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.
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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.
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Microsoft has rolled out a nice update to the Microsoft Office suite of apps for Android. Excel, PowerPoint and Word for Android have all been updated to build 16.0.7301.1013 for those keeping score at home and bring with it some improvements around file sharing and collaboration. In fact, in the release notes for each of the apps, Microsoft points out that collaboration is now “front and center” for each of the apps. So what does that mean? It means that you can now easily and quickly find documents that have been shared with you in the new “Shared with me” section of the menu. Here you can see files others have shared with you from their PC, Mac, iOS device or Office online when they used the “invite people” option on a document. It is a faster way of finding those files without having to search through the app to find that document. This collaboration also means that you can quickly share a document and have the ability to see who is working on it in the Android apps.
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The Microsoft Office suite of apps for Android – Excel, PowerPoint and Word – have all been updated today with several new features and improvements. Perhaps the biggest new feature across all three apps is the ability to store your files on an SD card on your device. To this point you could only save your files in your device’s main storage. That can be problematic for those who do a lot of file editing on their devices, especially those with low storage devices. This new feature, which is across all three apps, should help solve that problem. There is nothing special you as a user have to do other than tell the apps to store on your SD card. Your device, however, must be running Android Lollipop or later to take advantage of this feature. All three apps now also give you the ability to annotate files. You can use a stylus or your finger to write, draw or highlight. These new tools found in the Draw tab, a new tab in each app.
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