Finally, we have the Office for iOS.,a much more robust app than what we got with Office Mobile for iPhone. Instead of having Word, PowerPoint, and Excel accessible in one app like it did on the iPhone, Microsoft made them separate apps with far more features in each. With the bigger screen of the iPad, there is simply more room to work with, and Microsoft took advantage with better tools, more templates, and touch-focused controls that are intuitive, familiar, and work great on-the-go.
Before you rush off to download the apps, however, it’s important to note that you get limited features with the free versions. All three apps let you connect to OneDrive to browse your files and read Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents for free. But to get the full power of the Office apps that let you create and edit documents, you’ll need a subscription with Office 365, Microsoft’s service that lets you work on your documents from anywhere
When creating a new document, you get 15 common templates to help you get started, with everything from brochures and business correspondence, to invoices and personal letters. You also can start from scratch with a blank document, but it’s nice to have pre-made options for the more common word-processing tasks. One thing you don’t get with the iPad is access to online templates created by other users. It’s not a big problem, but it would be nice if Microsoft let iPad users get access to all the available templates.
Once in a document, you can immediately see how much more robust the iPad version is over Office Mobile for iPhone. Across the top of the iPad screen is a sort of abbreviated Ribbon (known to desktop Office users), with tabs for Home, Insert, Layout, Review, and View. Just like on the desktop, your Home view is where you can choose fonts, change text styles, adjust text alignment, and other common actions as you create your document.
The Insert tab lets you add images, tables, shapes, footnotes, and provide links to online sources in your document. Layout lets you set margins, adjust page size, format your document with columns, add headers and footers, and more. Already, the features listed so far are much more than what you get with Office Mobile for iPhone.
The Review tab is especially useful for editing types like myself, letting you track changes while editing and view comments from other contributors
Excel for iPad is also head and shoulders above the iPhone version, with many of the most used features from the desktop version right at your fingertips. Excel also has a Ribbon, with tabs appropriate to working with spreadsheets.
But what’s exceptional about the iPad version of the app are the tools for displaying your data and the sheer amount of formulas you can use.
When you want a visual representation of your data, Excel for iPad lets you select the data and will give you several recommended chart and graph types which will best represent it. Even if you don’t like what Excel recommends, there are countless options in the Charts section and they’re organized by type, with graph categories that include lines, columns, pie charts, and numerous other types.
When it comes to formulas, Excel for iPad has you covered. It won’t be on par with the desktop version for the sheer number of formulas, but you can choose from long lists of common formulas by category. There are common functions for financial spreadsheets, logical functions, text-focused functions, Lookup and Reference functions, and several more.
One of the big selling points for the modern Microsoft Office for desktops and mobile devices is the ability to work together on whatever device you’re using. The Office apps for iPad continue to make it easy to connect with others and share documents with a button in the shape of a person in the upper right which lets you add people to collaborate.
When you touch the button, you have the option to send a link via email, email the document as an attachment, or copy the link to the document on OneDrive so you can send it to a colleague any way you like. Once they receive it, they can login to your document and you can work simultaneously and see what your colleague is doing in real time.