Microsoft finally release Office on to iPads

So after many years of resistance, Microsoft has finally released some of its Office applications for use on iPads. As of yesterday morning (27th March), the Apple App Store now has Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint available for iOS7.

The apps themselves look fairly well polished with the commonly used functions in the ribbon menu and the touchscreen optimisation suiting the nature of using tablets – highlighting, moving and editing text feels simple and intuitive. Extra little features such as simulating a laser pointer during a PowerPoint presentation by using your finger, suggests that Microsoft have been developing the apps for some time. It should be noted however that these are not the same as the desktop version of Office 2013. There are some features such as “mailings” and “references” which have been omitted. The chances are these features won’t be sorely missed as it would seem Microsoft have distilled the product down to its most useful essentials.

The apps are free to download, and users can view existing documents. However, to edit or create new documents users will need an Office365 subscription. Unfortunately, it looks like the school’s Office365 subscription doesn’t cover this at this stage.

***UPDATE ***

Microsoft have now relaxed their requirement for having an Office365 subscription in order to do anything other than “read only”. Subscription-free Microsoft users (including Office365, Hotmail and Live account holders) are now able to edit and create documents – albeit the features available are condensed compared to a subscription user. An upgraded account gives extra capabilities such as stylings, picture and table formatting and increased storage (1TB) on OneDrive, Microsoft’s online cloud storage. To take advantage, users will need to install the November 6th update from the AppStore.

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