Office Mobile Apps Join the Windows 10 Parade

Touch-first, tablet-friendly mobile versions of Microsoft's Office apps are now available for the company's new OS.


Although overshadowed by the splashy debut of Windows 10, Microsoft had another major release yesterday.

In a June 29 company blog post, Microsoft's Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Office Client Applications and Services, announced "the availability of the Office Mobile apps on Windows 10—bringing us one step closer to our vision of reinventing productivity. Customers can immediately download and install the apps from the new Windows Store in 190 countries."

Office Mobile (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) kicks off a series of productivity software releases that will take place this year, Koenigsbauer said. "In September, we'll release Office 2016 for Windows desktops and then—later in the fall—we'll release Office Mobile for Windows Phones," he said.

Last month, the software maker released Office 2016 for the Mac, ending the practice of making Mac users wait for their versions of Office to catch up to the Windows version. Office 2016 for Windows desktops will run on Windows 7, 8.x and 10 when it is released later this fall.

The tablet-friendly Office Mobile apps "are built from the ground up for touch, offer the familiar experience that Office customers expect, and deliver the capabilities people need for on-the-go productivity," Koenigsbauer said. "Across each of the apps, customers will appreciate full fidelity viewing of their Office documents, knowing edits and changes made on any device will render perfectly across all their devices."

Hovering over the experience is Microsoft's cloud file storage, sync and share service, OneDrive.

"Tightly integrated with OneDrive, the Office Mobile apps are fully cloud connected, making it easy to access your documents from anywhere, pick up where you last left off, and co-author with others on documents and projects," Koenigsbauer continued. That link to the cloud ensures that documents are automatically saved and helps power the apps' co-authoring capabilities.

The apps offer much of the functionality offered by their desktop counterparts, but with a few mobile-specific features. "For example, the Read mode is a new way to view documents: Word beautifully reflows your document to adapt to small screens and improve readability by adjusting font sizes and allowing you to zoom on charts and tables with a quick tap," he said.

In Excel, users can reorder columns, filter data and add formulas with the software's new gestures. "Excel’s new Recommended Charts feature is ideal for smaller screens and gives you the power to quickly visualize your data with just a few taps," he said.

The PowerPoint app turns a tablet into a mobile, wirelessly connected remote for presentations.

"The Presenter View gives you full control over what your audience sees on the big screen and shows you (and only you!) your speaker notes on your tablet," stated Koenigsbauer. "And new ink, laser pointer and highlighting features let you emphasize key concepts as you present."

OneNote, the final Office Mobile app, is already preinstalled on Windows 10. The note-taking software supports pen input and notebook sharing and synchronization between a given notebook's users.

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 network of...