[Update March 28, 2014. There’a a fail here — but it’s mine. Subscribing to Office 365 unlocks the full-featured versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. My mea culpa is here. Please ignore what follows. And my apologies to Microsoft.]
Today I saw the announcement I’ve been waiting for: Microsoft finally released Office for iPad, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. (OneNote has been available for a while now.) I headed to the App store and started hunting. Thus began my journey through the Microsoft Office for iPad fail.
Amazingly, when you search for “Microsoft” you get tons of results from companies that are not Microsoft. Office itself seems fairly invisible.
Once you find the Microsoft products, you discover they’re not offered as a suite download. Each of the three apps has to be downloaded separately. And — puzzling — they are FREE. Suspicious? You bet. Read on.
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That’s right — these are the lightweight file viewers that have been available forever at Microsoft.com. To actually do any work, you’ll need to subscribe to Office 365. Now this is actually not a bad deal. For $100 a year you can use all of Office on up to five computers and five tablets. But, frankly, I’ve been using Documents to Go for years now and really like it. This app is from DataViz and is priced at about $20 for the version that lets you edit files.
Granted, the editing capabilities are limited, but I’m old enough to remember that “cloud” access is never guaranteed. If I have the app and data on my local machine, I’m much happier. And, as an added bonus. Documents to Go handles pdf files.