Guest blog post by Michael Jones, Microsoft. Michael works on the South schools territory and you can find him on Twitter @MikeJonesEDU
Microsoft launched Office for iPad back in April 2014, bringing Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to Apple iOS platform. Microsoft Office is used by over a billion people across the globe, so it now being available to those using their iOS devices, I think is a pretty big deal.
This is my first blog as a Microsoft Education team member and I am going to let you in to a secret, I am a closet Apple user which stems from a past working life where I was issued with an iPad and iPhone. I still use these in my personal life (alongside my Nokia 925 but that does not stop the stick I receive from my Microsoft Education Team), so I feel like I can comment on the impact of having Office on my iOS devices with a good understanding of both sides of the technology ‘fence’.
After the April announcement, we had many questions from our excited customers that wanted to start viewing and editing their Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents on their iPad. Their questions were simple, how do I get this?! The answer is nice and simple too.
All you need to do is download the apps, log in with your Office 365 account and you are good to go! To edit and create your documents you will need an Office 365 education subscription to Plan A3/A4 or add Microsoft Office Professional Plus. Easy right?
Besides, upgrading to Office 365 plan A3/A4 is not just about getting Office for iPad you get a whole host of extra bits of goodness, Lync voice, voicemail, home use rights of up to 5 PC’s to name a few!
Now a little more information about the apps themselves. They are built for touch so all the options are easy to access even with the clumsiest of touches. Microsoft have carefully selected the most commonly used options within all the apps, so unless you are a hard-core super user you should have all you need to satisfy an intermediate user like myself.
By logging in to the apps via your Office 365 account means you are now bringing together other Microsoft services that can enhance the use of the apps even further. An example of this is having a direct link up with Microsoft SharePoint. If you are not familiar with SharePoint it is collaboration and document storage area that you can create yourself.
SharePoint is widely used by teachers and students in the class room as an area to post/share their documents, whether that be course work, assignments or homework. This can commonly be set up as shared areas with year groups, classes, or departmental sites. This is a far more practical and much more efficient way of getting your students work off their iPads they are using in class. SharePoint can be accessed via a web browser also so any devices can be used to access SharePoint sites you create.
OneDrive is also linked directly to the apps, this allows me to access all of my files that I work on day to day. If I make any changes while using my iPad from the comfort of my own sofa those files will be ready for me access the next day from my PC.
In summary these apps really have elevated my productivity by allowing me to work on my documents no matter where I am or what device I am using. The look and operation of the app is very ‘Apple’ while also making me feel comfortable using the Office suite I know and love.
These were my thoughts on Office for iPad but now, hear about what our customers have to say, courtesy of Prince Henry's Grammar School.