Office Mobile has been available for Windows Phone users for a long time now and Microsoft is now making it available for additional platforms. Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers who own an iPhone made its debut in June and, Wednesday, it finally launched for Android. We used it a bit to bring you our first impressions, so let’s take a look at what you can expect.
If you subscribe to Office 365 you can install the software for free. If not, you can also try a free 30-day trial. We installed it on an Optimus G Pro in just a few seconds and activated our subscription using our Microsoft login. After that, we were almost immediately presented with the contents of our SkyDrive, including the Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents we most recently accessed. We appreciated that we were up and running in almost no time at all.
We kind of wish there were separate icons for Word, Excel and PowerPoint in Android, but instead there’s just a single all-encompassing Office Mobile application (though, One Note is separate, which is weird). Obviously that’s a matter of preference, and we do admit it’s nice to have mostly everything in one spot. Once it’s open, you can quickly open and edit PowerPoint files, or open, edit and create Word or Excel files.
Word is super straightforward and easy to use: just start typing. You can format your document by tapping the menu button on your phone, which opens a menu to access Bold, Italics, Underline, Strike-though, highlighting, font size and more, but you’re relatively limited there, too. You can perform the harder tasks, like bullets and margins, on a computer later.
Excel is also really easy to use and it supports Functions if you’re familiar with them. There isn’t the option to highlight cells, insert/remove columns or rows and other tasks, but you can get started on a document, or easily edit one, on the fly.
It seems a bit silly that the ability to create a PowerPoint is still lacking from Microsoft’s mobile offering at this point, but it’s a pretty complicated application and you’re probably best off creating presentations on a computer anyway.
It all works well, but I honestly don’t want to use it for typing out long documents. I considered writing this hands-on from my phone and, while it’s possible, it’s just not feasible.
Overall there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Office Mobile for Android. It works great, just as well as it does on other platforms. We love that all SkyDrive documents are always just a tap away. Still, we can’t help but wish parts of it were a bit more feature rich. Either way, if you’re an Office 365 subscriber then the Android launch is just an added benefit that, technically, you’re already paying for.
There are other apps that let you dig a bit deeper into format with more granular controls. Quite a few, technically (Quickoffice, Polaris, Kingsoft), but Office for Android offers SkyDrive integration and the ability to edit a big document on the fly, right before a presentation, all from your mobile device. And that’s super valuable, especially if you can’t get your laptop out to make those final edits.