Review: Microsoft Office for iPad is pretty and easy to use

Mar 29 2014, 13:24 IST
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Microsoft Office fans can finally create and update documents on the iPad's significantly bigger display surface. Microsoft Office fans can finally create and update documents on the iPad's significantly bigger display surface.
SummaryMicrosoft released Office for iPad, nearly 4 years after Apple launched the groundbreaking tablet.

large ones I viewed, required a little more pinching and stretching to view, because of their larger size, but were still fairly easy to scroll through.

For people who want to take notes or presentation materials into a meeting without dragging along a stack of printouts or a laptop, this is going to be really handy. And if you use OneDrive, it's nice to know you can always have access to your files on a relatively compact and lightweight device.

Unfortunately, other cloud-based services like Dropbox aren't compatible.

But is it worth the effort to try to create or edit Office documents on an iPad?

Rather than stripping down Office to a super-basic version, like it did with the smartphone software, Microsoft created a version of Office that's customized for the tablet user and includes many of the bells and whistles of the desktop version.

The app is relatively easy to use and its layout is clean and simple. Word's toolbar at the top lets you do things like change the typeface of fonts and size, highlight text and customize margins and columns. You can also insert page breaks and pictures from your iPad's camera roll or photo stream. There's also a nice selection of compatible fonts to choose from -even Wingdings, if you like that sort of thing.

In order to cut and paste and make other changes to text in Word, you have to tap twice on the area you want to update, which brings up a set of scrolling bars, much like in other iOS applications. You can move the bars to select text, then cut copy or paste the selection. It's a little cumbersome and slow, but pretty easy to figure out.

Sadly, the iPad version lacks the speedy keyboard shortcuts of Office's Mac and PC versions.

One nice feature is a built-in AutoSave function, which can be disabled if you're worried about data usage. There's also a basic spell checker, with those familiar red and green lines to warn you of potential mistake, but no thesaurus.

Excel functions are also somewhat paired down, but the app displays documents created elsewhere very nicely. All three of the apps come with sets of templates that speed up the creation of basic documents.

On-the-go business types will probably love the functionality of the Office apps and eagerly add their iPads to their existing Office 365 subscriptions. But I'm curious how much even people like that will use the

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