Microsoft has launched Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for Android devices that pack all the tools a business user could want. You’ll need a Microsoft account to use them; without one, you can only view files stored on your device or from your cloud storage accounts. This is quite different to other mobile office apps, such as WPS Office, which allows users to make edits without signing up.
Though each app has its own purpose and set of features, they all look very similar with a bright colourful design and simple layout. They have simple controls that will feel familiar if you’ve used Office on a desktop computer. For example, each app has a menu bar at the top of the screen containing formatting options and other editing tools.
Additionally, if you have an Office 365 subscription (starting at £7/month for the cheapest plan) you can access advanced features such as ‘Track Changes’ and ‘Page Breaks’ (in Word).
Besides allowing you to open any Office files you have saved to your device, the new apps allow you to sign into your Microsoft account to open any Office files you’ve stored in OneDrive. You can also connect your Dropbox account to the apps in order to access any files stored there.
Despite some shortcomings, the apps are a significant improvement on 2013’s Office Mobile, a free Android app that allows you to view and make small edits to documents. Historically, an Office 365 subscription was required to use Office Mobile but this is no longer the case. The app is still around for those with older Android devices running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and up, but if your device has Android 4.4 KitKat, the new Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps are intended to replace Office Mobile.
Microsoft’s new suite of Office apps for Android devices delivers the robust features that earlier apps failed to. They are designed simply with smart, familiar layouts that mimic their desktop counterparts. For basic editing and reading files on-the-go, they do the job and then some.