Microsoft Office for iPad Review – Productivity finally comes to iOS

 

This is a happy time for iPad users as Microsoft has finally released office for iPad, well, not the complete suite, but 3 of the most popular apps, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  OneNote was previously released is and part of the suite as the fourth office app, however Outlook is not available.  Office has been and still is today, the standard productivity software suite the world uses, as over a billion people are running this software, that’s 1 in every seven people on this planet.  As the world moves to the cloud, Microsoft being the second largest cloud provider behind Amazon looks to further embrace it with bringing in more iPad users, in hopes of having additional subscribers to office 365.   For those of that don’t know, Apples iCloud service is actually running on Microsoft Azure platform and Amazons cloud service.

iPad user can now feel more productive on their tablets, but to actually edit and create documents you will need an office 365 subscription.  Without an Office 365 subscription you are only able to view your documents.  An office 365 subscription will cost you $99/year which will give you the ability to run the latest version of Office on up to five PC’s, Windows 8 tablets, iPad and Macs. Microsoft throws in an extra bonus, such as offering extra OneDrive storage making this a pretty sweet deal.  OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) is able to store all of your documents, photos, files and Video’s which can sync across any device, enabling Office 365 subscribers to sync their documents across all of their devices.  However you can chose to save the files on you device, starting a document on one device, and continuing it on another feels absolutely amazing.

We tested our documents created on a PC which and as we opened them on the iPad, the format remained the same, in the past iPad users were able to use 3rd party alternatives for opening Office documents but it led to disrupting the original format which was unacceptable.

Word

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Word works great and has tons of features, Microsoft has selected the most popular templates for you to choose from and start creating documents.  The layout is touch friendly while having lots of capabilities and being familiar to iPad users. Inserting photos is simple and as you move it around you can adjust the position for it that you prefer as the texts wraps itself around the photo.

Positioning the cursor to the text you want is traditionally not touch friendly, but Microsoft added a neat feature for doing this specific thing.  As you press and hold the screen, a nice zoom effect takes place, it feels like looking through a loop, which allows you to place the cursor much more accurately.  This feature also works with Excel and PowerPoint

PowerPoint

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PowerPoint is easy to use and editing is optimized for touch, moving things around, editing text and creating is extremely well implemented.

Excel

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Excel is also beautifully designed for touch, and Microsoft also includes an Excel custom keyboard which is accessible by tapping the 123 icon, it includes many of the Excel common functions.  As the keyboard pops up the pages are displayed over the keyboard so you’re still able to see and switch between them,

Microsoft has done a fantastic job at implementing its world renowned Office Suite for the iPad, it works naturally and is the real deal.  Office works best when saving documents on OneDrive, as you able to pick up where you left off in your document on another device, as you continue there, it all gets uploaded automatically and you work becomes accessible to you everywhere you go.

However, with the iPad not being a productive machine due to its outdated OS, no cursor support,  and not being able to run two apps side by side, it makes using this software much less productive. If you’re trying to read of off something as you write at the same time, or maybe need to be on a Skype call as your working, using Office on the iPad can be a very frustrating experience, it’s meant to be used on its own.

Office is truly well done and implemented on the iPad, it’s a shame that IOS is holding it back so much, making it usable for much simpler tasks rather than the productivity software its meant to be, but then again, this is an iPad.  Using a keyboard on the iPad is a better experience when it comes to using Office but without a trackpad productivity is still degraded.  We are surprisingly impressed by what Office can achieve with these limitations, but you are buying a tablet to use Office, Microsoft’s Surface tablet is the way to go, hands down, it offers this suite in its original fully featured form, it is also free and is not tied to a subscription, it comes with Outlook and doesn’t have the restrictions IOS does.  For those of you who wish to use the iPad, this is the best productivity experience available on this device and it only get better from this moment on.

 

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