Posts tagged Office

Google Webmaster Trends Team Wants To Visit Your Office

Gary Illyes from Google announced on Google+ that the Google Webmaster Trends Analyst team is looking to observe you and your company, while you work. Gary said Google is looking to sit with companies, agencies, and website owners at their office and watch them as they work on “managing their…



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SEO Consultancy Ltd New York Office is Now Fully Staffed and Open for Business – Broadway World

SEO Consultancy Ltd New York Office is Now Fully Staffed and Open for Business
Broadway World
Alongside their first offices that were opened in London, United Kingdom, over five years ago, SEO Consultancy Ltd are now pleased to be able to count New York as another city where they now have an office and physical presence. The New York offices of …

and more »

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With Mailbox For Desktop, We May All Live At The Post Office Again

After years of grieving Eudora, my beloved but long-lost desktop-email client, I’ve found a replacement. It’s called Mailbox.

Starting Tuesday, more people will be able to get their hands on it. Dropbox, which bought Mailbox last year, is opening up its beta program a little wider.

See also: How Mailbox Scaled To One Million Users In Six Weeks

I’ll tell you more about how you can get an invite in a bit. But first, let me tell you a story of love and loss.

Eudora: A Love Story

In 1995, when I was an intern at Mother Jones magazine, my then-boss, Joel Truher, introduced me to Eudora. For the next 16 years, I took Eudora everywhere I went.

Eudora has a charming back story: It was named after Eudora Welty, the author of the short story “Why I Live at the P.O.” Like the protagonist of Welty’s story, we live in our own personal post offices, deluged in digital postcards. While there have been attempts to kill off email, the truth is that it will never stop coming.

At Time Inc., my colleagues and I went through four email systems in the course of eight years. I figured out hacks to make sure that whatever bizarre system my overlords came up with, I could still use clean, simple Eudora.

See also: Innovating The Email Inbox—Without “Delete All”

It had spam filters. It had rules. I could “bounce” emails from one account to another, to deal with the annoyance of people sending work-related emails to personal addresses, or vice versa. And Eudora stored email in a simple, compact, text-based format, making search a dream—as long as I had my laptop with me.

Eudora’s ’90s look (via <a href=”http://copper.net”>Copper.net</a>)

I knew that Gmail was making desktop email obsolete. But I had a system that worked, and I was hell-bent on holding onto it as long as I could.

It was actually Apple, not Google, that killed Eudora. I wanted to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7 to get some new wonder—probably iPhoto’s Photo Stream feature. I didn’t realize that meant saying goodbye to Eudora. Qualcomm, which had bought Eudora some years back, had stopped supporting the software, turning it over to an open-source project which promptly abandoned it. There would never be an update.

I tried to cope. Apple Mail was no substitute. I gave up and started redirecting one of my personal domains to a Gmail account, to gain the benefit of Google’s spam filtering. And unlike Eudora, I had no way of consolidating my multiple email accounts into one interface. 

I hated Gmail disappearing under a mountain of browser tabs, so I created my own Gmail app with Fluid, a tool which turns Web apps into standalone Mac OS X apps. That gave me a little bit of the feel of an old-fashioned desktop email client. But it wasn’t really the same.

More and more, I looked for ways to communicate that bypassed email: Twitter, Facebook, Campfire, Yammer, Skype, Slack, and others.

My most common routine with email these days: Select all. Uncheck one or two emails. Mark as read. Archive. If I were Welty’s postmistress, I’d be dumping postcards into the bins by the fistful.

Why I Love Mailbox (Despite All Its Flaws)

It hasn’t been easy finding an email app I can truly love. I’ve been too wounded by bad relationships and messy breakups with bad software. I didn’t know if I could trust Mailbox. I didn’t know if my heart could open up again.

So we started out slow. Mobile-only, as most modern relationships begin. I learned to swipe right to archive, swipe left to keep. I could reschedule emails to appear at a time when I could deal with them.

