Office for Android gets home-screen shortcuts, other key features in update

You can now view plain text files, documents protected with information rights management, and quickly edit a file directly from Outlook.


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Microsoft keeps plugging away at its Office suite for Android. There are several key updates in the latest version that should help round out features you might have been missing.

One major catch-up is in the ability to pin a file to your home screen. It’s been a longstanding capability within Google Docs, and it’s definitely a good one to have if there’s a particular file you need to access regularly. 

word pin to home screen

Pin a file right to your home screen with the latest update to Word for Android.

To pin an app to your home screen, head to the Recent menu and touch the overflow button. There is no quick “start a new file” option from the widgets menu, unlike Google Docs, so a new document still requires opening the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint app.

When you first fire up Word after the update you’ll be greeted with a changelog of the new goodies, with a note that the ability to open Information Rights Management (IRM) documents and a splashy color palette are reserved for those with an Office 365 subscription. 

office android updates

Lots of goodies, including more color, are coming to Office for Android.

You’ll see the color choices when you opt to format a file from any of the three applications. Finally, if you use Outlook you’ll be able to quickly edit a document right after opening it directly from your email. This saves you some time, as previously you’d need to save the file to your device and then send it back.

You can grab the latest version of WordExcel, and PowerPoint from the Google Play Store.

The impact on you: If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you’ll be happy to see Microsoft is still working to make its suite of apps reliable for mobile productivity. In our comparison of Office and Google Docs we found a lot to like with what Microsoft has built, particularly in how strong Word, Excel, and PowerPoint work across different platforms. 

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