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Microsoft Improves Office for the iPad

Microsoft has substantial plans for its flagship Office suite, as noted by Mary Jo Foley in her August Redmond magazine column. But for now its version for the iPad is getting all the love. Just four months after the long-awaited release of Office for iPad, Microsoft has upgraded it with some noteworthy new features. The 1.1 versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are now available in Apple's iTunes App Store. Microsoft also updated OneNote for the iPad with its version 2.3 release.

While Microsoft added new features specific to the three key components of Office, the most noteworthy addition across the board is the ability to let users save files in the Adobe PDF format (even for those who don't have Office 365 subscriptions). That was one of the three top feature requests, according to a post in Microsoft's Office Blog announcing the upgrade. Second is the ability to edit photos on the iPad, which users can now do in Word. Though limited, the photo editing feature enables cropping and resetting. The third key feature is support for third-party fonts.

In Excel, Microsoft has added a new sorting capability which lets users filter, extend, collapse, display details and refresh PivotTables in an Excel workbook as well as changing the way they're displayed. Another new feature called "flick gesture" aims to simplify the use of workbooks including the selection of data fields with large ranges. "Simply grab the selection handle, flick it in any direction and Excel will automatically select from where you started to the next blank cell," read the blog post, adding if "you're at the top of a column of data and want to select all the way to the bottom, just flick down and the column is selected automatically."

The new PowerPoint app supports the use of multimedia capabilities on the iPad, specifically audio and video embedded into slides. It also lets users insert videos and photos from their iPad camera rolls. When projecting a presentation from the iPad, users can now enable Presenter View to see their own notes on the device.

Microsoft pointed out this is part of its new effort to offer continuous updates to iPad for Office. When you download the update, don't do it when you're in a rush -- give yourself about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your network. I found Word and Excel in the Update section, though I had to search the store for the PowerPoint version.

Share your thoughts on the new update.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/01/2014 at 11:35 AM


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