See also: Google To World: Encrypted Email Is The New Black

It was beautiful. I fell hard for Mailbox. I even put up with its quirks and limitations. For months, I only used Mailbox to read email, because it didn’t support Gmail aliases, a feature I require in order to send emails from my readwrite.com address. It sounds crazy that I’d switch back and forth between two apps like that, but Mailbox’s central metaphor—the idea of delaying or rescheduling email, like a task to be completed at the appropriate time—was too perfect. It didn’t help Gmail’s cause that its iOS app struggled with performance issues.

Mailbox gradually added my must-have features, including support for aliases and services besides Gmail. I eventually deleted my Gmail app from my iPhone and went Mailbox-only. 

Mailbox-only on mobile, that is. When I got to work, it was back to my desktop—and back to Gmail. Occasionally I’d fish out my phone just to use Mailbox to reschedule an email to appear in my inbox later. If switching between apps just to get a feature seemed crazy, switching between devices must seem downright loony—but that’s what I ended up doing.

Then came Mailbox for desktop. For the past six weeks, I’ve been living in a world where I go from Mailbox on my phone to Mailbox on my Mac. (At present, Mailbox is only available for Mac OS X.)

For email triage, Mailbox is a beautiful thing. But I still find myself switching to my handrolled Gmail app for a few tasks. Gmail’s smooth integration with other Gmail services like Google Calendar and Hangouts is hard to miss. Mailbox for Mac also still has a few flaws which remind me of the early days of Mailbox for iPhone—it keeps forgetting that I prefer my readwrite.com email alias, for example.

I’m willing to forgive Mailbox these shortcomings, though, because I finally have an experience that reminds me of the good old days of Eudora. It takes me back to the time when I lived at the electronic post office.

What Mailbox Is Delivering

On Tuesday morning, Mailbox for Mac is getting distributed to a wider set of beta testers. 

Existing Mailbox users on iOS and Android will get an invitation called a “betacoin,” and they’ll in turn get three betacoins to share with their friends. It’s a strategy of artificial scarcity reminiscent of the old system Google used to limit Gmail signups using invitations—and a spin on the waiting list Mailbox originally created for its mobile app.

Mailbox’s clean interface is a relief for Gmail clutter.

New features include the ability to save drafts, as well as some improvements geared around desktop email, like better keyboard shortcuts.

When I sat down with Sean Beausoleil, Mailbox’s first engineer in its startup days who remains a key member of the Mailbox team at Dropbox, I mentioned some items on my wishlist.

On top: calendar integration. On mobile, I find it fairly simple to switch between Mailbox and Sunrise, a calendar app, to set up a meeting. (Acompli, a Mailbox competitor puts calendaring into its mobile email client, an all-in-one approach I find overly complicated.) On desktop, though, I’d like a one-click switch between email and calendar, like the one I get with Google Apps.

Mailbox doesn’t have any calendar features today, but it’s clearly something Beausoleil and the rest of the team are working out how to deliver.

“When you communicate a lot, calendar is a natural thing” to think about, Beausoleil told me. “You can think of calendar invites as becoming derivative of the conversation, and not explicit. You can figure out when someone needs to meet based on what they’re saying.”

Mailbox for Mac’s message-deferral tool is its key feature.

Another thing Beausoleil and the rest of the Mailbox team are thinking about is tagging. If you’ve ever been unable to find an email thread because your mental categorization of the conversation doesn’t match the literal words that appear in its text, you know why this would be a good thing.

In Eudora, I used to maintain supremely well-organized folders of emails by company, mailing list, and subject. Most people didn’t bother to use emails like I did—and email can only live in one folder at a time.

“Folders are where email goes to die,” says Beausoleil.

Tagging isn’t something Mailbox contemplated when it was a mobile app, Beausoleil said, but they’re thinking about it now for desktop, an environment where adding keywords to make emails more findable makes sense. And it’s a more flexible approach than Gmail’s labels, which assume you’ll only put email in a very limited set of categories.

I still miss Eudora. But I have hope that Mailbox can be a far better postmistress than Eudora ever was.

All I know is that Dropbox better not screw this one up. Because I can’t have my heart broken by an email program one more time.

