On November 6, 2014, Microsoft Corp. announced that it is offering free versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to iPhone and iPad users, as well as a preview version for Android tablet users. The main release for the Android version is scheduled for early 2015.
In March 2014, Microsoft debuted its Office apps on the iPad. Users are able to view documents as well as copy and paste between them. They can also share documents, and present their work using PowerPoint.
This first version of Office for the iPad did have some restrictions. In order to create new documents or edit old ones, users needed to pay for an Office 365 subscription. Users also needed an Office 365 subscription for saving documents to OneDrive or SharePoint.
The newest versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint do not have these restrictions. Users can freely create and edit their documents, though they still need a Microsoft account.
Microsoft created a couple of new views that make navigating and editing documents on the iPhone much easier. Within Word, the "Reflow" view temporarily resizes documents to fit on the phone's screen. This eliminates the need for panning and scanning through a document. Within Excel, The "Full Screen" view accomplishes this task.
These universal apps work on all iPhone and iPod Touch devices running iOS 7.1 or a later version. Microsoft intends to develop universal versions of Office for both Android and Windows phones as well, although the release dates for these versions have not been revealed.
The company's announcement about new mobile versions of Office follows the creation of an exciting partnership between Microsoft and Dropbox. The new iPhone, iPad, and Android versions of the Office apps allows users to open, edit, and save their documents from Dropbox as well as Microsoft's OneDrive.
Premium Components for Office 365 Users
Only Office 365 users will have the ability to edit documents that are stored on Dropbox for Business and OneDrive for Business. They will also have 1 terabyte of storage on OneDrive. Microsoft has said that in the near future it will provide Office 365 users with unlimited online storage.
Office 365 users will have access to PowerPoint presenter mode and Excel pivot tables, as well as unrestricted use of the Track Changes feature. They will also be able to use certain chart customization options for color and design.
Refunds for Office 365 Users
Microsoft is offering pro-rated refunds to Office 365 users that subscribed just to get the ability to edit Office documents on their iPads. The refunds are only available to those who purchased an Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Home subscription on or after March 27, 2014. This was the day that Office for iPad was first released. The account must have been activated before November 6, 2014.
Eligible Office 365 users must cancel their subscriptions and request their refunds by January 31, 2015. Users that purchased their subscriptions from Microsoft or a reseller should contact a Microsoft Accounts and Billings representative. Those who purchased their subscriptions through Apple should contact iTunes store support.