Office for iPad: PowerPoint, Word and Excel Apps now a reality on the iPad

OFFICE FOR IPAD: TOP 5 TIPS

1. Make room & update
Apps need 1-2GB+, require iOS 7, and opening large files may require shutting down all other apps

2. Pay to play, yearly
Plan on spending $60 to $264 annually

3. Special fonts not supported

4. PowerPoint imbedded videos not supported

5. Excel pivot table functionality not supported    

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Office ROI Assessment: Positive   Below is primer that details process, issues, troubleshooting and key learnings we experienced putting these new apps through their paces, testing a wide range of files on a few different iPads. A note about our work: The goal of our efforts and methods (more qualitative, less quantitative) — was to experience the workflow, process, and issues a standard business user would have adding these tools to their business tool kit. Overall our experience Office on the iPad was positive. 

Finally, while many online reporting is focusing on “late to the tablet” and missed opportunities, our perspective is that any tool or app that helps move business content to tablets with less workflow disruption plus gain the potential to more easily synchronize files via desktops will save valuable time and resources, thus money.

Getting Started

Technically, there’s no such thing as Office for iPad. Each of the apps is a separate download from the App Store.

Where To Get MS Office For iPad on iTunes

Try or Buy (Same apps for Home or Business)

  • MS Word for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-word-for-ipad/id586447913?mt=8
  • Excel for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-excel-for-ipad/id586683407?mt=8
  • PowerPoint for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-powerpoint-for-ipad/id586449534?mt=8

Memory/Storage Considerations

  • The independent Office apps range between 215 MB and 259 MB just to install (nearly a gigabyte). In just a few hours of testing, Microsoft Word had expanded to take 500 megabytes.
  • MS Office Apps are all designed for use on iPads running iOS 7 or later.
  • All of the files you work on and store locally will require their own space. So make sure you have at least a few gigabytes free.
  • In our tests, opening a large 75MB PowerPoint file required freeing iPad memory by shutting down all other apps

What You Get
Free The free version of Microsoft’s Office apps only let you view documents, and since we’ve never met a presenter who doesn’t make last-minute changes, just bite the bullet and go for the paid version…
Paid To really get the benefit of Office for iPad, you need a subscription to Office 365.

  • For business users minimum spend to gain iPad editing options is $5 a month/$60 a year with annual contract for Small Business; or if you need include desktop versions which covers installing Office software on up to five PCs and five tablets you’ll pay at least $150 a year for Small Business Premium and up to $264 for Enterprise E4 – see full list here:  http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/business/compare-all-office-365-for-business-plans-FX104051403.aspx
  • For home users cost is $99.99 a year or $9.99 a month, which covers installing Office software on up to five PCs and five tablets.

Test Driving the Free Version

  • Download the apps
  • If you have an Office document in your email, press and hold down on the attachment in Mail. You’ll get a dialog box that offers Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint as an option for reading the document. The app will store the file locally.
  • If you use Hotmail or Outlook.com for email, or play with Xbox Live, you already have a Microsoft account you can use to sign up for OneDrive. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a new Microsoft account. Either way, you’ll get 7 gigabytes of free storage. If you move documents into your OneDrive on your desktop, you’ll also have access to them within Office iPad apps.
  • Upon launching any of the three apps you’ll be asked to sign into your Office 365 account or buy a subscription right there. You can also bypass signing in all together, but then you only have read-only access to documents. You can’t edit any.

Pros

  • Terrific performance viewing Office files
  • With a paid subscription — at least $60 a year for the rest of your business life — there are powerful tools for creating and editing Office documents.
  • UI & UX in the three Office apps feel, look, and act like their Office 2013 Windows desktop/web version counterparts (not like the mobile versions)

Cons

  • With a paid subscription — at least $60 a year for the rest of your business life —there are powerful tools for creating and editing Office documents.
  • Make room – both processing and storage needed to use these apps
  • Update – requires iOS7 or higher
  • PowerPoint Word and Excel issues opening documents with specialized fonts.
  • PowerPoint issues opening large documents with any other iPad apps open
  • Embedded videos in PowerPoint presentations don’t play
  • Excel pivot tables aren’t supported in iPad app

Usability

Commands for each app are grouped on ribbons that are more compact than their desktop alternatives. (To save space, you can tap the commands on the ribbon to hide the options for that tab, then tap again to make them visible again.)

Source notes and thanks

Below are some great articles that assisted in our topline review:

  • Great information on productivity http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-office-for-ipad-sets-the-gold-standard-for-tablet-productivity-7000027797/
  • Great visuals and previews http://readwrite.com/2014/03/29/get-started-microsoft-office-on-ipad-word-excel-powerpoint#awesm=~ozW5TWzZ1QPXHZ
Office Fonts of Wisdom

A good way to ensure that your Microsoft Word and PowerPoint designs translate across programs, platforms and systems is to employ universally standard system fonts for live text, while using specialty fonts sparingly, and always as placed art.

