On Friday June 14, 2013, Microsoft announced that a version of Microsoft Office is now available as a free app for IPhones. The app is free to download, however customers must have Office 365 in order to use the different software applications that come with it.
Users can now create and edit documents on mobile devices on the go. The IPhone app comes with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and will sync with Microsoft SkyDrive for online storage. Microsoft said users will be able to edit and add notes to documents, with changes occurring immediately if the user opens the document on another machine. Documents will be reformatted to fit the smaller size of the screen. However, the app will still contain charts, animations, and other key features of the full version.
Microsoft’s news blog outlines the major features of the app:
1. Consistent Office Experience– “Because Office Mobile is from Microsoft, your formatting and layout remain intact when viewing or editing documents.” This feature is important for customers to feel comfortable when editing documents. If the application is the same as the PC version, making changes is easier and more fluid.
2. Easy Access– “Office Mobile is designed for people on the move. We made it quick and easy to access your Office content in the cloud on SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro.” This is an important feature for professionals who are on the move or constantly travelling. They can access important documents quickly and easily while outside of the office.
3. Optimized for the Smaller Screen– “Office Mobile has been optimized for the small screen of your phone so you can get the important things done quickly.” With Office being designed with a smaller screen in mind, this makes the app easier to use. Some apps do not translate well on a cell phone, making it difficult to use, or with important parts getting chopped off of the screen. Customer will likely enjoy an app that is specifically designed with the size of their device in mind.
4. Sharing Built In– “You can make quick edits and share your documents right from your phone with Office Mobile. When working with others, you can review comments in Word and Excel documents on your phone and add your own. When you’re done, you can save directly to SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro or just send as an email attachment.” This feature can be useful when sharing with colleagues, clients, or management.
Chris Schneider from Microsoft would not comment on any future plans for Office on the iPad or Android. Office is currently available on these devices through a Web browser, but it is not as powerful as having the software directly installed on the device. So for now, users just have the IPhone app.