Photo by Billy Hathorn; Eudora screenshot via Copper.net; Mailbox screenshots courtesy of Dropbox

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Search In Pics: Google Excavations, Google Massage Rooms & Cusco Peru Office

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. Google London Massage Rooms: Source: Google+ Sleeping Google Street View…



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Search In Pics: Female GoogleBot, Twitter’s London Office & Pandas On Google Maps

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. Google Maps With Hundreds Of Pandas: Source: Google+ Twitter’s New UK…



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Wearables At Work Will Reshape The Office

 

ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self.

Salesforce, the maker of online tools for tracking customers and helping employees collaborate, is the latest company to try and capture the buzz around wearable devices, following in the Nike-clad footsteps of Samsung and Apple. Earlier this week, it introduced Salesforce Wear, a set of code libraries to help build apps that connect Salesforce’s data with smartwatches, activity trackers, computerized glasses, and other sensor-laden gadgets we wear on our bodies.

The obvious thing to do with this software is build simple notification apps. Meetings get more productive if employees aren’t constantly pulling out their smartphones, and can instead stay in touch with a simple glance at the wrist. But I’m more intrigued by the notion of connecting the world of work to the world of fitness.

Out Of The Rat Race And Onto The Treadmill Desk

Most of us spend hours a day at the office, much of it sitting down, at considerable cost to our health. Persuaded by headlines that declare that sitting is the new smoking, we’re trying treadmill desks and other measures to get ourselves moving at work. These are still outliers, though, in a world where most managers define their team’s productivity by the number of butts they see in cubicle seats.

See also: Life (And Work) On The Treadmill

In the United States, thanks to our system of employer-paid healthcare, the cost to our health hits companies’ bottom lines.

One of Salesforce’s new wearables partners is Fitbit, whose devices track steps, sleep, and other wellness metrics. What if we hooked those up to corporate calendars and had an app that automatically scheduled activity breaks or walking meetings? Or, for those lucky enough to work at a company that encourages sleeping on the job, midday naps for the weary road warrior?

Another Salesforce partner, Bionym, makes a device, the Nymi, that uses biological signals like heart rate to identify a person. That has big implications for high-security environments like banks and data centers.

Big Brother Is Watching You Work Out

Going farther into the future, what if our employers ask us to let them measure such signals for other purposes, like detecting stress levels? That seems Orwellian, but some companies already use voice analysis on employees and job applicants. For certain workers, like bus drivers or firefighters, there could be a strong public-safety rationale for such measurements—and researchers are already exploring the concept.

Imagine the impact on company leadership if a CEO could see in real time how her employees reacted to her speech at an all-hands meeting. Do their pulses go up? Are they angry or happy?

There are huge privacy implications here, of course. We already give up a lot when we enter the workplace, often consenting to drug tests or email screening. But when it comes to actually asking us to wear a device eight hours a day, employers will have to deliver big benefits to justify the invasion.

Will workers stand for such treatment? Maybe—if, in return, it means they don’t have to sit.

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How Google Docs And Sheets Stack Up To iWork And Office

Google has housed its productivity apps under the Google Drive label since launching it in 2012, but no longer. The search giant on Wednesday unbundled new Docs and Sheets apps—for text documents and spreadsheets, respectively—and will shortly also release Slides, a PowerPoint rival, into the wild as well.

It’s not entirely clear why Google is backing away from its monolithic Drive approach, although it’s apparently fairly serious about nudging users into the new standalone apps:

If you don’t have time now, over the next few days you’ll be prompted to download the apps when you go to edit or create a document or spreadsheet in your Drive app.

Google, however, also made clear that Drive isn’t going away, so the strategic direction here is a bit murky. Some have speculated that Google wanted to unlimber its apps to compete more directly with Microsoft Office (now available for the iPad as well as on Windows devices) and Apple’s own iWork productivity suite—primarily Pages for documents, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for slides.

So let’s have a quick look at how Google Docs and Google Sheets stack up against their rivals.

