Office for iPad Weekend Review

Over the weekend, I spent a few minutes (OK hours...) comparing the new Office for the iPad to other favors of Office including the version for the Windows / IOS / Android Phones, the Web Apps, Windows RT, and the PC. I didn’t include the new native Android version nor the version for the Mac because I don’t have access to either of those platforms. In addition, I only looked at the three new applications for the iPad: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This post doesn't review existing iPad apps like Outlook, OneNote, or Lync.

My overall impression is that the Office iPad apps are a solid effort. Defiantly MUCH better than the editions released for the Windows / IOS / Android Phones. The Office iPad App is free to view documents but requires an Office 365 subscription to enable edit capabilities. The feature set is comparable to the Office Web Apps. Because the Office Web Apps have more real estate to work with, the Fluent UI is more graphic, but fundamentally the same features are found in the same locations. The biggest exceptions are in PowerPoint where the Office Web Apps have access to design templates and animations which the Office iPad App doesn't appear to support yet. But in the bigger picture the PC and Mac editions are WAY more capable. I would classify the Office iPad Apps has 10-15% of the capabilities of the PC / Mac editions. But the features included are the features used 80% of the time.

What follows is a summary/review of features in the Office for iPad with some of my observations. WAY boring, but I created the document as part of my process, so I figured I'd publish my notes.



  • Accurate DOC and DOCX rendering – I tested with some of my most challenging documents that even fail the Office Web App edit test

  • Edit capabilities are only activated via an Office 365 subscription

  • Seamless access to documents on the local device, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint using your user profile. Does not appear to have native iCloud document access.

  • Real time spell check with the red squiggle to indicate incorrectly spelled words with popup correct suggestions

  • Real time auto complete when you are typing. The auto complete suggestions appear where the cursor is located, so you need to press a delimiter (like the space bar) to accept the suggestion or tap the suggestion directly which moves your hands away from the keyboard.

  • Multiple level undo

  • Cursor positioning and text selection was reasonably easy and accurate. Selecting, copying, cutting, and pasting text uses the same controls found elsewhere on the iPad.

  • Although there isn’t a format paint control, you can copy and paste formatting

  • My most missed features: index and table of contents


  • The Home tab includes:

    • Styles but not the ability to create new styles

    • Fonts, font size, bold, italic, underline, strike through, superscript, subscript, and pre-defined text effects, but not the ability to define the characteristics of the text effects.

    • Font and highlight color

    • Text alignment, line spacing, bullets, numbering, and indents, but only selecting from pre-defined options

    • Reveal codes

  • Insert tab:

    • Page, column, and various section breaks

    • Table which brings up the Table tab with table formatting options

    • Pictures from those on the device which brings up the Picture tab with picture formatting options

    • A robust range of predefined shapes which brings up the Shape tab with formatting options

    • Text box

    • Hyperlink

    • Footnote

  • Layout tab:

    • Page orientation, size, and margins

    • Text direction

    • Number of columns

    • Header and footer including page number

  • Review tab:

    • Insert and edit comments

    • Track and manage changes

    • Select from almost 60 languages for proofing

  • View tab

    • Spelling

    • Ruler with margin, indent, and tab controls

    • Document statistics



  • Shares the same document and cursor control with Word

  • Accurate XLS and XLSX rendering

  • My most missed features: Pivot Tables and Charts


  • Home tab:

    • Most of the same font options

    • Cell boarder formatting

    • Cell alignment

    • Number formatting from pre-defined choices

    • Cell styles from pre-defined choices

    • Insert and delete cells

    • Sort options

  • Insert tab:

    • Table with headers, sorting, and filters controlled with the Table tab

    • Charts which can be formatted with the Chart tab

    • Same picture, shape, and text box as Word

  • Formulas tab:

    • Sum

    • A robust selection of financial, logic, text, time, lookup, math, data, and statistical functions

    • Recalculate

  • Review tab:

    • Just comment controls, no track changes

  • View tab:

    • Spreadsheet layout options

    • Freeze panes



  • Only operates in landscape

  • Accurate PPT and PPTX rendering – I used some of my recent PowerPoint 2013 presentations with fancy, intricate animations

  • I couldn’t find any animation edit controls (big miss)

  • My most missed features: SmartArt and SmartAlign


  • Home tab:

    • Has all of the font control features from Word

    • Has the slide, text box, and shape insert features (redundant with the Insert tab)

  • Insert tab:

    • Insert slide from the available layouts (but I didn’t see a way to edit the layout templates)

    • Tables, pictures, shapes, and text box like Word

  • Transitions tab:

    • A reasonable selection of simple and fancy slide transitions from the PC version of PowerPoint with effect options

    • Apply to all slides

  • Slide Show tab:

    • Start slide show from beginning or current slide

    • Hide slide

  • Review tab:

    • Only shows comments, no edit

    • No track changes


This entire document was created using the Office for iPad saved to my OneDrive and then copied into Windows Live Writer for this posting.


SDeming Face  Steve

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