Microsoft has launched iPad apps for its Office programs, being Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
The release comes after four years of speculation and anticipation, adding to the existing iOS apps from the Office range, including, OneNote, Lync, OneDrive and OWA.
Available to iPads running iOS 7 or above, the three apps don’t offer every feature found on Windows, however, they are feature-rich powerful tools that enable the ability to create and edit documents, while acting like their Office 2013 counterpart.
Although the apps are free, users will not be able to unlock their full potential, unless they have an Office 365 subscription (Home, Personal, Small Business, or Enterprise). Without signing in to Office 365 users will be limited to reading Word documents, working with Excel data, and presenting PowerPoint slide shows; they will not have the ability to create new documents.
Users will be able to save files directly onto their iPad, however the applications are specifically designed for cloud storage using Microsoft’s OneDrive and SharePoint.
While the apps are designed to match that of their desktop versions, Microsoft has observed the iPad interface conventions. Tapping the upper left corner displays a File menu with options to create a new document, reopen a recently used file, or browse for one.
Function commands are grouped on ribbons that are more compact and additional space can be saved by tapping on the ribbon to hide the options.
The overall display of Office documents are represented to near perfection, although users may find that particular fonts are not available on their iPad, along with some features such as Excel PivotTables.
For those who own a Surface RT, is likely to be envious of the iOS apps, as it seems to have leapfrogged Microsoft’s Windows tablets. On Windows 8 and RT devices Office is still a desktop application with some reluctant interface tweaks designed to ease the pain of using an app without a mouse. The Office for iPad apps are the gold standard for Office on a modern tablet.