If you are thinking of purchasing an Office 365 subscription but aren’t sure which devices you can use it with, the following will provide helpful information about device requirements and features you can expect from Office 365 and Office Mobile for your iPad and iPhone. Office 365 subscribers are getting amazing Office products with fast clean designs ready for the mobile office worker with a single app. With Word, Excel, and PowerPoint rolled up into one, users can download files from SkyDrive to their iOS devices.
Microsoft did a great job designing this app in a way that provides the Office tools you need, without the tools you don’t. You can still read, add, and edit comments into a document, which is important when you’re on the go and need to send important updates to your coworkers no matter where they are. You also don’t need an Internet connection in order for the app to work, which helps with the operation as you do your work. Recently opened documents and files will save to your local device so you will always have the ability to backup and save files even if your signal drops.
“Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers” is the full name of the app to download. In many consumer reviews the app has performed quite well. Microsoft incorporated Dropbox for the iPhone or iPad for file saving and sharing. Previously there was no way for the app to communicate with Dropbox, Box.com, or Google Drive so users had to set up a SkyDrive account.
Word for iOS
Word for iOS works as a great word processor which delivers a user friendly interface which makes it easy to edit and create documents on your iPad or iPhone. In the most recent update you can use Dropbox for file storage and sharing. One of the other significant changes Microsoft made over previous releases is that you no longer need a paid Office 365 subscription in order to edit and create documents. You do need to have a OneDrive account in order to store and access documents, however, you only need the free account. There are still some differences in the free and subscription based versions, but many people don’t see a huge difference in the limitations of the free account. Depending on your business needs you may want to go with a paid subscription in order to get the full functionality of Word.
Excel for iOS
As of the latest version, Excel for iOS is now ready to use to create and edit spreadsheets for no cost, but does require a free Microsoft account. After signing up for the Microsoft account you’ll notice a similar experience with Word for iOS. In the most recent version you can save work to iCloud and other online storage services such as Dropbox (as mentioned above). You’ll be required to have iOS v8. While you may not be able to use the full functionality of Excel in the free version you can easily add charts, modify, save, print, and create spreadsheets.
One of the best things about Excel for iOS devices is that it has been optimized for smaller screens. If you’re like me you have problems reading larger spreadsheets, even with a large monitor! This is not a problem if you have an iPad or iPhone 6. You can see up to column G and row 32 or 33. While there is no room for the ribbon on the iPhone screen you can tap on the Edit icon to bring up an edit area. You can then tap another pop up option to select Formulas and scroll through the menu to find the formula you need. For the iPad the ribbon is visible and you only lose one display of line with it. Overall impressions are that if you need to do some quick work in Excel you can do so on an iPhone but if you need to edit and review a spreadsheet in depth you are best using an iPad.
PowerPoint for iOS
Finally, rounding off the Office Mobile suite for iOS is PowerPoint. As with Word and Excel you can expect a few limitations when using the free version versus the premium version with a paid Office 365 subscription. You can view, create, edit, and present PowerPoint presentations with the free version.Audio and video work well and you can even add a video from your iOS based device into a presentation.You can view presentations in Presenter view to review notes and thumbnails of slides. As with Word and Excel you can opt to save files in Dropbox.
This is ideal for those who need to give a presentation while on the road. If you have a presentation complete and ready to go you’ll have no problem giving it to your respective audience. If you want to add custom colors, shapes, WordArt, shadows, and a few other premium features you’ll need to sign in to your paid Office 365 account.
Universal Mobile Keyboard
By this point you may be asking about a keyboard option. Microsoft has made it easy for iPhone and iPad users to work on their Office Mobile documents through their Universal Mobile Keyboard. This is a Bluetooth wireless keyboard which you can pair with your iOS based device to enable you to work with a full size keyboard on the go.
The keyboard has a detachable cover which doubles as a stand for your device. It has a rechargeable battery which lasts up to six months on a single charge. Retailing around $80, this keyboard has a switch that slides for use with iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows OS and uses a separate Bluetooth profile for pairing with multiple devices across multiple platforms. Weighing in at just under 13 ounces the dimensions are approximately 9” by 4” so it is highly portable and roughly the size of a small tablet.