I still remember the days when I could edit Google Doc files on a single app before they decided to split their features up into individual apps (Google Docs & Google Sheets).
Now, Microsoft on the other hand went the opposite direction and brought all the individual apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) under one roof.
Microsoft began this project early 2019 and released a public preview version of the app in November. This version of the app was available to both Android users who signed up through a specific Google Group and iOS testers that registered via Apple’s TestFlight program.
Microsoft officially released Microsoft Office app on Android earlier this week on both Android and iOS. Although the android app has limitations on tablet devices, there’s no iPad-specific version yet to be released.
Great Features That Fit into One App
The name of the app makes it somewhat obvious that the Office app combines PowerPoint, Word, and Excel in one place. At first, someone might think “Is this is just a glorified app folder?”
They’d be wrong.
First off, there’s a home screen which displays any recent files that have been created, accessed or edited on the app.
While it is a simple feature but in reality, would be quite useful as it’ll be able to keep track of work and personal projects very easily. That being said you’ll be able to avoid the unwanted hassle of going through each individual app and spending more time than you need to.
Let’s Take A Deeper Dive into Things
On the bottom half of the screen you’ll notice a plus icon which offers three different options: Note, Lens and Documents. With the notes option you can make post-it notes for your feed.
You can scribble ideas or keep helpful reminders on them be it a meeting or task that you don’t want to forget. Strangely this feature isn’t related to or use Microsoft’s OneNote services. During the time of testing a lot of users have wanted this feature and the Office developer team took it under consideration.
Then, we have the Lens scanner which is capable of scanning documents, whiteboards, and convert them to a digital format for use. Even though this tool has been a stand-alone app on itself it is a welcome edition on this app.
Lastly, the Documents shows nine different shortcuts that help you get started. They range from, a Blank Document for Word, Creating a fresh template for PowerPoint, or a Scan Table for Excel. The “Actions” section on the application also offers additional shortcuts.
These shortcuts provide direct access to useful tools that users might not know about or find it hard to locate inside their favorite office apps.
For example, there’s a PDF section in which you have a one-tap shortcut to hand-signing a PDF file and even converting a Word document into a PDF in a matter of seconds. The dev team behind the app also went on ahead and added a bunch of new features.
Fundamentally, the office app has full range of editing capabilities for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Microsoft intends to retain features equally between the standalone apps along with the new Office app.
If you want to stick to the standalone apps then don’t worry as Microsoft doesn’t intend on stopping development of their individual apps. They’ll be updated alongside the Office app.
You can store files locally or on cloud-base services like, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Also, if you already have a subscription to Office 365 there’s good news. You’ll be able to enjoy the same premium features that you get on the original PowerPoint, Word, and Excel applications.
Microsoft’s Future Plans Regarding the App
Microsoft revealed some features that will be coming to the Office in the next few months. Three features have been mentioned so far and they are, dictation for Word, a special “Cards View” feature that turns long rows on Excel into a more smartphone-friendly vertical list.
And last but not least, an “Outline” option that will enable you to quickly create titles and order slides for presentations on PowerPoint. Afterwards it’ll turn that lackluster presentation into a perfectly presentable slide deck that incorporates iconography and typography seamlessly.
These features will make the app more versatile and user friendly. Since they will continue updating the app, we can hope to see better optimization in terms of UI for Tablet devices in the near future.
If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, you’ll be able to find it on Play Store and Apple Store right now.