I have been using Microsoft Word for over 15 years now and it is still my preferred software whenever I have to write something serious. In fact, I am pretty sure that I think better, clearer, when I am facing the familiar interface of a Word file.
But over the past couple of years I have also developed an affinity for the iPad and it has become my primary mobile computing device. I no longer take a notepad or even pen for interviews or press conferences and prefer taking notes on the iPad? However, this means a sacrifice of sorts as I have to use the very basic Notes app on this Apple tablet.
Of late, I have discovered an app called SoundNote that records audio as I type. The good thing with this app is that you don’t need to type much, as the app is recording whatever is being said in the background. But the lack of a good writing app has prevented me from trying long format writing on the iPad. Now, you know why I am excited with Microsoft Office coming to Ipad.
The Microsoft Office download is large and can be initiated only over Wi-Fi. Due to the same reason, I suggest you download only the module that you will use. I downloaded MS Word, and kept the other options in the cloud for now. The app is free, but the options are limited if you don’t have an Office 365 account. If you have an Office 365 subscription, like me, you will be able to use this app better.
After the download, the app prompted me to a log in screen. Once I entered my credentials, I was pleasantly surprised to see all of my Skydrive files staring at me.
The interface of Word is not similar to the desktop, but it is still a familiar setting. I already have Office on my iPhone so there were no surprises in store for me. But that app is very limiting and works best when you want to open a Word or Excel file someone has mailed you.
The iPad app, on the other hand, is full function. It lets you do everything you would on a desktop. There are all formatting options, you can insert pictures and tables with links, create page breaks and use all the templates. It also lets you collaborate with other people on a file like you would on Windows, plus there is a full tracking of changes.
Personally, I liked the fact that I am getting full spellcheck on an iPad app. I consider myself very fast on the iPad keyboard, but the accuracy rates are horrible, especially when Apple’s over enthusiastic spellcheck is at work. Plus, it gives me a word count – only someone who writes for a publication will know why that is so important.
The big disadvantage
The big disadvantage of the app is that the iPad, one of the last bastions of private computing, has now become more productive than ever before. You work has come big time into the tablet and you cannot shirk work saying you don’t have a laptop at hand. Our lives will never be the same again.
Sarcasm aside, this is among the best things to have happened on the iPad for sometime. Just look at the convenience of being able to work on the same file from a desktop as well as your phone and tablet. Yes, this is a great app. Great enough to make people consider the iPad as a serious work device.
PS: This post was filed completely on the Microsoft Office iPad app.