While there is certainly a place for unique and unusual type — especially in logos, display copy and eye-catching document headers — it’s always a best practice to take non-traditional typefaces and process them to pixel RGB JPG images. As images rather than text, these type treatments will display and print correctly in any environment, regardless of operating system, software version or browser choice.

It’s important to remember that, in order to guarantee the integrity of a document across all platforms, choosing a cross-platform font is key. Fonts are the fundamental building blocks of all Word and PowerPoint documents, and are also the element most likely to cause problems.

Of course, if you’re building a PowerPoint deck that will be projected directly from your personal laptop, then you can use any typeface that is installed on your computer. But in most situations, presentations and documents are shared within and between companies, so a smarter choice is to select a typeface that is already resident on both Windows and Apple computers. These fonts will not only display well if your document is opened on a different platform, but will also make the transition to the web with a minimum of compatibility problems.

Common cross-platform fonts include: Arial, Courier New, Georgia, Helvetica, Impact, Palatino, Book Antiqua, Times New Roman, Trebuchet and Verdana. (For a great resource of cross-platform fonts categorized by Office version, click here.)

It should be noted that every version of Office has updated, improved and refined its core system fonts (Microsoft’s recent incorporation of Segoe into its logotype, for instance, virtually insures that it will become a widely utilized system font). But for now, you can be assured that any document that employs one or more of these standard font families will retain its original look and feel in almost any computing environment.

Dan Catalano is a Senior Office Document Production Specialist with Office ROI. If you have any questions, comments or business requests, please don’t hesitate to contact him at dan@officeroi.com.

When design workflows don’t mean business (or, “Maybe it’s not the work, it’s the workflow!”)

Ten years ago, designers and creative service providers were the best-kept secret of great sales and marketing communications efforts. With budget, base content and a few weeks time they could weave straw into gold. So much so that businesses large and small moved marketing collateral into Quark and InDesign, raising the bar for how all company sales materials needed to look and feel.

Then as high-speed color printers came in-house, laptops and projectors became smaller and lighter, and the internet evolved to be a global selling marketplace, more work came with the responsibility to make it happen. In response, creatives have incrementally added to the breadth and depth of what they do by using the same dedicated graphics workflows and issuing PDFs. Easy and happy to help and grow both the business and the department.

Today, however, for some mission-critical sales and marketing collateral, that tried and true workflow may be more hinderance than help…

My favorite story of woe comes from an in-house department at a top technology company. Until last year, with all collateral in InDesign, a call from field marketing or a technologist to update a solution brief involved 4-5 rounds of refinement and 2-3 weeks! Why so long? Let’s follow the workflow.

It’s the creative services professional who has to put on their typesetting cap to make text changes in InDesign, then PDF and send to requestor for review. Then with feedback, make refinement changes, PDF and return. Then make Executive review changes, PDF and return. Then after Legal review, make changes and PDF. THEN after a check by analyst relations, final changes and PDF. All the while trying to wrap in messaging, stylistic and brand compliance and consistency concerns. AND ALL THIS BEFORE any design or graphics work. So, at a time when the department is 25% the size it was five years ago and deadlines are tighter than ever, no wonder marketing is the bottleneck.

If your clients or sales team or business rainmakers need collateral faster, maybe it’s not the work that’s the challenge, but the workflow.

As departments, budgets and timeframes all continue to shrink, now is the time to look at the mix of materials and see what can be moved to a more efficient and effective workflow focused on business:

  • From a dedicated graphics workflow isolated in InDesign and delivered as PDF…
  • …To an integrated office workflow collaborative in Word or PowerPoint and delivered via PDF and/or in native files if needed.

To support sales agility and enable collaboration, Office ROI helps designers, agencies or in-house marketing departments do just that.

Now back to that technology company, where product sheets, white papers, technology briefs and other text-driven content collateral are in Word, with any infographics and charts built in PowerPoint, saved out and placed into Word.

When a change is needed, the requestor is issued the Word base file as well as the supporting PowerPoint file that holds charts and info graphics. Since everyone at the company uses Office (which by the way is great for comments and reviews), back-and-forth by field marketing, technologists, executive, legal and analyst compliance are completed without marketing or creative services doing the typing. (Or taking the bottleneck blame, for that matter!)

After delivering the base assets within 4 hours of the request, marketing returns back into the workflow AFTER text and even graphic exhibits content has been refined, verified, vetted and approved. Now the needed higher-level messaging, design refinement and brand compliance is part of a streamlined process that takes place in just 3-5 business days, which includes executive approval, PDF for release and base assets filed for future use.

End result: Out of the text-change game, designers are no longer typists and in-house marketing managers are no longer traffic managers — rather, they are where they want to be, creatively adding value via brand and graphics savvy and messaging acumen.

Today, moving at the speed of business means delivering great, amazingly designed, content directly in the tools business users know how to use… so maybe for marketing creative services, it means delivering in Word or PowerPoint instead of InDesign.

Postscript: And when field marketing asks for presentation materials on that topic a month later, with exhibits already in PowerPoint, a file can be sent again within minutes of the request… and if field marketing has changes, they can make it themselves!