Microsoft today released a free version of Office for iPhone users, and seriously beefed up the iPad version. Best of all, you can now use it to edit documents without a subscription to Microsoft’s cloud version of Office, Office 365.
But, like all freebie software, Microsoft still hopes to entice you to open up your wallets and pay for a premium subscription, particularly if you are a business user.
So here’s a partial list of features that are only available for those who pay. We should note, while nothing beats a price of “free,” the Office 365 subscription does offer a lot of features for your money — besides the ones listed below, such as free storage, and full offline copies of the software that you can load on multiple devices.
Here are some features that iPhone/iPad users ONLY get if they buy the software:
Orientation: the ability to flip from portrait to landscape.
Columns in Word: You can’t add them to your document, though you can view them and work with them in a document sent to you.
Limits in the Track Changes feature: The Track Changes feature is a biggie for a lot of users: it keeps track of who edited what. Free users can’t fully use this feature, though they will be able to see tracked changes in a document sent to them.
No Text Styles, Word Art: Basic text editing changes are available in the free app, like changing the size of font. But special features, like Word Art, are not.
Ditto for Advanced editing of charts: Altering data labels or legends is not included in the free versions, though you can see this info in a document sent to you.
Changing cell colours in Excel: You can see colours, but you can’t add them — that includes shading.
Advanced editing of pictures: You can see a picture in its full glory in a document sent to you, but will be somewhat limited if you want to draw or edit a picture.
Business document editing: With the free Office, you can use Microsoft’s consumer cloud storage OneDrive or, soon, Dropbox. But the free app will use your business account’s cloud storage, whether it’s OneDrive for Business, Dropbox for Business, or SharePoint. It will let you look at documents sent to you from someone else’s business account, but not edit them.