Microsoft’s core Office apps on iPhone—Word, Excel and PowerPoint—were updated today with special contextual toolbars of commands that are specifically designed for the phone form factor.
Microsoft hasn’t blogged about the changes yet, so we have to go by the app store descriptions of the updates.
“Edit with speed!,” the update description for Word and PowerPoint Mobile reads. “Have quick access to commands that make sense in the moment.” The Excel update uses a slightly different description: In that app, you can “have quick access to commands when you work with shapes and graphics.”
The update descriptions each note that the changes are “iPhone only,” meaning they are not appearing in the iPad versions of the apps.
So. What does this mean in the real world? After all, these apps have sported pop-up context menus for a while now. Like this one.
Since the Excel description is, well, more descriptive, I tested inserting shapes and graphics. And in addition to that pop-up menu, you also get a toolbar of commands at the bottom. Those commands only appear when you select one of those objects. And they are of course context-sensitive to the objects.
And if there are too many commands to view at once, you can slide on the toolbar to scroll over to view the rest.
On Android, you just get a single pop-up that maps to the top pop-up seen in the iPhone shots. I’ll need to look around in Word and PowerPoint Mobile to see what changed there.
And on a related note, Microsoft Outlook for iOS was also updated today to support the Albanian language and the .eml attachment format.
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