Microsoft Office Apps Come to iPhone, Editing and Creating Now Available for iPad and iPhone

Microsoft announced on its blog today, that Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps are now universal, meaning that they are available for both iPad and iPhone. In addition to Word, Excel and PowerPoint now being available on the iPhone, the updated apps now allow users of both iPhone and iPad to create and edit Microsoft Office documents without a subscription to Office 365. The prior versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad could only be used to view documents without a subscription to Office 365.

As part of this release, the horrible Microsoft Office Mobile app for iPhone will be retired. Additionally, Microsoft has promised a preview of Office for Android tablets in the near future and confirmed that a touch-optimized version of Office is in development for Windows 10.

Although Microsoft announced immediate availability of the updates in the Apple App Store, I could only access them with through a link currently and not through an App Store Search.

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This is a great change for Microsoft. Although a Microsoft Office 365 account is not needed for editing abilities, you do have to login with a Microsoft Account. If you already have a Live.com account, a Hotmail Account, or you have registered with Microsoft in any way, you can use the same login information. If you do not have an account, it is free to setup and use. If you do not login with a Microsoft Account, you are still limited to just viewing documents.

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The Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps on the iPhone are just as full featured as the iPad versions, but due to the smaller screen, toolbar options have been adjusted to a menu instead of across the top. It will not be as quick to edit and create on an iPhone, but it is a nice option for those situations when you do not have access to a computer or tablet. I can confirm that documents that I routinely use with advanced formatting options appeared in the native format on my phone.

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Dropbox integration that was just recently announced has been added in the updated apps. When you first launch the updated app, you are given the option of immediately signing in to Dropbox. If you decline, the option can easily be added later by selecting “Add a Service” under connected services. I was able to easily add my Dropbox account and authenticate through the Dropbox App. Editing and viewing of Dropbox documents worked with no problem.

This is a very welcome addition to the Microsoft Office Applications.

Microsoft Office Suite for iPad Updated: Export to PDF!

Microsoft Updates Office for iPad

Microsoft released the first major update for Office for the iPad on July 31, 2014. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel all received updates. Most notable for all three apps is the ability to export to PDF and to use third-party fonts. Each app also gained the ability to crop photos that are being used (you could previously add photos to each, but you were unable to crop).

Microsoft PowerPoint 1.1 for iPad Presenter View Screenshot

Microsoft PowerPoint added important presentation features for attorneys. You now have the ability to view and edit speaker notes, see your next slide and jump to others slides while presenting. Media (video and audio) can be played while presenting now, and videos can be added from your camera roll. It will be nice for attorneys using PowerPoint for presentations and trials to now be able to fully control slides in any order.

Microsoft Excel also added more support for PivotTables, external keyboards, and cell selection. You can now flick a cell’s selection handle to select all data in a row or column. All the same keys that you use on a desktop version of Excel are also now supported for the iPad version of Excel when using an external keyboard. Finally PivotTables can be modified when source data is in the same workbook.

Microsoft Word was the most boring of the updates. The major addition to Word is the ability to send as PDF, use third-party fonts, and to crop photos. These features were also added to the other apps in the Office for iPad suite.

Send as PDF in Microsoft Word

It is nice to see that Microsoft continues to make the apps in the Office Suite better for the iPad. I am disappointed that Microsoft still hasn’t added “Open In” support for these apps, but you still have the option of launching Microsoft One Drive, and using “Open In” to export documents to other apps on your iPad.

As reminder, these apps are free to download from the Apple App store, but you must have a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 to use all the features. (You can use each app as a viewer for free, but you need a subscription to create and edit documents). Microsoft offers in-app purchase of an Office 365 subscription, or it can be purchased directly from Microsoft or third-party resellers. Amazon currently has one year subscription keys available for as inexpensive as $64.00. Office 365 Home 1yr Subscription Key Card

Office 365 Personal Now Available for $6.99 Per Month

Office_Devices-300x207_top-of-postAs previously announced, Microsoft made a less expensive subscription of Office 365 available on April 15, 2014. Office 365 Personal can be purchased for $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.

The major difference between the Personal subscription and the Home subscription is the number of tablets and PCs that the Office products can be used on. Office 365 Home can be installed on up to 5 PCs or Macs and up to 5 tablets. Office 365 Personal can only be installed on 1 PC or Mac and 1 tablet.

I would still recommend that most users consider the Office 365 Home version over the Personal version. Having the ability to install on multiple computers is extremely useful, and you can share this benefit with anyone in your household. This means that up to four additional users can have access to your account, and each user can have their own 20GB of OneDrive storage.

As an added bonus, if you choose to purchase an Office 365 Home Subscription from Amazon, it is currently being sold at a discounted rate of $67.13 for an entire year (cheaper than purchasing the annual subscription from Microsoft for Office 365 Personal).

Once you purchase an Office 365 subscription, you are able to fully utilize all of the Microsoft Office apps for the iPad.

 

WordPerfect X7 for iPad Currently Available

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I previously had posted on a rumor that I had heard that Corel would be releasing a version of WordPerfect for the iPad. My sources had indicated that WordPerfect for the iPad would be released at the end of March 2014 (the same day that Microsoft released Office for the iPad). Although WordPerfect was not released when I expected, it was finally released on April 8, 2014, along with the release of WordPerfect Office X7.

