SASKATOON, SK, Apr 18, 2014/ Troy Media/ – OK, so maybe the headline’s a bit off the mark because, as everyone knows, Office for iPad is FREE from the iTunes App Store.
But is it really?
Not exactly. You have to have a subscription to Office 365 in order to do anything other than open and read documents in Word, Excel or PowerPoint. An Office 365 Premium subscription in Canada runs for $99.99 and is available through Microsoft’s website.
And in the spirit of full disclosure, Office for iPad is a misnomer – it’s not one app, but separate apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, each of which must be downloaded.
So, I’m making this sound like a bad things right? I think what we’re seeing here is the shot across the bow from Microsoft allowing us to look into the future of Office products.
After all, if Adobe can make a subscription model for their software work, so can Microsoft.
So, once you’ve got an active Office 365 account, it’s a pretty simple process to activate Office for iPad.
I have a subscription to Office 365, and I use it quite a bit because I write in many different places on many different devices so I need to be able to access both my data and the software I use to prepare my blogs. I’ve been using Word forever, and although I’m a stupie in terms of PowerPoint and Excel use, I can function in both programs with some level of competence.
In my view, one of the “weaknesses” in iPad software has been the lack of Office apps. I’ve used Apple’s products quite a bit, but I always come back to Word. Plus, Word is pretty well ubiquitous everywhere you look.
To be able to use this program on my iPad is, frankly, a thrill. I love it. Microsoft has now made me able to write what I want, where I want and on whatever platform I want.
I think that the Office suites over the years have proven so successful because they flat-out work perfectly with each other and this newest incarnation is no different. The only problem I see is that you can’t actually print a document from the apps, but I don’t view that as a big deal because I can create and save documents on my OneDrive cloud and print them from another device later without having to reformat or make any changes at all. Microsoft has already gone on record as saying that printing will be one of the first fixes out of the gate – and don’t forget, we couldn’t print from an iPad for around a year when they first came out and millions of folks still bought them anyway. I don’t really think that printing from the app is, for the most part, all that necessary anyway. Being able to open a document and work with it and save the changes is what’s really important to me.
I’m not going to talk about all the cool stuff in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While they aren’t as fully capable as their computer versions, pretty-well everything the average user would ever need is there.
The first step is the most important, with Microsoft making changes in responce to consumers’ wants.
But now I can finally be productive on my iPad – I was before, but now I’m using software I’m very familiar with and can access it from anywhere.
That anywhere part is also important to the Office iPad Aps. Microsoft’s OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is like iCloud in that it’s a personal space in the cloud that those buying a subscription to Office 365 get. This allows users to access their data and files from anywhere – even on an iPad.
If you’re an iPad owner and like to work with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint in particular, you should take a good look at these Apps and the subscription to Office 365. If you own an iPad and already use Office 365 then this is your lucky time of the year. Congratulations, you just became more productive on the same device you can stick in your briefcase and pull out to watch movies, listen to music, surf, get E-mail and text messages.
PROS: Apps work seamlessly with computer-installed versions; using OneDrive to access files is very convenient; most functionality is there; Word is Word now – just about everywhere.
CONS: Not fully-functioned compared to versions on computers; can’t print; must have an Office 365 subscription to be able to work with files.
TO SUM IT UP: It’s about time Microsoft. I’ve used Office for so many years it’s second nature to me so to now have the capability to use it on my iPad is a treat. My hitherto fore device that I mostly used for entertainment has all of a sudden become productive. I’m a happy guy.
Troy Media columnist Murray Hill reviews products weekly. You can follow Murray on Twitter at @MurrayDHill.
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