Microsoft Office for iPad: Here's what you get for free (and don't)

Microsoft Office for iPad: Here's what you get for free (and don't)

Summary: Here's the one chart you need to see if you are trying to figure out what you get for free vs. don't with Microsoft's new Office for iPad.


Microsoft unveiled on March 27 its Office for iPad suite.

It's available today and free. Sort of. 

If you only need the most basic capabilites of Office for iPad, the free version that is available for download from Apple's app store may be just fine for you.

But if you want to do anything like editing, formatting, saving to OneDrive or SharePoint, you need an Office 365 subscription.

Here's Microsoft's chart that shows what you get for free and what you don't:


If you need the paid version, the following Office 365 plans include Office for iPad support: Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government), Office 365 Education A3 and A4, Office 365 ProPlus, and Office 365 University. Once it's available, the just-announced Office 365 Personal plan will also qualify.

Update: Speaking of paid vs. free, Microsoft also announced yesterday that it is no longer requiring iPhone and Android phone users who want to use Office Mobile  (the phone-specific version of Office) to have an Office 365 subscription. Both versions are now truly free.

Topics: CXO, Cloud, Collaboration, iPad, Microsoft, Mobility


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • and here is what you get with windows RT

    WindowsRT: a desktop app that runs dog slow and it is as touch friendly as an arizona cactus.
    • re: and here is what you get with windows RT

    • Really?

      It seems fast enough for me. And, it's *much* more touch friendly than I expected. I regularly use O365/O2013 in touch only mode on my Surface and on my Win8.1 convertible.

      I'm not saying it's an optimal experience, but it's definitely useable, and far more touch friendly than a cactus. Perhaps a rose - it's mostly very nice, but there are places you really don't want to touch.
      • Good and fair analogy.

        Although having a mouse available definitely helps.
      • Touch (as defined today, anyway) is never going to be "optimal" but, ...

        ... if that is all you've got, it will do the trick. Frankly, I move back and forth between a desktop and the Surface RT and I have not ever experienced sluggishness from Office on the Surface RT.
        M Wagner
    • But

      Windows RT's Microsoft Office 2013 can print natively and it is pretty touch friendly (depending on the size of your fingers).
      Pollo Pazzo
      • Where do I plug in my printer?

        Do you have a USB to Centronics interface cable?
        • Anachronist

          If you are still running a printer with a centronics interface, maybe you aren't ready for the 21st century. On a useful note, how about sharing that printer... assuming of course the PC it connects to can do that and is on a network.
    • And

      can you look at your presenter notes on the iPad screen, whilst projecting the presentation on the wall?
      • Don't know but, if not, it is the iPad that is the problem.

        M Wagner
        • doesn't seem to be a way

          The iPad doesn't have the concept of a second screen. When you project via Airplay, you mirror, or nothing. Can't 'extend the desktop' as would be required to do the presenter mode. I don't know if it would be possible to send one thing to Airplay, and display something else on the iPad, but that isn't something I've seen in any app. BTW, I have tried it and can't see any way to do it. Hoped maybe it would do it by default. Nope.
    • Touch friendly as an arizona cactus

      This is _the_ problem with Microsoft products on touch devices. For some reason, Microsoft has problems programming touch into Windows. May be because of the architecture but mobile device makers seem to be running away with the idea touch enabled devices and all Microsoft OSes seem to struggle with touch consistency issues.
      Tim Jordan
  • Microsoft Office for iPad: Here's what you get for free (and don't)

    Microsoft just guaranteed themselves some additional revenue with this freemium structure. A lot of companies and individualts are going to jump at that so they can edit their documents Smart move, Microsoft.
    • Sure

      The relevant question isn't intelligence, it's timing, which I imagine you would call impeccable and neither too soon, nor too late.
    • I'm sure they would have MUCH preferred the windows tablets taking off

      and then release a windows only version, that's why its been held on to for so long. It did not happen so they will have to settle for reduced revenue then if they had stayed a software company and released it right after the iPad came out. So I wouldn't call this "additional revenue". But I think what's been going on lately, the pain being felt from various failures and ballmer being fired, some actual competition, that can get MS back on track in the long run. It will be a painful adjustment to have to actually compete nowadays, but may result in better products. We'll just have to see.
      • Microsoft Windows tablets are taking off

        The Dell Venue 8 Pro, Microsoft Surface RT, Microsoft Surface Pro, Microsoft Surface 2, Microsoft Surface Pro 2. Take your pick. Microsoft Office for the iPad is a way to get 1) people to buy the subscription 2) make the transition from iPad to one of the Microsoft Surfaces. Then you started babbling on some off topic stuff and I lost interest.
        • Perhaps...

          But the Android tablets are "taking off" even faster.
          • Not really. Android came out shortly after the iPhone ...

            ... and, while their are lots of tiny little Android companies, only Samsung (and maybe Amazon) is making any real money with Android - and they are sandwiched between Apple and Microsoft for Market-share.
            M Wagner
      • Well considering that Microsoft is #3 in tablet market share ...

        ... (behind Apple & Samsung) I would not consider their being two years behind the competition a "failure". Whether Windows RT survives in the long run remains to be seen but Windows with touch (and the Metro UI) is here to stay. I don't expect that traditional desktop to go away anytime soon either.

        Ballmer retired. He was not fired or he would not still be on the Board.
        M Wagner
        • Wow

          Look, dude learn your facts, Apple is #1 Samsung is #2 and ASUS is #3 and Dell is #4...The list goes on.