Google vs. Microsoft vs. Apple

  • Price: Docs and Sheets are free (presumably, Slides will be as well). So are Apple’s offerings—at least to buyers of new iDevices. Others pay $10 for Pages, Numbers and Keynote—each—so that’s $30 for all three. Office for the iPad, meanwhile, is technically free, although the app limits you to read-only document access until you pony up for an Office 365 subscription, which will set you back $70 a year. (You can use the more limited Office Mobile for free on Android and iOS so long as it’s for personal use.) Winner: Google, with Apple a close runner-up
  • Offline use: Google launched its Docs and Sheets apps with a new capability Drive didn’t offer—the ability to create and work on documents offline. Office for iPad allows similar access; so do the Apple productivity apps. Winner: a three-way tie
  • Device availability: Google’s apps run on all Android and iOS devices, but aren’t available for Windows Phone devices. Pages, Numbers and Keynote run on all iOS devices, but not Android or Windows Phone. As for Office—well, let’s just say that in classic Microsoft fashion, you’re stuck with a hodgepodge of different options, including full-fledged Microsoft Office for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets; Office for iPad for, well, the iPad; nothing for Android tablets and the stripped-down Office Mobile for smartphone use (iOS, Android and Windows Phone). Winner: Google
  • Features: This gets messy fast. Docs and Sheets are relatively full-featured on Android devices, but on iOS they’re considerably pared down—for instance, offering no support for images, tables or hyperlinks. Apple’s iWork suite, meanwhile, generally wins high praise for its plethora of formatting options and tools such as interactive charts. Reviewers have generally praised Office for iPad (with the caveat that it’s mainly for existing Office 365 subscribers), although they have been less kind to Office Mobile; full-fledged Office on Windows 8/RT, meanwhile, has no real commercial competition. Winner: Apple, with Microsoft a close runner-up

The Great Unbundling?

It’s hard not to notice a parallel between Google’s move toward standalone productivity apps and hinted changes at its Google+ social network. Following the abrupt departure of Google+ chief Vic Gundotra earlier this week, rumors have swirled that the company may be unwinding its social tentacles from the apps and services it has enwrapped over the past year or so.

Perhaps there’s a larger unbundling trend afoot at the Plex. 

Image by Flickr user Adam Hyde, CC 2.0

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Box Challenges Microsoft: Give Us Your Office Docs

In an apparent effort to win over more users for its online-storage service, Microsoft said that OneDrive for Business customers would now get a full terabyte of storage for their documents, up from 25 gigabytes. 

But it’s the way Microsoft announced the news that is turning into the real story. John Case, the Microsoft executive whose byline is on the post, used the headline “Thinking outside the box.”

Subtle, Microsoft. Real subtle. The point wasn’t lost on Box CEO Aaron Levie, who responded in kind, calling on Microsoft to open up Office to other online-storage options besides OneDrive.

Boxing Office Users In

Case alluded to both Box and Dropbox in the blog post. He described Box as a “point solution”—a typical dig in the old enterprise-software world, but one that ignores the ease of integration now possible through application programming interfaces. The reality is that Microsoft has always been protective of its lucrative Windows and Office products, and its recent moves back this up. It launched Office for the iPad without the ability to use documents from any other cloud service besides OneDrive.

Box’s Levie wrote that he looked forward to working with Microsoft in the cloud, and called on Microsoft to allow online Office users to store documents in other services, including Box. (Users of the desktop version of Office can store documents anywhere, including Box and Dropbox.)

The odd background to this very public tiff is that Microsoft and Box have collaborated in other areas. Levie appeared last year on stage at Microsoft’s Build developer conference, which highlighted the software giant’s collaboration with smaller companies.

Old Microsoft, New Microsoft

The strategy of OneDrive lock-in feels like classic Microsoft—but not like the open, partner-embracing company that new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is trying to build.

Case ended his post by mentioning how the cloud is about lowering barriers between people and information, and not creating islands. As Levie pointed out, the lack of other cloud services included in Office for the iPad is exactly the kind of barrier Microsoft is sort of claiming it would like to see less of.

Furthermore, the kind of island Case describes is also evident in OneDrive. As with Office for the iPad, OneDrive users are locked into Microsoft’s cloud, and aren’t able to import documents from other cloud systems directly on mobile devices.

