Office for Android is a key piece of Microsoft’s conquer-the-cloud strategy. The promise is you can work on any device, yes even on Android, with the productivity suite you know (maybe) love.
eview versions of rd, Excel, werint have been in the ay Store since November, we were impressed in our initial hs-on.
I got a chance to tinker with the final builds that are going live Thursday. ile there were no sweeping changes, the apps are maturing into a compelling productivity suite that could challenge the dominance of ‘s productivity apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) on Android.
Get started with a Microsoft account
To use edit each of these Office files you’ll need a (free) Microsoft account. This connects you to OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud syncing service. This way if you start work on a file on your , you can tinker away with it from your Android tablet.
The full experience of course is for those with an Office 365 subscription. Microsoft has a rather convoluted mix of which features work with free paid accounts: check out our breakdown to decide if an Office 365 subscription is what you need.
ong with OneDrive, you can also connect open files from Dropbox, another piece of fruit from the two companies’ recent partnership.
rd will make you feel right at home
at many will appreciate about rd is how familiar it looks to ndows users on arch-rival ’s mobile platform. Microsoft has done an excellent job at building a familiar interface across its product line, really going all-in with its “cloud first, mobile first” strategy.
Of course that means love it or hate it, you get the ribbon. But you can auto-hide it with one touch if you’d rather it not clutter up your view.
st touch anywhere on the file to edit, or tap hold to get the smart popup bar for copy–paste. I most appreciate the ability to pinch zoom on the page to zoom in for a closer look at the text. There’s also a useful button to hide the keyboard so it doesn’t launch if you’re just checking out a file in the reading mode.
My favorite find was the pleasant “lcome back!” greeting that offers to take you to where you left off when re-opening a document. I tried this on a file was ushered right back to page 6 where I made my last edit.
The only hangup I found was in how rd saves files to OneDrive. For example, with Docs there is no save button – everything saves as you go, almost instantaneously. You can even type on a tablet watch the words show up in real time on another device.
Office promises the same, but doesn’t quite deliver. Changes made in rd Online or the desktop take a little while to show up in the tablet version. so, being asked to save a file when closing seems like an unnecessary step, out of touch with the “cloud-first” world. Microsoft should bring the instantaneous saving the Internet can deliver.
You can print from rd, along with the other Office apps. en I tried this it forced me to connect with Cloud int, which must be connected to your tablet for printing. The perpetually-in-beta service is rather clunky, though of course this jagged experience isn’t Microsoft’s fault.
Excel offers solid number crunching tools
lling up a spreadsheet from your tablet can be helpful in a lot of situations, from business meetings to finding that last payment detail.
Doing extensive spreadsheet work on a tablet seems rather painful, but Microsoft hit the right balance here between usability functionality. For example, just as with the preview version, you can edit pivot tables, though not create one from scratch. You can add in formulas, the space for editing this is much larger finger-friendly than on the desktop.
If you want to move around columns, you can tap hold them to drag them to a new home. You can take a set of data create a chart, choosing from multiple types of data representations.
Excel is very fluid stable, which should please both Excel diehards those who just want to make sure all their files are synced up while on the go.
werint is perfect for tablet-based presentations
If there’s an app that’s best-in-class among the three, it’s werint. It completely blows away Slides, which is nowhere near parity in terms of templates or slideshow design features.
werint on a tablet also makes a lot of sense, as it frees you from being locked to a computer when using this app for a presentation. You can also ink up your screen with your finger or stylus while presenting, which is great for keeping audiences glued in to what you’re saying.
ile you can tweak the transition effect options of your slides, unfortunately you can’t change up the existing theme. You can move around the order of the slides by dragging dropping them to a new location. There are several other finger-friendly options built in, making this a real stout application.
The future is Office everywhere
These new editions of Office are essential if you’re an Office 365 subscriber, but others will be happy with what Microsoft has cooked up here also. ile the company is playing catchup to in the Android tablet space, it’s stepped on the pedal isn’t far behind. It just needs to keep cranking out the features honing in on making its cloud performance rapid reliable.