The newly appointed CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella took to the stage in San Francisco for the first time in his new role as he announced the much-anticipated Microsoft Office for iPad. Rumors have been adrift for a very long time about the popular Office Suite’s impending arrival on the most popular tablet and finally it happened last night. Microsoft introduced Ms Excel, Ms Powerpoint and Ms Word for iPad, all of whom are free if you are only interesting in reading. For editing and composing new documents, there is an option for in app purchases.
You can download the apps directly from the iTunes Store for free with in app purchases.
Satya Nadella also took the opportunity to announce his plans to make sure that Microsoft Services would run on all the products out there including the ones that are made by their competitors like Android and Apple. Some might say that Microsoft has waited for too long to make this move and the market space has already been filled, but the ground reality remains that there is a huge following for Ms Office at least in the enterprise world and student world and
that is what Microsoft is targeting.
Our Views in short time with the apps
We ran the free version of Ms Word, Ms Powerpoint and Ms Excel on the iPad Air for about an hour or so after the release to play around. The first thing that stuck us in our time with all three apps is that Microsoft has taken the initiative to build them from ground up, the best example of this is in Excel app, where you have the option to select the keyboard to only punch in numbers. They are actually tailor-made for the experience on iPad and not a resize of the app or desktop versions. We did not use any keyboard or pointer device while using the apps, and did not feel the need of it at all.
If you have an Office 365 Subscription, then there is absolutely no reason for you to not download the applications and use it, in fact, dare we say, the whole experience of Office 365 was much better on the iPad than any other mobile device. The number of formatting options are obviously not as robust as the desktop version. It is worth mentioning though, that just yesterday Microsoft did make Editing, Creating and Reading docs all free for Home usage on Ms Office on its mobile apps on Android and iOS.
You can do the regular stuff like inserting pictures, hyperlinks, shapes, text boxes, tables etc in the documents. You also have the option of fiddling around with the margins and orientations. However, the one feature that really stood out for us was the ability to share the document we were working on via a link to our colleagues who could take over the document and carry on editing, a feature we had grown to really like on the Google Docs.
Navigating through the menus and clicking on the menu bar icons in the app was never an issue given the UX is actually really well done. There is no ability to zoom into the toolbar icons and frankly that was not needed either. The autosave feature works really well on all the three apps and saved us a face when Word did go unresponsive and we had to restart the app. Apart from that minor glitch, we really liked our time with Office for iPad and sure would carry on using it for the foreseeable future and perhaps even pick the $99.99 per year Microsoft Office 365 subscription plan.