That’s the tension in today’s Microsoft. On the one hand, it wants to cater to all the tools and services developers prefer, and it’s made a big effort to communicate its support for non-Microsoft services and platforms. But it also wants to build a big, successful cloud-software business, which means signing up businesses and consumers as subscribers to Office and OneDrive. 

We asked Microsoft for comment on whether it planned to 

Feature Attraction

Levie has a point. The loser here seems to be Office users, who have to download documents from OneDrive and share them by email to work around MIcrosoft’s limitations. That’s not the kind of workflow that makes things easier for customers, Levie pointed out in his post.

For example, Microsoft took a month to add a feature that let users print Office 365 documents from its iPad app.  Google has had cloud printing for a while, and Box has a couple of apps that allow printing of documents from the cloud.

Printing is just one example of a missing feature. In a cloud-first, mobile-first world—the world Microsoft’s Nadella says the company now lives in—the days when software companies had to build all their features themselves are long gone. If Microsoft had launched Office for iPad with Box integration, it could have offered customers a convenient option while it worked on its own native printing feature. Until it sheds old, bad habits, Microsoft is going to remain stuck on its own software island.

Photo of Satya Nadella by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

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Box Makes Challenge to Microsoft: Give Us Your Office Docs

In an apparent effort to win over more users for its online-storage service, Microsoft said that OneDrive for Business customers would now get a full terabyte of storage for their documents, up from 25 gigabytes. 

But it’s the way Microsoft announced the news that is turning into the real story. John Case, the Microsoft executive whose byline is on the post, used the headline “Thinking outside the box.”

Subtle, Microsoft. Real subtle. The point wasn’t lost on Box CEO Aaron Levie, who responded in kind, calling on Microsoft to open up Office to other online-storage options besides OneDrive.

Boxing Office Users In

Case alluded to both Box and Dropbox in the blog post. He described Box as a “point solution”—a typical dig in the old enterprise-software world, but one that ignores the ease of integration now possible through application programming interfaces. The reality is that Microsoft has always been protective of its lucrative Windows and Office products, and its recent moves back this up. It launched Office for the iPad without the ability to use documents from any other cloud service besides OneDrive.

Box’s Levie wrote that he looked forward to working with Microsoft in the cloud, and called on Microsoft to allow online Office users to store documents in other services, including Box. (Users of the desktop version of Office can store documents anywhere, including Box and Dropbox.)

The odd background to this very public tiff is that Microsoft and Box have collaborated in other areas. Levie appeared last year on stage at Microsoft’s Build developer conference, which highlighted the software giant’s collaboration with smaller companies.

Old Microsoft, New Microsoft

The strategy of OneDrive lock-in feels like classic Microsoft—but not like the open, partner-embracing company that new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is trying to build.

Case ended his post by mentioning how the cloud is about lowering barriers between people and information, and not creating islands. As Levie pointed out, the lack of other cloud services included in Office for the iPad is exactly the kind of barrier Microsoft is sort of claiming it would like to see less of.

Furthermore, the kind of island Case describes is also evident in OneDrive. As with Office for the iPad, OneDrive users are locked into Microsoft’s cloud, and aren’t able to import documents from other cloud systems directly on mobile devices.

That’s the tension in today’s Microsoft. On the one hand, it wants to cater to all the tools and services developers prefer, and it’s made a big effort to communicate its support for non-Microsoft services and platforms. But it also wants to build a big, successful cloud-software business, which means signing up businesses and consumers as subscribers to Office and OneDrive. 

We asked Microsoft for comment on whether it planned to 

Feature Attraction

Levie has a point. The loser here seems to be Office users, who have to download documents from OneDrive and share them by email to work around MIcrosoft’s limitations. That’s not the kind of workflow that makes things easier for customers, Levie pointed out in his post.

For example, Microsoft took a month to add a feature that let users print Office 365 documents from its iPad app.  Google has had cloud printing for a while, and Box has a couple of apps that allow printing of documents from the cloud.

Printing is just one example of a missing feature. In a cloud-first, mobile-first world—the world Microsoft’s Nadella says the company now lives in—the days when software companies had to build all their features themselves are long gone. If Microsoft had launched Office for iPad with Box integration, it could have offered customers a convenient option while it worked on its own native printing feature. Until it sheds old, bad habits, Microsoft is going to remain stuck on its own software island.

