Microsoft has this week announced its plans to officially roll out a previously beta version of a unified program that will combine Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into one iPad-optimized app—allowing for a much easier way to navigate the best of Microsoft Office.
According to the Microsoft 365 Marketing Team, hundreds of millions of people use Office to achieve more at work, home, and school—so it only makes sense to have a little more cohesion when dealing with the smaller screen of a tablet.
While Word, Excel, and PowerPoint were already available on both Android and iOS tablets previously, the unified Microsoft Office app will require less bandwidth and make toggling between programs much more cohesive on the small screen.
“We know many people save rich document creation or editing for their computer or laptop and work on their phones in limited ways,” the Microsoft 365 Marketing Team shared in a press release. “We took this as a challenge for Office to find a better overall productivity experience that would change perceptions of how you could work on a mobile device to create an experience that was simpler, more integrated, harnessed the unique strengths of mobile devices, and truly put mobile needs at the forefront.”
So what might motivate someone to use Microsoft Office on a smartphone or tablet, anyway? New features will allow users to use voice dictation to type in a document, take a photo of a physical document and turn it into a Word file, grab photos of a table and turn it into a digital spreadsheet, or even create PowerPoint presentations using images stored on the camera roll—all of which will boast the proper “styling, formatting, and iconography of your content.”
“We’re constantly thinking about ways to enrich the Office mobile experience to help people be more productive on a phone,” the Microsoft 365 Marketing Team added. “We want people to think of the Office mobile experience as a tool they would turn to for content creation and more sophisticated work—not just for light editing and information consumption.”
Interested in optimizing your own experience using Microsoft Office on your tablet? As of this week, anyone can now download the Office app on both Android and iOS tablets and phones. The app is currently free to use—even without signing in.
That being said, signing in with your Microsoft Account or connecting to a third-party storage service (including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud) will allow you to access and store documents in the cloud—which means toggling between your desktop computer and tablet will be easier than ever.
Microsoft users with an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription will also have access to various premium features that already exist in the individual Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps.