When Microsoft released Office for mobile devices, it wasn’t up to par. At all. Microsoft seemed to rush the product to compete with Google Drive and other cloud-based productivity suites that were already on mobile platforms and did well. Office for mobile has made a variety of changes and upgrades to make it a more competitive product for mobile users.
Let’s look at Office for mobile and see what works and what doesn’t for users.
How Office for Mobile Works
Note: We’ll be looking at Office for Android, specifically, for this post.
Office for mobile features Word, Excel, and PowerPoint software, allowing you to create, edit, and view files. With built-in support for animations, SmartArt, shapes, and more, you get a real rendering of what documents and formatting look like, which is lacking in other productivity suites out there.
One of the biggest perks of Office for mobile is its use with OneDrive. As long as you create or store files in OneDrive, you can access them on your mobile device no matter where you are, and then edit them on the go seamlessly between device to a computer.
Like Google Drive, and other cloud-based suites, you can view recent documents and quickly open them on mobile devices. You can also open e-mail attachments with ease straight for your account into Office for mobile. When you open a document, it’ll bring you right where you were when you last edited or read it, giving you a quick start to picking up where you left off.
How to Use Office for Mobile
After installing Office for mobile, you’ll need to accept the terms and conditions, and then log into your Microsoft account.
While Office for mobile is free to download, you will need a Microsoft account to use it because of it’s connected to the cloud through OneDrive.
You’ll be able to access settings, sample documents, and begin using Office right away once you’re logged in.
Office for mobile gives you access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, so whatever tasks you need to accomplish, you can now do on the go on your devices.
Why Office for Mobile is Still Not Up to Par
While Office for mobile is free for users for personal use, if you’re using it for business, you’ll need to have an Office 365 subscription to create, edit or save any documents you work with.
Office for mobile only works with Android 4.0 and up. While this may seem like a moot point, you’d be surprised by how many low-end tablets and mobile phones still use Android below this version.
One of the most common complaints about Office for mobile is the sign-in issues that have plagued it since its release. Even up to today, users often have issues once signed out of Office for mobile, with Microsoft doing very little, even after multiple updates, to fix the issue for users. This has caused many to abandon Office for mobile for other suites like Google Drive, which is completely free for users.
On smaller devices, despite scaling for documents to look good, Excel and PowerPoint aren’t meant to be viewed, edited, or created on small devices. Something like the Galaxy Note 10.1 or tablets 7” and up would be your best bet for using both of those document types. Otherwise, you’re just going to bang your head against the wall.
Depending on how quickly your phone syncs new or edited documents, you may not always be able to work seamlessly on documents from one device to the other like Office for mobile suggests. Once OneDrive updates on both devices or computers, then you’re good to go, but depending on signal an other factors, it may not be as quickly as you like.
Office for mobile has a lot of work to do to make this a fully functional program, similar to Google Drive and other productivity suites. While we’re used to how Google Drive and other suites work, Office for mobile is already driving users away and keeping them from getting used to how it works. While Office for mobile is a great way to stay connected and use Microsoft products if that’s the way you work, Office for mobile still has a long way to go before it can compete with Google Drive.