Microsoft Officially Launches Office for iPad Apps

by Dale Wright

Office For iPad

Last week, we brought you the news that Microsoft was preparing to bring its Office productivity suite to iPad, as part of the company’s general move towards cloud software.  Now Microsoft has confirmed Office for iPad, available to download from the App Store immediately.

The general manager for Microsoft Office, Julia White, made the announcement at a special press event in San Francisco yesterday.  The Office for iPad package is available as three separate apps: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.  The three apps are free to download, meaning users can view and share Word documents and Excel spreadsheets and present PowerPoint presentations at no cost.

Microsoft Word for iPad

However – as we expected – you’ll need an Office 365 subscription if you want to be able to create or edit documents.  That costs £79.99 a year in the UK, or $99.99 for US readers.  Whilst that might sound pricey, that allows you to use Office on up to five PCs or Macs, and up to five iPhones or iPads, so a total of ten devices.  If you’re already an Office 365 customer, you’ll be able to access the software on your iPad for free.

In terms of design, the Office for iPad apps are fairly similar to the iPhone versions.  However, a lot more features have been added for iPad users, including a collaboration feature, so multiple users can edit a document through OneDrive.

Other features include intuitive text in Word, so when you insert an image, the words will automatically re-flow around it, as well as a custom numeric keyboard for Excel, to make it easier to add formulas.  White said of the software: “This is definitely not the Windows app ported to the iPad,” and it really does feel like the Office apps have been designed with the iPad in mind.