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Microsoft Launches New Office Apps for iPhone, Makes Creating and Basic Editing Free on iOS

Back in March, Microsoft launched dedicated Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for the iPad in a first effort to bring Office capabilities to everyone, everywhere. The apps have been highly successful, garnering more than 40 million downloads, and as of today, Microsoft is expanding its Office for iOS suite, offering dedicated Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps on the iPhone.

While Microsoft's Office apps for the iPhone have been designed with the existing iPad apps in mind, offering full feature parity, the iPhone versions have been built to adapt to the iPhone's smaller interface and optimized to put touch controls first.

All three apps take advantage of an innovative "vertical ribbon" that puts a full suite of editing tools right within thumb's reach at the bottom of the device's screen. Each individual app also has built-in tools to make the viewing experience more streamlined on the iPhone's Retina screen.

microsoftwordforiphone
Word for iPhone, main view and review changes view

In Word, there's a Reflow button (located at the top menu bar) that shifts to a mobile-optimized view for reading and previewing what's been added to a document, and in Excel, Microsoft has focused on making it simple to edit formulas. Tapping on a cell brings up editing buttons and a dedicated formula keyboard.

Excel has a fullscreen view that lets users have an unobstructed view of their spreadsheets, and PowerPoint has similar tools, including the ability to project slides from the iPhone using AirPlay.

microsoftiphonexcel
Excel for iPhone, main view and Pivot Table view

Today's Office update that brings Microsoft's popular productivity apps for the iPhone also includes new features and functionality for the iPad versions.

In addition to expanding its Office apps to the iPhone and updating its iPad apps, Microsoft has also decided to offer the core Office experience on the iPhone and iPad to all users for free. That means Office users will no longer be required to have an Office 365 subscription in order to access features like basic editing.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint users on iOS will be able to view, edit, create, and print documents for free, but many advanced editing capabilities will still be reserved for Office 365 subscribers. For example, advanced change tracking features in Word such as accepting or rejecting changes are reserved for subscribers, as are Pivot Tables in Excel and Presenter View in PowerPoint. Office 365 subscribers also get 1TB of OneDrive storage.

Microsoft's Office apps for the iPhone are compatible with the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus, and include full optimization for the two larger-screened iPhones. iOS 7 or later is required.

Since releasing Office for iPad in March, Microsoft has added 150 new features. Microsoft's Principal User Experience Manager Han-yi Shaw told MacRumors that the company will continue to aggressively add features in the future, and it is investigating new iOS 8 technologies like Handoff.

Microsoft's updated apps, which are now universal, will be available today from the App Store.

- Microsoft Word [Direct Link]
- Microsoft Excel [Direct Link]
- Microsoft PowerPoint [Direct Link]


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

24 months ago

Why would I want such a limited Office experience?

I mean it's still a free app, but to me this is just clogging my device's valuable storage for free.


Great. Another bloated app that won't do much except take up space on my iPhone/iPad, and demand money to work. I'm getting so tired of 'in app purchases'...


Jeez, there's no pleasing some people.

We're talking about free and open compatibility here - this update will be a great solution for people who are migrating from PCs. And for those who aren't, basic editing directly in these apps will save having to go through Pages and exporting a DOC/XLS/PPT file. This can only be a positive move to speed up workflows. Not everyone who requires Office needs top-end features.

And I should also add that this update brings the suite to an entire new level of productivity, making iWork look amateur by comparison. Apple really need to step up their game with the handling of iCloud and the U.I.
Rating: 48 Votes
24 months ago
Despite being "limited" I still appreciate the fact that they are doing something to be cross platform. I'm all in with Apple for personal computers and portable devices, but I still spend enough time (work) dealing exclusively with Microsoft that these offerings are quite useful.
Rating: 37 Votes
24 months ago
There are a lot of people who have to use Office for work. This is a value add for all those people because they can have access while on the go. It's not very hard to figure out. Just because you're not the target user doesn't mean it's bad.
Rating: 29 Votes
24 months ago

Why would I want such a limited Office experience?

If there's any reason to go with Microsoft Office over any other solution it's that it's the closest to the set Microsoft standard for obvious reasons.

The basic features mentioned here and then some I get anywhere else anyways...

I mean it's still a free app, but to me this is just clogging my device's valuable storage for free.

Glassed Silver:mac


Great. Another bloated app that won't do much except take up space on my iPhone/iPad, and demand money to work. I'm getting so tired of 'in app purchases'...


