Yes, you can now get Word, Excel and Powerpoint for free on IOS devices
I recently blogged about the benefits of subscribing to Office 365.
Among the benefits of this deal are that you can get Word, Excel and Powerpoint onto an iPhone or iPad (ie “IOS devices”). Well, Microsoft have now trumped this by making these “apps” free for anyone with an IOS device that runs version IO7 or later. If you’ve got an iPhone 5, an iPhone 6, or a recent iPad then there’s no problem. If you’ve got an earlier device then you may or may not be lucky. Here’s a web page that details the devices that can and cannot run IOS7.
You don’t need an Office 365 subscription to use these products and you can view, edit, and create Office documents. These apps are not just “viewers” that Microsoft have long offered for desktop computers: they are complete products. Mind you, I think you’d have to be very dexterous and very desperate to want to try to put together a PowerPoint presentation on an iPhone. Can you imagine the stress you’d be under if you had to try to create a PowerPoint presentation on an iPhone on a rush-hour tube, because you’ve got to deliver the presentation and can’t do the job on a proper computer? No, thanks. I’d rather throw a sickie.
I have just installed the three apps on my iPhone. They take up a fair amount of space:
- PowerPoint – 459mb
- Word – 458mb
- Excel – 446mb
You can, of course, choose to install just the apps you want: they are offered as individual apps in the Apple App Store.
But how do you get to view existing documents or create new ones?
Although you don’t need a Microsoft account to install the apps and then use them to view documents, you do need to sign in if you want to create or edit content. I’ve just opened Excel and confidently clicked on the “New” button, only to be greeted with a message at the top of the window saying “Read Only. Sign in to create and edit documents”. When I opened the app again later it had no problem in allowing me to create a new spreadsheet for saving on the iPhone even though I wasn’t signed in. I’m not quite sure what’s happening here. Maybe they are just forcing you to have a Microsoft account before you can first create or save a document, but not requiring you to sign in subsequently (unless you wish to access documents in the cloud, of course). Hmm.
The Microsoft account will be familiar to anyone who has bought a Windows 8 computer or who has bought the “proper” Office online recently. Creating a Microsoft account is not particularly onerous, except that I can always feel my blood coming up to the boil when I’m helping a computer support client with this and we get to the part where Microsoft insists on knowing your date of birth. It’s none of their business. Sainsbury may insist on asking if I have Nectar card (no, never, ever) but they don’t ask for my date of birth, so why should Microsoft? My suggestion in this situation is to lie, but to remember to record the lie in the same place that you record the username and password for the account (you do record account details as soon as you create them, don’t you!?) That way, you won’t be banjaxed if Microsoft ask you your date of birth as part of proving that you own your own account (after being hacked, for instance).
Anyway, paroxysm over, I’ve just signed into my Microsoft account and I’ve just loaded a spreadsheet that I’ve got stored in my “OneDrive”. You can get 15gb free cloud storage from Microsoft by clicking here . If you subscribe to Office 365 this becomes 1tb of space (1000gb).
Having signed into a Microsoft account, you can then connect a Dropbox account or another cloud service. I just signed out of everything, re-booted the phone, and then tried to sign into Dropbox without first signing into Microsoft. It doesn’t work. You have to sign into Microsoft before you can connect other cloud services.
All in all, I would say that this is a very welcome development. Before long, these apps will also be available on Android mobile devices. You can already see a preview of Office for Android.