Photo of Satya Nadella by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

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How to Get Started with Microsoft Office on iPad

Now that Microsoft Office is available on the iPad, it’s a runaway hit: The three apps in the mobile productivity suite are sitting solidly at the very top ranks of Apple’s App Store.

Here’s how to get started.

First, Make Room For Office

All of the apps are sizable, running between 215 and 259 megabytes just to install. Together, they’ll take up nearly a gigabyte. If you have an older iPad or one with smaller capacity, or you store a lot of music and movies on it, this may be a concern. The apps rapidly expand in usage, too: In just a few hours of testing, Microsoft Word had expanded to take 500 megabytes on my iPad.

All of the files you work on and store locally will require their own space. So make sure you have at least a few gigabytes free. If you don’t have enough space, delete unused apps or consider reducing the amount of media you store on the device. (This may require syncing your iPhone with a cable and using iTunes.)

Next, Find The Apps

When Microsoft first launched iPad versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, they were hard to find in the App Store, buried under Office substitutes like CloudOn and office-themed games. But now, when you search for “Microsoft Office” in the App Store, the three apps show up as you’d expect. Apple’s also currently lending Microsoft a hand by featuring them on the App Store, making them even easier to find.

Still, you may be better off by searching for “Word”, “PowerPoint,” and “Excel.” (There’s no all-in-one office suite like you have on desktop devices, or like Microsoft’s Office Mobile app which offers simple reading and editing of text documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.)

If you’re still having trouble, you can follow these links:

(There’s also a version of Outlook for the iPad called “OWA for iPad”; it appears to be Outlook Web Access with a simple software wrapper to turn it into an iPad app. It doesn’t have the same kind of native look and feel that the new Office apps have, so we’ll leave it out of this discussion.)

How To View Documents For Free

This is most of what can be done with an open document in the free version of Word for iPad.

This is most of what can be done with an open document in the free version of Word for iPad.

The free version of Microsoft’s Office apps only let you view documents. The first problem you’ll run into: How do you get those documents on your iPad?

There are two main options: email attachments, and Microsoft’s OneDrive service, an alternative to Dropbox or Google Drive that offers some free online storage.

  • If you have an Office document in your email, press and hold down on the attachment in Mail. You’ll get a dialog box that offers Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint as an option for reading the document. The app will store the file locally.
  • If you use Hotmail or Outlook.com for email, or play with Xbox Live, you already have a Microsoft account you can use to sign up for OneDrive. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a new Microsoft account. Either way, you’ll get 7 gigabytes of free storage. If you move documents into your OneDrive on your desktop, you’ll also have access to them within Office iPad apps.

Once you’ve gotten the file into the app, you can view it for free. 

Saving an uploaded Word document with the free version of Word for iPad.

Saving an uploaded Word document with the free version of Word for iPad.

What you can’t do unless you pay up: edit or share those documents.

Taking A Look Inside Word For iPad

Here’s more of what you can do without a paid subscription:

  • The Open menu is the workhorse. This is where you can add more OneDrive accounts or SharePoint Sites, if your workplace uses that software.
  • The Recent menu shows what documents have been accessed in the past. 
  • Once a document is open, the Home, Insert, Layout, Review, View and Picture menus are live, but all of the tools below them are grayed out. The only exceptions are under the Review and Home menus. Under the Review menu, you can press Show Markup for comments, insertions and deletions, formatting, revisions. Under the Home tab, the Show/Hide Paragraph button is live so you can see paragraph breaks.
  • Additionally, there are a few icons across the top of the screen above the ribbon. They include a familiar back button, a File icon that when pressed shows document properties, and a Help and Support section. AutoSave doesn’t work, because you can’t make changes to a document. Other options under the File menu are grayed out, too.
  • On the top right side, there is a search icon and a share icon, but only the search function is enabled. Sharing files via email or as a link is not enabled on the free version. 

