Category: Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Arrow Launcher Update Brings More Information Flexibility

Microsoft’s continual updating of Arrow Launcher, the company’s Android launcher app, has been impressive and for the most part, have been significant updates.  That’s no different with the latest update, version 3.6.  This update to Microsoft Arrow Launcher brings a handful of refinements and improvements to the launcher.  Perhaps the most interesting one for the majority of users is the ability to hid or show the system status bar.

The System Status bar is the bar at the top of the display where you see your clock, Wi-Fi indicator, battery indicator and so forth. Arrow Launcher now gives you the option in Settings>General Settings to turn this on or off.  This is a great feature if you want to have a more clutter free view of your home screen.

Outlook for Mac Finally Getting Google Calendar Support

Most certainly file this one under finally!  Microsoft has announced that support for Google Calendar and Google Contacts is finally coming to Outlook for Mac.  For those on Windows 10 using Outlook for Windows, this is no big deal.  The support for integrating your Google Calendar into Outlook has been there pretty much from the beginning.  Not the case for Mac users.  While adding your Gmail account to Outlook for Mac was no biggie, your calendar and contacts from Google would not sync.  It just wasn’t an option.

In an announcement to the Office Insiders, Microsoft has started rolling out the support for Google Calendar and Contacts to those in the Insider Fast Ring.  The feature is certainly still in the test phase, so much so that Microsoft isn’t rolling it out to everyone who is an Insider.  Those who don’t get it immediately will be prompted at some point in the future to add their Google account so they can start testing.

Microsoft Office 365 Apps for Android Updated With New Features

Microsoft has pushed an update out to the Android version of Excel, Word and PowerPoint to the Play Store.  The updated Office 365 apps brings new features to each app that continue the company’s drive to have feature parity between the desktop and the mobile screen.  For Excel, the big new feature is the ability to open a file that contains form controls.  Form controls, as the name suggests, are when you have a form embedded into a spreadsheet.  This previously could only be opened on the desktop.

For PowerPoint, a likely more useful addition than the form controls in Excel for most of us.  Now in PowerPoint on Android you can send a single slide to someone.  Previously you had to send the entire presentation and couldn’t send an individual slide.  Again, this is something you could do on the desktop and online version of PowerPoint but now can do it on your phone or tablet.

How to Microsoft Your Android Phone

One of the biggest benefits to Android as a platform is its flexibility.  Google, much to their credit, has made it very easy for developers – including companies that compete with them – to produce apps for Android to sell or give away.  Microsoft, much to their credit too, has taken advantage of this openness.  The Redmond, Washington company as certainly competed with Google and more directly Android but equally, have produced great apps that allow you to stay within the Microsoft ecosystem without too much pain.  In fact, really no pain.

If you are new to Android but your personal and/or work life is surrounded by Microsoft applications, take heart.  You will find that Android is more than capable of giving you a rich, powerful Microsoft experience without the sacrifices in other areas.  I’m of course referring to Windows Phone.  Clearly the Microsoft experience on Windows Phone was outstanding but even the apps on that now all-but-dead platform lacked when you compared them to those for Android or even iOS.

In this How To I’m going to highlight some of the key apps from Microsoft that will make your Android phone (and in most cases tablets) a solid performing and excellent user experience for those who have their digital work or personal lives in Office 365, OneDrive and other apps.  While those apps are expected, it is the other apps that Microsoft offers that may be a surprise to you.

Today’s Deal – Microsoft Office 365 Home for $85

Today’s Deal over at Amazon is on the Microsoft Office 365 Home subscription.  Normally $99.99, it is down to $84.99 at the online retailer.  The Home edition of Office 365 allows you to install the Office suite of apps – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote – on up to 5 PCs or Mac (any combination) and also comes with 1TB of OneDrive storage for your files and photos.  That 1TB of storage applies to all users on the subscription so each will get 1TB.  It’s a pretty sweet deal on the flagship Office offering from Microsoft.

If you already have a subscription, you can still take advantage of this deal.  When you get the subscription card shipped to you, just go to your Office account and add it to your existing subscription. This will just push out your renewal date another year.

