Microsoft yesterday released an all-in-one Office app for iPads, bringing a new approach to Office on mobile previously seen on iOS and Android to iPadOS. The app combines Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a number of mobile device-specific features, including PDF management tools and a file browser.
A year ago almost to the day, Microsoft released this update to iPhones and Android phones, and the update has appeared on some Android tablets as well. As an iPhone app, it previously ran on iPads but only in a windowed mode of sorts. This new version has a full-screen tablet interface and supports various iPad multitasking features.
Users can still download individual Word, Excel, or PowerPoint apps in the iPad’s App Store; the standalone apps and this all-in-one option seem likely to coexist at least for a while, as the standalone alternatives haven’t gone away on the iPhone.
Apart from making working between the three productivity apps a little more seamless, the app’s main value proposition is the “Actions” panel. In it, users can access quick-action icons to transfer files between devices, convert images to text or tables, sign or scan PDFs, convert PDFs to word, scan QR codes, and do a few other things. The full list is pictured in the gallery above.
Users can access files stored locally on the device, in the cloud via OneDrive, or in iCloud.
The app is available for download today in the App Store for free, but it requires a Microsoft 365 subscription to access all features.
iPad manufacturer Apple has been making significant software and hardware changes to make the iPad a fully viable desktop or laptop replacement, including branching iOS off into a new, iPad-specific version named iPadOS. In our reviews of iPadOS, we have found the operating system functional and sometimes even exceptional, but many frustrations still remain.
Apple is expected to debut a new iPad Pro in the next few months, and the company may add more productivity features with that hardware update.
Listing image by Samuel Axon