Microsoft Brings Office App to iPad

Posted on February 16, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in iPadOS, Microsoft 365, Mobile, Office, Office 365 with 13 Comments

Microsoft has quietly ported its unified Office app to the iPad, one year to the week after it was released for the iPhone. What took so long?

We don’t know, and Microsoft isn’t saying: In fact, there isn’t even an official announcement of the release as I write this. But it appears to look and work exactly like the iPhone (and Android) versions, and t offers integrated versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. But it’s tailored for the larger screens available across Apple’s iPad lineup, and it supports dark mode if you’re using that.

“Office is now available on iPad,” the listing for the new version of the Office app notes. “We’re combining the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps you know into a single, iPadOS-optimized app. Plus, you’ll see additional tools to keep you more productive than ever. For example, you’ll be able to quickly create and sign PDFs, and transform pictures into documents.”

Of course, one of the things users need to deal with when they access Microsoft’s mobile productivity apps is licensing. Those with Microsoft 365 Personal, Family, or commercial subscriptions will get full access to the Office app’s functionality regardless of which type of iPad they have. But those with an iPad Mini, iPad, or iPad Air can make light edits and read documents without a subscription. Those with an iPad Pro can only read documents without a subscription.

You can find Office for iPad (and iPhone) in the Apple App Store.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Microsoft Brings Office App to iPad”

  1. beckoningeagle

    Screen scalability is a very complex Computer Science issue.

  2. michael_babiuk

    When it comes to MS Office on iOS or iPadOS, as I've said it once before and will continue to say it thousands of times more (well, not really. That would be cruel to both the reader of my opinions and myself - grin) ... the one thing Microsoft needs to do is create versions of these apps that support macros on iPadOS tablets! But that won't happen because it would render the whole Surface/MS Office mobile product lineup inferior to any iPadOS/MS Office device - purely on a cost per productivity ratio comparison.

  3. chriscarstens

    I now own my always on, instant start, portable Windows machine — and it’s an 11-inch iPad Pro. Seriously, I’m not editing video or doing graphics on this thing, but otherwise I figure I’m set.

  4. olditpro2000

    Have they announced any plans to drop the standalone apps (Word, Excel, etc.)? I can't recall if that was their ultimate plan here.

  5. longhorn

    Mouse support, display scaling (UI customization) and dual-task support may account for a year maybe and then throw some work from home adjustments on top of that.

  6. igor engelen

    It makes a lot more sense then the separate apps on a mobile device.

    Didn't try a lot yet but first impression is that 'it just works'

  7. whistlerpro

    Is it literally limited to the product, so all iPad Pro users can’t use Office? Or is it actually screen size? My 10.5” iPad Pro from 2017 is the same size as last years iPad Air. There really isn’t much difference beyond the screen quality and a couple of speakers.

  8. sykeward

    They should bring this to PC and Mac. Imagine a single application that handles common Office tasks without overwhelming home users...they could call it Microsoft Works! is not my day job.

  9. kingv84

    The app needs splitscreen support for two docs side by side; currently the standalone apps support having two documents open side by side on iPad.

  10. jlariviere

    I've been using office since 98. part of me is wondering if there is any benefit to having an integrated app vs separate apps.

  11. michael_babiuk

    In reply to lvthunder: Maybe. But ... on OS X a long time ago, Microsoft ported their Office apps to the Mac. And guess what, MS knew that OS X and macOS would NEVER EVER run VBA macros - and yet - Microsoft found a way to add macro functionality to the macOS Office applications.
    So yes. Microsoft has already spent time rewriting macOS Office macros to act like and be compatible with Windows Office macros - and because of that historical fact - they certainly have the capability to rewrite Office macros for iOS and iPadOS (iOS and macOS are based upon the same code foundations after all). So why has Microsoft delayed implementation of macro functionality for iOS and iPadOS devices?
    Well, I stand by my first comment’s implied root reason why that has not happened yet. The reason is purely financial. You see, porting desktop MS Office apps to Apple’s macOS computers will NEVER hurt MS’s bottom line. Despite macOS computers recent sales increases, Apple’s laptop and desktop worldwide market share is STILL under 10%. PC laptops and desktops still rule despite Chromebooks and the promise of M1 Macs.
    But that financial equation does NOT exist when it comes to the iOS and iPadOS worldwide ecosystem. In that ecosystem Apple rules! And Microsoft’s Surface lineup of computers are STILL a weak “sister” to the iPad line of tablets. And if - and I mean if - MS would ever add macro capability for iPadOS Office apps - then MS knows - their financial advisors know - beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Surface Line would go the way of Zune music players. And because of that truth, MS will never port macro capability. At least as long as the marketshares remain at the same relative ratio that exists today.

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