Microsoft Office iPhone app: Key points about Office Mobile

The mobile version of the Microsoft Office software is now available on an iPhone near you. Though it’s a free app, users must have an Office 365 subscription to use it.

Updated: Jun 16, 2013, 18:46 PM IST

Faizan Nizami

Those who’ve wanted to edit, format and make documents, spreadsheets and presentations on their iPhones but have not found the seamlessness that they would usually do on Microsoft Office, wait no longer — Microsoft Office for the iPhone is here!

The mobile version of the Microsoft Office software is now available on an iPhone near you. Though it’s a free app, users must have an Office 365 subscription to use it.

The subscription costs about USD 100 a year or USD 10 per month and allow the suite of programs for documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other tasks to be used on as many as five devices — in a nod to modern, multi-gadget lifestyles.

"Microsoft Office Mobile is the official Office companion optimized for your iPhone. You can access, view and edit your Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint documents from virtually anywhere," states the App Store.

Apple’s iPhone’s version of the Office is called Office Mobile, which pretty much resembles the app available on the Windows Phone platform. Quick to use and edit, share and save documents and files, the Office Mobile comes with the simplified version of Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
Unfortunately, Outlook has been left out.

Let’s take a look at what Microsoft has in stored for its Office users on the iPhone.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint

The bare bones approach to the Office Mobile on iPhone confines its potential but it also makes it relatively easier to use.

While one can create documents in Word and Excel, PowerPoint comes with only viewing and editing options.

In MS Word, you have the usual stuff: templates, outlines and the blank page. However, there’s only one font and only three colour options, increasing and decreasing text size, and you can make text bold, underlined and italicised.

Forget spell check here and those nifty red and green lines which most Office users depend on to further themselves from grammatical and spelling errors.

The Excel version of the iPhone is on the same lines as those of the Word. Having just three templates with respect to budgets, mileage tracking and schedules, Excel can also use your data to create illustrations , like pie charts and bar graphs.

PowerPoint for the iPhone is mainly a viewer. But users can add notes and edit the text in slides. Users can also not make PowerPoint slides with the app, but can change their order or hide them.

SkyDrive Synchronisation

Those who already have an Office 365 subscription, the app offers easy access with synchronisation options with Microsoft’s SkyDrive online cloud storage service. Once you log on to your SkyDrive account through your phone, the documents stored there can be retrieved with ease and saved in a directory.

SkyDrive allows you to choose which docs you wish to work on, whether to read them, edit them or make changes to them so you can use it later. If you are short of a data connection you can do your work offline and later upload the files you worked upon onto SkyDrive.

No iPad app

Although iPhone users will be happy to work on the mobile Office suite, those with the iPad may not be so lucky. Microsoft’s not giving any love to the iPad since it wants to keep its full blown version of its Office ecosystem exclusive to its own Windows OS on tablets. All is, however, not lost as the
Office-maker asks users to run the Web version of the Office, which, annoyingly, requires an always-online internet connection.

It is quite probable to run the iPhone version of the Office on the iPad, at the cost of pixilation and blown-up graphics and textures. The app isn't optimized for a 9.7-inch screen; users can expand the iPhone app to nearly fill the iPad's larger display. Microsoft is of the opinion that iPad users are better off with the Office 365 web apps.

No Android and BlackBerry app

Interestingly, Microsoft has decided to bring its Office suite to the iOS platform. Android and BlackBerry users may feel left out as the Office Mobile is exclusive to the iPhone. Android users, however, can access Office on the Chrome browser.

The Windows Phones users should feel content since no subscription is required to run the Office app. Not to mention the complete version is made available to users who have Windows OS on their tablets.


The Office Mobile runs on the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 and needs version 6.1 or later of the iOS operating system.