very good alternatives out there for the typical home user - iWorks, LibreOffice, Office WebApps and maybe others. Business users, sure..