Wanted to jot something down but had to draft it in your notes section to send later?
Well, thanks to Microsoft, these frustrations could be over: its Office packages can now be accessed for free on your mobile or tablet device.
Providing you’re not a business user or require the advanced features found within the software, this surprise move by Microsoft is just what we’ve been waiting to hear.
What can I do with the app?
The app means you can use Microsoft’s suite of applications, including Word, Excel and Powerpoint, without having to fork out for an Office 365 subscription, which used to be needed for mobile access.
Formerly, users could only view documents in read-only mode and had limited access to other functions prevented by the paywall. Now documents can be created and edited, with the same customisation tools found on the desktop equivalent.
A big difference with this version of the Microsoft apps is the integration with Dropbox. Access to Dropbox means that editing or accessing documents from a number of devices is no longer a stressful endeavour and can help with collaborative and shared projects with others.
|“The apps have been custom made for smaller screens, so use with phones and tablets is user friendly”|
The apps have been custom made for smaller screens, so use with phones and tablets is user friendly. They include reflow view options meaning you can view the real document layout or an easy to view format. The layout has also been designed to ensure that the familiarity of the desktop equivalent isn’t lost.
An additional feature is the ability to tailor charts. Across the apps, customisation tools including adding titles, legends and axis titles make it easy to create documents as you would on the desktop.
The Powerpoint app similarly allows you to add in animations, choose themed presentations and format backgrounds.
Sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?
It’s actually more Microsoft waking-up-and-smelling-the-coffee than an act of corporate benevolence on its behalf.
Microsoft has always been a heavyweight in a desktop environment, deriving a large chunk of its profits from Office products – it has never really cracked the mobile arena.
Its mobile offerings were watered down and often lacked the key functionality features users were looking for and expected from the brand.
Faced with an increasing number of free productivity apps such as Quip and Evernote, Microsoft has had to face the reality of how users are creating content and refocus its efforts to maintain a presence in the mobile market.
Since its release, the apps have attracted downloads in their millions and have topped the tablet and mobile download charts, suggesting Microsoft has reminded users of their presence in the mobile domain.
The familiarity and easy to use layouts across the apps show how well they translate across from the desktop versions and importantly bodes well for mobile users looking for an experience that doesn’t differ from what they are used to.
For us this means free and easy access to clipart, spreadsheets - and a practical way to add functionality and capability to our mobile devices.
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