The big news this week was the launch of Microsoft Office for the iPad, but there was an equally important release that didn’t get as much attention and that is Office for Android. It is now free for home users and it is well worth getting.
There are several apps and the main ones are Microsoft Office Mobile and OneNote. It uses OneDrive which was formerly SkyDrive. Office for Android is not as sophisticated as the iPad version, at least on my Samsung Galaxy S4, but it does have lots of useful features.
You can load, view and edit any of the Word or Excel files stored on OneDrive, and documents and spreadsheets can be created too. When creating a Word file there are agenda, outline and report templates, and Excel offers budget, event schedule and mileage tracker templates, or you can simply start with a blank document or spreadsheet.
The Word features are limited, which is a bit disappointing, but you can enter text, select the font size, style and colour. Comments can be inserted into the text. There are sharing options and this displays the usual features such as Google Drive, OneDrive, email, Gmail and Skype.
Excel offers slightly more features and in addition to some basic formatting features, there is a subset of the most common Excel spreadsheet functions. I would guess there are around a hundred formulas organised into categories like financial, date and time, math and trig, statistical, lookup, text and so on. There doesn’t appear to be a way to create or edit charts, but it does display them.
PowerPoint presentations cannot be created, but they can be loaded from OneDrive. In landscape mode they play like a slide show, but in portrait mode you can view and edit the notes attached to each slide, and edit the text on a slide. Changes can be saved back to the file on OneDrive.
OneNote is a separate app that enables you to store notes in notebooks. A Note can contain text and lists with tick boxes like a to-do or task list. Lists can be bulleted or numbered too. Photos can be inserted from the gallery or captured using the camera. Audio recordings can be captured and stored in notes too. Notes created on the PC seem to be faithfully displayed and tables, images, text and everything else is all there on the screen in the note.
Office on Android enables you to view and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations stored on OneDrive, and you can also create documents and spreadsheets. OneNote is a place to create lists, jot down ideas, and store photos and audio clips.
Microsoft Office Mobile is OK, but does have some pretty good competition, such as Kingsoft Office, Quickoffice, OfficeSuite 7, Olive Office Premium (Free), and Polaris Office Link are all worth considering. Kingsoft Office is particularly good. It’s a good effort from Microsoft, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 28 March 2014