Microsoft hasn't quite achieved the 'one Windows across multiple screens' vision yet, but now it has an app that unites Office across Windows on the PC and Windows Phone.
Microsoft's new Windows Phone app, Office Remote, may help liven up PowerPoint presentations by letting the user control documents remotely using the smartphone's touch interface. Office Remote is available for free from the Windows Store today, and enables Windows Phone 8 devices to remotely control Excel, PowerPoint and Word documents on a PC.
The remote control app works with Office 2013, though not RT versions, and requires an add-in for Office to be installed on a Bluetooth-enabled desktop.
And why would anyone want to scroll a Word document on their PC from their smartphone? According to Microsoft, the app is meant to enhance presentations in the boardroom or classroom that rely on Office documents on PCs or other large display units.
Once the app is installed and devices paired up, the presenter can use touch gestures on the Windows Phone device to, for example, jump between slides on PowerPoint, zoom in and out on Excel spreadsheets, and scroll through Word documents. The app can also display the presenter's notes on the device while showing the audience related but different content on the PC.
Made in collaboration between Microsoft Research and its Office engineering team, Microsoft says the app can free up the presenter to move around a room while still controlling documents displayed from the PC.
"With Office Remote, you can start your PowerPoint presentation, advance the slides, see your speaker notes, and control an on-screen laser pointer with a touch of your finger—all from your phone," Bert Van Hoof, an Office group program manager, wrote on Microsoft's Inside Research blog.
"You can also navigate between Excel worksheets and graphs, and control data slicers from the palm of your hand. And you can scroll through a Word document or quickly jump to specific sections or comments."
Microsoft highlights that the app is experimental, and is an early example of its work on productivity-focused computing across multiple devices.
The list of actions the app can do on Office documents on a PC include:
- Jump to the next, previous, and last slide
- View slide thumbnails and jump to a slide
- View speaker notes on phone
- View presentation timer and slide numbers
- Laser pointer using touch on your phone
- Change worksheets by swiping
- Use Slicers, PivotTable, and Filters
- Jump to any named object in your workbook
- Move up or down the worksheet
- Change the zoom level
- Jump to headings
- Jump to comments
- Screen up/down
- Line up/down
- Change the zoom level
- Microsoft envisions a not-so-distant future where apps are 'Bingified'
- Microsoft's browser-based dev toolbox: How 'Monaco' came to be
- Google, Microsoft outline blocks for child porn searches