Add to this, with the Home subscription, you get full access to the Android and iOS versions of the Office apps.  These apps are free on both platforms but to get all of the features, you have to have a subscription.

Today’s Deal is on the physical subscription card being shipped to you (it’s Prime eligible so it won’t cost you anything if you are a member) and not on the download version.  That version is still $99.

Check it out at Amazon

PowerPoint Update Brings Shape Recognition

Microsoft has started rolling out an update to PowerPoint for Android that has a new Shape Recognition feature.  The update now gives you the option to have the app recognize any shape you draw with your finger or stylus in free form and snap that into a perfect version of that shape.  So, for example, if you draw a square, with this feature enabled, you will get a perfectly formed square on your slide instead of your free form version.  You can, of course, not enable this, but it is super handy and is something that until now hasn’t been in the mobile version of the app. To Get Improved Google Drive Support

Microsoft has announced that users of the new experience will soon have improved support for handling files from Google Drive and photos from Facebook.  The updates are going to be rolling out over the course of the next few weeks and it is a back end change so there is nothing you need to do.  Once you have the update, Google Drive files will be available to you from the Attach menu when creating an email.  Today when you want to do this you have to open a wholly separate tab.  That will no longer be the case and it will make attaching files out of Google Drive quicker and simpler.

Microsoft Apps To Be Pre-Installed on Future Lenovo Phones

Microsoft and Lenovo have entered into an agreement which will see the Redmond company’s apps appear on the Beijing based company’s future Android phones.  The announcement by the companies will bring Microsoft Office apps, OneDrive and Skype to select Lenovo devices going forward.  Which specific devices is not laid out in the press release.

“Microsoft’s thrilled that our productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president OEM Division, Microsoft. “The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers around the world to be more productive, more connected and achieve even more.”

For Lenovo, they are gaining access to some of Microsoft’s patents and IP (Intellectual Property) to be cross-licensed in Motorola and Lenovo devices.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher Updated With Office 365 Support

Microsoft has rolled out a sizable update to their launcher app, Arrow Launcher, that brings some much needed support and improvements.  The update, version 2.0 for those keeping score at home, brings native Office 365 support.  This means that users of the launcher will be able to view files from their Office 365 account without actually having to launch the Office app on their phone. Further, for documents on your phone, you can upload them from the phone to your Office 365 account (OneDrive).  It is a really nice update and while the lack of Outlook support for the calendar in Arrow remains an issue, this is a huge step towards fully “Microsofting” your Android phone.

Office 365 Subscriptions On Sale At Amazon

Today over at Amazon, you can take advantage of a sale the retailer is having on various Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions.  The discounts vary by package but if you chose the Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal, it gives you free access to the full features of the Office apps for Android on your phone or tablet.  Even if you are already an Office 365 subscriber, you can take advantage of the sale.

Office 365 Home allows you to install the full Office suite on up to 5 PCs or Macs plus 5 tablets and 5 phones.  That package is on sale today for $89.99, a savings of 10%.  It is delivered to you by download (you will get the key to add the suite to your Microsoft Office account) and this isn’t just the web versions but the full PC or Mac versions too.

Pick Up Office 365 Home Edition on Amazon on Sale at $76

Over at Amazon, you can pick up a great deal on Office 365 Home Edition from Microsoft.  Right now if you order the card version (meaning they ship you a card with your access codes), you can get it for just $76.09.  That’s a savings of $24 over the regular $99 price tag.  Keep in mind too that this is the Home edition so you can install Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs (or any combination) with this one purchase.  The license gives you access to download both the offline versions (the Office apps you are familiar with like Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, Excel & Access) as well as the online versions of these apps plus a few more, like Sway, online.  Across 5 PCs or Macs, this breaks down to just $15 a year for each computer to have Office.  Yep, it’s a pretty good deal.  From an Android perspective, if you have Office 365, you get access to all of the mobile versions of Microsoft’s apps for free too.  These will be completely unlocked when you sign in with your Office 365 account.