Office for iPad is Finally Here

Microsoft releases Office for iPad

It has taken four years, but Microsoft has finally released a version of its well-known Office software for Apple’s iPad.

Office for iPad is a set of productivity products that operate as three fully functioning standalone iPad applications as well as compliments to their desktop versions. Office for iPad is available in the App Store as three individual apps: Word for iPad, Excel for iPad and PowerPoint for iPad.

The apps are free, however to create new files and edit existing documents, an Office 365 Home subscription is required. This can be purchased for $99 per year. Without the subscription, users can only review documents and view presentations.

Chief Correspondent for Mashable Lance Ulanoff argues that Microsoft’s set of companion products, which include Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the iPad are nearly everything he would expect in terms of ease of use and productivity.

Although Ulanoff does point out several keep features that are lacking in the apps, like an option to print and a missing scroll bar in Excel, he hopes that Microsoft will remedy these issues with the next version.

“They’re not perfect — there are some shocking feature gaps — but Microsoft has done a more than admirable job of finding the middle ground between Office Suite familiarity and the iPad’s native, touch-and-gesture responsiveness,” wrote Ulanoff.

Technology Analyst Tony Bradley, writing for PC World, performed a side-by-side comparison of Apple’s iWorks suite and Microsoft’s Office programs. Bradley began by creating a document in each of the three iWorks applications: Pages, Numbers and Keynote and proceeded to reopen and edit each document in their Microsoft counterpart: Word, Excel and PowerPoint, respectively. Below are his verdicts on each platform:

Word vs. Pages

Both apps are more than capable of basic document creation and editing. Microsoft wins overall, because many of the formatting options are easier to access, and Word for iPad has a number of features that make it easier to select text and work with images on a touchscreen display. Pages offers more diverse template options, but there are a variety of fidelity issues when working with Microsoft Word files.

Excel vs. Numbers

If you need to create, edit, or even just view an Excel spreadsheet on an iPad, Excel for iPad is the easy winner. There are simply too many issues with formatting and file fidelity with Numbers, and Microsoft has done a superb job at creating a touch-friendly Excel experience.

PowerPoint vs. Keynote

Keynote is a wonderful app for creating presentations. However, PowerPoint is the gold standard, and Microsoft has developed a superior app that brings all of the power of the desktop program to the iPad. If you want to create, edit, or present an actual PowerPoint file, accept no substitute.

Although it took several years to come to fruition, it looks like Microsoft has finally created a streamlined version of its immensely popular productivity suite to work smoothly with the iPad.



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