Newly appointed Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, announced the release of Office for the iPad last thursday. It is already available in the App store. Nadella took stage late last week – accompanied by an Apple product – to announce the new Office for iPad.

The company has released its most popular software application to the iPad – the Office Suite. Office for iPad will include PowerPoint, Excel, and Word and will join the ranks of the already existing Microsoft iOS apps, OneNote, Lync, OneDrive, and Outlook Web Exchange. Office will be available with a Freemium pricing model. It’s free to download, read, and present. You need to have a subscription to Office 365 to get Office on any device and to edit or modify any documents.

Office for iPad is all new and created just for the tablet. It’s “unmistakingly” Office but customized for use on the iPad and its touchscreen. Microsoft is making it clear they’ve spent some time making it more intuitive for iPad users without sacrificing too many features or styling of the Excel that everybody knows so well. You can edit and store all of the documents locally on your iPad, but the apps are clearly designed for cloud storage using Microsoft’s cloud storage solutions: OneDrive (personal and business) and SharePoint.

We’ll test the new app, but here’s a taste of a couple of the iPad-only features: Microsoft Word has collaboration built in so multiple users can edit a document and send it back into the cloud. Excel had a custom numeric keyboard that pops up in place of the normal iPad QWERTY keyboard. There are also several additional menus to make creating a spreadsheet on a touch screen easier. In Powerpoint, if you hold down you’ll get what looks like a laser-pointer.

Office for iPad is certainly a very highly anticipated and welcome arrival for users looking for a solid productivity app or those who are long-time Office users. We’ll see how it fares in the market.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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