Dropbox Activates Mobile Office 365 Integration

Users can now access Dropbox files directly from Microsoft's mobile Office apps. The two companies have been working together for some time.

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As promised, Dropbox and Microsoft are knocking down the walls between their productivity and file collaboration offerings.

In a brief Nov. 25 blog post, Dropbox Product Manager Matthew Jaffe announced that his company's mobile apps now supported Office file editing. "Now it's easy to work on the Office files you've stored in Dropbox even when you're on the go—you can edit them from the Dropbox app, and access them directly from the Office apps," he stated. "The new features are available today for Android phone and iOS users."

Jaffe advised users to "make sure your Dropbox app is up-to-date on your iPhone, iPad or Android phone, then open any Office doc, spreadsheet, or presentation in your Dropbox." A tap of the new Edit icon—the familiar pencil-to-paper icon—allows users to edit files using Microsoft's mobile Office apps.

"When you're done, your changes will be saved back to Dropbox automatically," Jaffe wrote.

The move follows last week's release of an updated Office Mobile app for Android handsets. The latest version supports Dropbox as a cloud storage option and Dropbox file sharing, alongside Microsoft's own OneDrive cloud file share and sync capabilities.

In an early sign of their eventual partnership, Dropbox announced in July that it was working on Office-centric features, including full-text search support for Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Months later, the companies would make it official.

Microsoft and Dropbox announced earlier this month that they were partnering to integrate their services. "In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate, regardless of their device or platform," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a Nov. 4 statement. "Together, Microsoft and Dropbox will provide our shared customers with flexible tools that put them at the center for the way they live and work today."

Striking a similar note, Dropbox CEO and co-founder Drew Houston said in a statement that the partnership "will make it easier than ever to collaborate seamlessly across these platforms, giving people the freedom to get more done."

It turns out that Microsoft Office looms large over Dropbox's customer base, Ilya Fushman, head of Product, Business and Mobile at Dropbox, said in a Nov. 4 blog post.

"More than 80,000 organizations around the world use Dropbox for Business to get work done. Most of those businesses also rely on Microsoft Office, the world’s most widely used productivity suite. In fact, Dropbox is home to over 35 billion Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations," he wrote.

After delivering the mobile integrations for iOS and Android, Fushman said his company is working on "Web integrations between the Dropbox Website and Office Online" for delivery during the first half of 2015. "We'll also be releasing a Dropbox app for Windows phone and tablet users in the coming months."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...