One app to rule Microsoft Office
Sure, it makes sense that Microsoft offers separate mobile apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but in a “No duh!” moment, all three apps are now folded into one. And it’s got a really easy name to remember: Microsoft Office.
Available now on iOS and Android, Office isn’t just about having less apps on your home screen or avoiding folders. It’s focused on making Office more mobile-friendly, with support for Box.com, Dropbox, Google Drive, and — yes — even iCloud. Tablet-optimized versions will soon debut on iPad OS and on Android tablets.
How the Microsoft Office app works
Microsoft Office’s home screen looks a lot like the Google Drive home screen you see when you go looking for the different docs and spreadsheets you rely on for work. You get a list of the files you’ve already got in a left tab, and a click of the button allows you to share, pin, and perform other file management tweaks.
The big guns come out when you tap the Actions tab on the right, which brings up tools including Image to Text, which is supposed to extract text.
The other features available for you out of the box revolve around PDF editing. These tricks often match Apple’s own Notes app, including Sign a PDF, Scan to PDF and Document to PDF.
There’s also “Scan QR Code,” which the Apple Camera app already does. Not all Android phones offer this trick, though Google Lens does.
For folks who love Office and already use it for most tasks, this all makes sense. However, I don’t think this will bring many folks like me (who moved to Google’s GSuite) back.
Microsoft’s already promising more features
Don’t expect Microsoft to release the Office app and forget about it. New feature Microsoft informed of: that a voice-to-text Word Dictation translator is coming, with buttons for easily inputting punctuation (ever said “comma” to Siri, hoping it will understand? This sounds a lot better).
office is also going to include a version of Excel that actually looks and feels right on a phone screen. This is called Excel Cards View user interface, which Microsoft is thankfully pivoting to, as the spreadsheet interface we’re used to was designed for big monitors.
Lastly, Microsoft’s new trick for PowerPoint could turn note-takers into presentation wizards. Dubbed “PowerPoint Designer,” it turns outline lists into presentable slides.
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