What You Get When You Pay

To really get the benefit of Office for iPad, you need a subscription to Office 365. For home users, this costs $99.99 a year or $9.99 a month, which covers installing Office software on up to five PCs and five tablets. For business users, there’s a variety of pricing plans—but if your employer’s paying for it, you’re probably not too worried about those details. One immediate bonus: Your OneDrive storage gets bumped up by 20 gigabytes.

An Office 365 subscription unlocks most of the features you’d expect from the desktop versions of Microsoft Office.

  • Since we’re working in the cloud here, AutoSave is the order of the day. You can turn it off under the File menu in the upper left. For OneDrive documents, saving there is done automatically unless AutoSave is toggled off. When we are done with editing, we can go press the Back button in the upper left, and if AutoSave hasn’t captured the most recent changes, a dialog will appear indicating that it’s saving changes to OneDrive.

Using the toggle without a mouse is smoothly enabled here via touch on the iPad.

Using the toggle without a mouse is smoothly enabled here via touch on the iPad.

  • You can now share documents too, with the Share menu at the top right. Choices under this menu are Email as Link, Email as Attachment and Copy Link. Email as Attachment doesn’t give the option of sending the document in view-only mode, but Email as Link does. Copy Link saves a shareable link the clipboard, for posting on social networks, sharing via instant messenger, or other uses.

One big option you won’t find: printing. Unlike Google, which offers cloud-based printing services for Google Docs, Microsoft doesn’t have this feature yet. It’s coming soon, the company says.

Digging Into Excel And PowerPoint

The other Office apps for iPad have similar file-management functions. But they have special features designed for editing spreadsheets and presentations on a tablet. Again, you’ll need a paid subscription to Office 365 to enjoy these—otherwise the apps are view-only.

With a paid subscription, Excel for iPad has a special numeric keypad that includes formula buttons.

This fancy numeric keypad is only available on the iPad, and it’s actually quite necessary do to the limited screen size.<br />

This fancy numeric keypad is only available on the iPad, and it’s actually quite necessary do to the limited screen size.

Creating new spreadsheets with the iPad is definitely easier with the numeric pad, and the formula button aids speedy calculations. Some features seem easier on the iPad version than on the desktop, like changing currency formats. One complaint: There’s no way to scroll down beyond swiping, and that makes navigating large spreadsheets a bit unwieldy. There’s another possible fix for Microsoft in the near future.

The free PowerPoint version is likewise limited, but it’s perfect if you just want to use your iPad to power a presentation. An icon on the upper right allows you to present. To use AirPlay, Apple’s built-in feature for sharing screens, you have to use Apple’s system menu that’s accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. One improvement Microsoft could make: AirPlay support built directly into the app.

The paid version includes editing features and one really handy bonus: a laser-pointer effect that appears when you press and hold the screen for a long time.

This laser pointer is a nice touch (no pun intended) to PowerPoint for iPad.

This laser pointer is a nice touch (no pun intended) to PowerPoint for iPad.

How To Upgrade To The Paid Version

There are two main ways to get an Office 365 subscription:

  • Inside the app as an in-app purchase, in which case you’ll use your iTunes login to buy a $99.99 annual subscription.
  • Online on office.microsoft.com, which allows you to choose the monthly $9.99 option or the $99.99 annual one.

Microsoft may prefer that you use the second option, since Apple gets a 30% cut of the purchase when you use iTunes to buy it. But buying your subscription online instead of inside the app is confusing, because the website prompts you to download Microsoft’s Office apps through the desktop version of iTunes. Since you’ve already downloaded the apps, skip this confusing step.

Microsoft’s website and its apps don’t clearly explain this to you, but all you have to do to activate the paid features is log in with the Microsoft account you used to purchase your subscription, and the app will enable all the paid features. (If you have an Office 365 subscription through work, log in with the associated account your employer gave you.)

Once we logged in, the app recognized that we were now Office 365 subscribers. With our now fully capable Office apps in hand, we could begin sharing and editing documents across devices, in real time. That’s what makes Office for iPad most useful.

Is it worth the price? That’s a question only you can answer, but we suspect it comes down to how much you use Office documents in your work and life already—and whether your workplace is already paying for it.

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