Unfortunately WordPerfect for the iPad cannot be described as a stand-alone application. In reality it is simply a virtualized version of WordPerfect X7. During inactivity, I discovered that Corel is offering their product using a virtual desktop on Microsoft Server 2012. If you have used OnLive Desktop or CloudOn to access Microsoft Office on the iPad, this “app” uses the same type of technology.

This means that you are using an actual full desktop version of WordPerfect on your iPad, and not an app that was created specifically for a touch-interface of the iPad. Although the positive side is that you get to use every feature of WordPerfect, and have 100% format compatibility, the app suffers greatly from usability issues. For example selecting menus sometimes took 3-4 tries with my average size hands, and clicking on the toolbar drop-down menus was nearly impossible without accidentally applying the wrong formatting.

To get to the numbered list options, you have to actually touch that tiny down arrow on the toolbar!

To get to the numbered list options, you have to actually touch that tiny down arrow on the toolbar!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, the app will not work without an internet connection. According to the Apple App Store description:

“This virtualized desktop companion requires you to be connected to the Internet. During the trial period we recommend you connect to the internet through Wi-Fi for enhanced performance.”

The reason that Wi-Fi is recommended, is that performance can be an issue over a cellular connection, and you will be using your data allowance if you connect using cellular. This also means that if you do not have internet access, this app is useless, or even worse if you lose a connection while editing a document, you cannot continue to work and can possibly lose your work.

I wish I could say that the disappointment ended there. Since this is a virtualized desktop running WordPerfect, you cannot use the iPad’s “Open In” options to launch WordPerfect from an email or other app. This means that when I have a WordPerfect document as an attachment in email or saved on a cloud service, I was not able to launch that document using WordPerfect for the iPad.

Who am I giving access to my DropBox folders?

Who am I giving access to my DropBox folders?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only method that I could find to get documents into WordPerfect was to associate your DropBox account within the virtualized desktop environment. Since this would establish an instance of my DropBox running within a virtualized desktop on a server that I have no control over, I did not personally feel confident associating my DropBox account with this app. (Documents cannot even be side-loaded into the WordPerfect app using iTunes).

You are warned that this is a cloud-based app, and it will not even always be available.

You are warned that this is a cloud-based app, and it will not even always be available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WordPerfect X7 for the iPad is listed in the press release as being a free offering alongside the purchase of the new WordPerfect X7 Office suite, however, in the app store description, it is indicated that “Availability is limited”. This means that if you require use of the app, it is important that you download it immediately and register an account to use it. I am assuming that the reason that availability is limited is because a license must be purchased from Microsoft for every user (since it is running on Microsoft Server 2012). Although it is indicated that you must have WordPerfect X7 on your desktop to use this product, when you register to use the iPad app, you are not required to proof that you have a registered copy of WordPerfect Office X7 (this means that as of right now anyone can actually register an account and use this app).

I wish I could say that I recommend this app, but I simply cannot. It was actually painful to use it. None of the iPad keyboard shortcuts work on this app (like double-tapping the space bar for a period), and misspelled words are not auto-corrected. Selecting text was incredibly difficult and I was unable to finish a one page document without several disconnections and a timeout. Since I failed to save before one of the disconnections, I even experienced loss of my work. I also repeatedly noticed keyboard lag even on a high-speed WiFi connection.

I personally find this “app” an embarrassment to Corel. Considering that Microsoft took so long to develop and release Word for the iPad, Corel was given an ideal opportunity to actually become relevant again. Had Corel focused on making a true competitor for Pages and Word on the iPad, it is possible that they could have even converted desktop users by showing how good of a product they had. Instead, I think they have shown those remaining WordPerfect users, the time has finally come to abandon this app.

For now, I recommend that most users consider Microsoft Word for the iPad, even if it does mean purchasing an Office 365 subscription. If you simply cannot justify a subscription to Office 365, Pages is a quality full-featured word processor, just be aware that there will be some compatibility issues if you use Microsoft Word on your desktop.

Download WordPerfect X7 Companion App for iPad.

Microsoft Promises Office for iPad Quick Iterations, Implies Printing Will be Available Soon

Microsoft provided a statement to PC World implying that feedback regarding missing iPad printing option will result in missing features being added in future versions. The statement by Microsoft notes the number of iterations that have been made since Office 365 was released (almost weekly), and promises “We’ll watch really closely and see how people are using these apps and you should expect us to iterate very fast.” See the PC World story for more details.

See my Word for iPad review for my initial thoughts about Microsoft Word for iPad.

It is Confirmed, Microsoft Office for iPad Available Today

Microsoft announced today the immediate availability of Microsoft Office for the iPad. GigaOm has a good overview of the new offering. (Office for iPad available today http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/OmMalik/~3/Wgc0cYZ-j4M/)

In addition to Microsoft Word, there are also Excel and PowerPoint apps. These are free to download and to use for viewing documents, but to edit you need a Microsoft 365 subscription.

I plan to download and review these apps as soon as they are live in the App Store. From the press briefing, these look like great contenders for content creation on the iPad. My only disappointment is the need for a subscription to use them. I wish Microsoft had done the unexpected and made these available as paid apps to truly compete with Apple’s equivalents.