At an event in San Francisco today, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella made his first appearance since becoming CEO and introduced the long-awaited Office suite for the iPad.
You can download the apps from the App Store for free, and you’ll be able to read documents using the apps for free. It only works on iPads running iOS 7.0 or later.
But if you want to create and edit documents, you’re going to need an Office 365 subscription, which costs around $US100 per year.
We got a chance to demo the new suite at the event. The apps run smoothly, as you would expect, and really integrates the use of touch in a cool way. It’s especially useful for people who already use Office, as the documents and formatting options are nearly identical to the desktop version of the suite.
The goal of the Office suite, it seems, is not to offer a particularly deep set of editing and reading options, but to give users a broad set of tools for editing, tweaking and creating documents on the go.
Word looks almost exactly like what it looks like on a PC, just more compact. You can apply complex formats to your documents and text, such as highlighting, indenting and tracking your changes.
Inserting an image in Word for iPad is easy. It uses photos from your Camera Roll, and you can drag the boxes to make your picture smaller or bigger.
PowerPoint presentations are easy to create as well. But on the iPad, it's more about delivering the finished presentation than it is about building it.
All your slides line up on the left, and you can click each one to add text boxes, graphics or apply transition animations.
You can insert a new slide, apply transition effects, and annotate your slides in real time, using your finger.
You can also use your finger as a laser pointer, right on the screen. Just tap and hold for a few seconds.
The suite also includes Excel. You double-tap on cells to insert your calculations, and create charts based on the numbers. If you don't know what kind of chart to use, you can select data and hit 'Recommend.' The app will offer a list of chart options using your actual data in the preview.
You can move charts around. There's even a formulas Ribbon up top that includes all the functions found in the desktop version.
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