Microsoft’s New iOS Office App Can Get You Organized

Setting a new standard for usability and convenience

  • The updated Microsoft Office all-in-one iOS app sets a new standard for organization and usability.
  • The single app needs less space than if you were to download the three apps individually.
  • For big multi-taskers, the ability to access Office’s applications in one neat package could be a game-changer.
The new MS Office app displayed on a smartphone next to a laptop

Microsoft Office used to be a confusing mess of options and various programs, but thanks to the all-in-one iOS app now available on the iPad, it’s setting a new standard for organization and usability.

The mobile version of Office combines Office, Excel, and PowerPoint into one slick package, and Microsoft has thrown in some extra features that are very useful for those on the go. Best of all, the single app needs less space than if you were to download the three individual apps, although these are still available if you prefer. 

Using the new all-in-one Office made me weep for all the time I’ve wasted messing around with the previous stand-alone versions of these apps. It just makes so much more sense to have one central location to create and locate a spreadsheet or a Word document.

Seamless Transitions

I started by signing into my Microsoft account and quickly was able to view all the documents I stored on OneDrive. From there, it was just a tap to create a Microsoft Word document and start writing. Going back to the app and starting an Excel spreadsheet was also quick and intuitive. 

Like many people, I have way too many apps on my iPad, and sorting through them to switch between Word and Excel can be a hassle. There’s something about having everything in one place that enables me to function better. 

The app was lightning fast on the latest model of iPad Air. I could create and flick through documents without any hesitation, and the speed greatly enhanced my productivity. 

The Actions pane in the application is thoughtfully designed and a handy addition to the app. You can tap the pane to share files between your phone and computer, extract text from an image, or sign, scan, create, and convert PDF documents.

One nice thing about the app is you can edit, create. and save files on mobile devices without signing in to a Microsoft account. It’s well worth the minor hassle of creating an account, though, so you can save documents to OneDrive or other supported cloud services. Saving documents to multiple locations with a simple tap is pretty convenient.

Snap Pictures of Your Documents

Another handy feature is the integration of Microsoft Lens. I’m continually snapping bits of paper to file away and send off in an email, and Lens lets you convert images into editable Word and Excel documents and scan PDFs. You also can snap pictures of digital whiteboards with automatic enhancements to make the content easier to read.

The new Office app is making me rethink my iPad as a tool to do real work. I mostly had used it to view content, browse the web, and watch movies, but turned to my MacBook for work because switching between apps feels more natural.

I’m a big multi-tasker, and the ability to use all of Office’s applications in one neat package could be a game-changer. Now that you can connect a mouse and keyboard, or even a keyboard case, easily enough to an iPad, there may be little reason to use a laptop.

I’ve been a loyal Google Docs and Sheets user for more than a decade after happily casting off the reins of Microsoft Office. The new unified app, though, is giving me pause about my decision. It’s a small thing, but switching between the mobile Docs app and the Sheets app takes me out of my zone.

I’ll be spending more time with the latest Microsoft app, but for now, it will be the place I start my work.

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