So you’ve got your shiny new iPad, your beloved Excel spreadsheets and a stack of Word documents, and you’re ready to bring all three together in perfect, productive harmony. Here’s what you need to know before you get started…
Each app is available individually from the App Store
Unlike buying a boxed copy of the Office suite, with Office for iPad you download Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote individually from the App Store. This means you have to spend a bit of extra time downloading them if you want them all, but is great if you only ever use Excel and don’t want to clutter your iPad with apps you’ll never need. The apps are all free, and can be bought from Microsoft’s App Store page here (make sure you scroll down to the ‘iPad Applications’ section).
You’ll need an Office 365 subscription to make the most of Office for iPad
Anyone who downloads an Office for iPad app can open and view files immediately, but only users with an Office 365 subscription can edit, annotate and print them. If you have an Office 365 subscription already, you can install Office for iPad on up to five devices for no extra cost (depending on which subscription you purchase), and sync those devices with your account so that your iPad remembers your permissions, details and preferences.
From that point on, you have access to the full functionality of Office for iPad and can work with documents as if you were working on a desktop computer. You can also sync the device with your OneDrive and SharePoint accounts, meaning you can access and edit anything you have stored there from your iPad.
Your Office for iPad documents will display correctly on any device
If you’ve been using Office alternatives or had the slightly soul crushing experience of moving a PowerPoint presentation between platforms and losing all your formatting, fear not. Office for iPad is different.
Because these apps were built from the ground up to work with iOS and your desktop version of Office, they retain all your formatting and content no matter where they’re opened from. If you edit a document on your desktop, save it to OneDrive and reopen it on your iPad, everything will look and behave as it should, and any changes you make from your iPad will look exactly as they should when you reopen the same doc on your PC or Mac.
You still have the Ribbon
Another benefit of these apps being redesigned from the ground up for iOS is the fact that they combine the best of iPad and Office when it comes to getting things done.
You can swipe to scroll, tap and drag to resize images, pinch to zoom on individual Excel cells (we wish this was a feature on our Macs, too), which is all thanks to Apple’s gesture control system. But then you also have the familiar Office Ribbon, loaded with the same icons and options as your desktop version, which means there’s no learning curve when it comes to working out how to edit your documents. Microsoft have actually managed to combine these two interfaces really well, giving you one-touch access to a lot of features without making the icons (and the area you have to touch to activate them) too small to use easily.
But there are plenty of extras to look out for…
We’d have been happy with a fully functioning version of Office on our iPad, but Microsoft have thrown us a few extras to sweeten the deal even further. Favourites around the office include the ability to annotate PowerPoint slides mid-presentation using your finger (you can also use AirPlay to stream your slides straight to an Apple TV, which is a lot less faff than hooking up a laptop); the ability to turn off autosave so your work in progress documents aren’t synced with any shared folders on SharePoint or similar; the aforementioned pinch to zoom in Excel and Laser Pen Mode in PowerPoint, mostly for the name.
Originally, you weren’t able to print from within Office for iPad apps, but as this quickly became the most requested feature Microsoft have released an update that allows you to print from any AirPrint-enabled printer. Hooray!
Ready to get started?
You can download Microsoft Office for iPad from the App Store. We’ve also got an iPad bundle that includes Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Premium, which gives up to 25 users full access to Office 365 (including all the best bits of their Office for iPad apps). This is ideal for businesses with up to 25 employees who want to make sure everyone can access files on their iPad as well as their office desktop computer. If you’re looking to kit out a bigger team (or are wondering how to get started with iPad altogether), give the team a call.
To find out more about Office for iPad, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email Microsoft@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news on iPad and more, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.