Microsoft has released updated versions of their Office apps Excel, Word and PowerPoint for Android today with several new features and enhancements. The apps are starting to show up in the Google Play Store and if you have the apps installed already, you should see the updates hit your devices over the course of the next few days. While there are some unique features to Excel and PowerPoint, all three of them have received general update that users of the suite will appreciate.
First is a new Auto Save feature that will, as the name suggests, will automatically save your work as you go while editing documents. Before now, the save happened as you closed the file or when you tapped the Save button in the app. You can still do this and in fact can turn off the auto saving function if you want, but the idea is to give you the same save-as-you-go functionality that you have on the desktop and online versions of the Office apps.
Second is collaborative authoring. Again, this is something that has been in the desktop version for a long while now
but hasn’t made it to Android. Now you can work on a document on your mobile with another author on another device or platform with both of your edits happening in real time. You are no longer tied to the desktop which is great if one author is on their mobile at an airport for example and another is in the office and you both need to edit a document or presentation.
When it comes to Excel, there is now a Fill handle that will allow you to automatically populate a range of cells. With PowerPoint, you have a direct insert of a photo from the camera (you can take a picture from within PowerPoint without having to leave the app and insert it into your presentation) and you have a new Designer feature. This new feature is pretty interesting. You insert a picture into a presentation and the app will provide you several design ideas of how to use that photo in the presentation. Think of it as a creative assistant on your presentation.
These updates continue to push Microsoft’s mobile agenda and closing the gap in features between the desktop and the mobile device and while the Redmond company has struggled to get their own mobile OS off the ground (again and again), they clearly have their scene sorted on Android and iOS. These apps aren’t perfect but they are close.
The Office apps are free to download from the Google Play Store and to fully use all of the features, you will need an Office 365 account.