Not really sure what there is to complain about. If you don't download it, how will the app just being available clog/take up space on your devices? It's not like this is the U2 download.:D

As with everything, some will find it useful and some won't. It's free for those who want it. But to complain about it taking up space on your device when you could, I don't know, not download it, seems a little like complaining just to complain.:confused:
Rating: 24 Votes
24 months ago
Great. Another bloated app that won't do much except take up space on my iPhone/iPad, and demand money to work. I'm getting so tired of 'in app purchases'...
Rating: 11 Votes
24 months ago
You can certainly distinguish the younger people here from those that need MS Office to put food on the table.

One day you kiddies will find out that iWork will get you laughed out of the office. And if you send your colleagues a spreadsheet done in "Numbers" well, you might get laughed out for good. :)

Some of you might get through college by converting your Pages docs to Word if they're simple enough but eventually you'll have to get on board with the rest of the world when you get jobs that require document collaboration.

And enough with this anti-subscription nonsense. The 1TB cloud space is worth the fee alone. (Particularly for iPads with puny storage).
Rating: 8 Votes
24 months ago

Oh, shut up and die, Microsoft. No one likes you.


Apparently more than 90% of the world feels differently.

And even in the bubble that is our little Apple RDF, didn't these very apps top the charts for downloads to iDevices? For a bunch of "no ones", apparently an awful lot of MSFT haters downloaded anyway. Or did you miss this part:

The apps have been highly successful, garnering more than 40 million downloads


Just checked the Productivity section of the App Store. Top grossing: #1 Word, #5 Excel and #9 PowerPoint, even though these just came out not long ago. Apparently "no one" is doing a lot of app buying.
Rating: 7 Votes
24 months ago

Just use Pages and Keynote and export as the Office equivalent. The way I see it, Pages is as good as Word but much, much easier to use. Numbers is not as good as Excel and Keynote is considerably better than Powerpoint and still much easier to use.


It works fine if you're a student working on papers, or for personal use. But there are a lot of people who can't get away with multiple import-export cycles between Pages and Word, Numbers and Excel, and Keynote and Powerpoint. It's still a risk that the formatting won't be exactly the same, or a font will change, or something along those lines (and Numbers isn't even close to Excel). That's unacceptable in most lines of business.

Try editing a .DOC from a subordinate in Pages and then re-exporting back to .DOC and turning it in for publishing. It's not worth it. There's a reason people still use Windows overwhelmingly for professional work and that's compatibility and familiarity. Having the options available on iOS get better is good for everyone. If nothing else, it allows you to more easily keep your Apple hardware and still get your work done without annoying everyone else with cross-platform glitches.
Rating: 7 Votes
24 months ago
Seriously people, what more could you want from Microsoft? They've now made their mobile office suite largely free. Since releasing Office for iOS they have been very aggressive about updating it and it's more than decent. If you need the full programs you now get access for mobile devices, 5 computers, a bunch of Skype credit, and unlimited OneDrive storage for $99/year!

Sheesh.
Rating: 7 Votes
24 months ago
Glad to read a few more considered responses to balance out the "M$ sucks. Office sucks!" crowd.

Basic editing etc for free and there are still complaints? Fine. Don't download it, don't use it. Be happy with iWork, Google Docs or whatever else works for you.

For the rest of us who need to regularly interact with the world of business, MS Office is the default format and tool for information interchange. Filling out .docx application forms using any tool other than Word risks incorrect rendering, introducing layout errors etc. Telling prospective employers that "M$ sucks!" is simply not an option.

Basic editing on iOS & the web for free? Or full iOS editing + desktop office + copious amounts Office integrated OneDrive storage for a fee?

Given that I've happily paid Evernote £40 per year for offline notes syncing, increased storage, priority OCR scanning of images etc then the various Office 365 tiers don't look so bad.

By all means avoid using Office if you don't need it, but for the rest of who do NEED it the Office 365 suite and increased OneDrive storage is improving at a fair clip.

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Seriously people, what more could you want from Microsoft? They've now made their mobile office suite largely free. Since releasing Office for iOS they have been very aggressive about updating it and it's more than decent. If you need the full programs you now get access for mobile devices, 5 computers, a bunch of Skype credit, and unlimited OneDrive storage for $99/year!

Sheesh.


Quite. Just on storage alone it's a better value proposition than the paid tiers for iCloud Drive) albeit without iOS backup etc.
Rating: 6 Votes

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