Microsoft’s popular productivity suite has finally made its way to one of the most widely used tablets in the world.
Over the past few years there have been countless rumors about Microsoft working on Office for iPad. Recent rumors suggested that the company actually had finished development, and that it was simply waiting on CEO Satya Nadella to pull the trigger. Today, at his first press conference, Nadella announced the launch of Office for iPad.
Microsoft went back to the drawing board for this, and built Word, Excel and PowerPoint from the ground up for Apple’s tablet. The company claims that documents will look “as good as they do” on PC and Mac. It has retained the familiar user experience that many Office users are already well accustomed to. Word on the iPad properly formats images, tables, SmartArt, equations and footnotes. Excel is capable of handling formulas, sparklines, conditional formatting, charts and filters. Users get the proper PowerPoint experience, with transitions, animations, speaker notes and much more. It even has built-in laser pointer, highlighters and pens to aid users as they make presentations.
The company has focused on striking the right balance between Office and the iPad. Word, PowerPoint and Excel apps on the tablet feel quite familiar, particularly if one has used them before on a PC or Mac. Most common commands reside under Hone, and Chart commands automatically appear whenever a chart is select. Moreover, the Ribbon layout and experience maintains the consistency across these different form factors. Though it didn’t forget that the apps needed to be easy to use with simple touch gestures. Touch-friendly handles allow users to easily resize and rotate objects, and when they do, text flows smoothly around them.
Apart from the familiar design and features, Office for iPad includes cloud and Office 365 integration. Users will be able to share content through OneDrive and will also be able to simultaneously work with other people on a document or presentation. With OneDrive and SharePoint, users can simply pick up where they left off, no what which device they used to make edits.
The Office for iPad apps, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, are available for free from the App Store. Though they only allow users to read, view and present documents, presentations and spreadsheets. For full editing features, an Office 365 subscription is required. The productivity suite is only compatible with iPads running iOS 7.0 or higher.