Reviewing Microsoft Office Apps on Android
Windows Phones lack a lot of the apps and features of my beloved Android, but when the Windows Phone 7 first launched in 2010, I was intrigued enough by its Xbox integration and Office features to try it out as my work phone. What I found was a competent smartphone, well-made for working professionals, but severely lacking in other apps that could keep my interest. It’s five years later and Windows Phones are still struggling, but Microsoft charging even harder into the mobile space, recently releasing several of its Office apps on Android. Here’s how they stack up.
Word is probably the most well-known program Microsoft has ever developed. It’s hard to do any writing on a computer without using some version of it, but it’s long been criticized for being user unfriendly. It’s unlikely that many users will find themselves writing term papers on this free Word app, but it works well enough for writing a page or two at a time, offering easy-to-use options for changing formatting and fonts. You can also download files you’ve saved to the cloud and easily search through them for editing. When you’re done, there are a variety of options to share your file through email apps or you can convert it to PDF.
I decided to test out the Excel app by typing an invoice for another site I write for. The invoice template was actually a little bit easier to edit than the one I’ve used on my laptop, though at times it can be difficult to get the app to recognize you’ve double tapped a box, which brings up the keyboard. Like the Word app, this has all the aforementioned uploading functionality, but it’s just not something that you’re likely to use very often unless you really need to create or edit a spreadsheet in a pinch.
Oh PowerPoint, where would modern business meetings be without you? Certainly the world would be a much more boring place. The PowerPoint app is the highlight of Microsoft’s Office apps. It makes scanning through previously created presentations a breeze. It’s also incredibly simple to open up a premade template and start putting together something that looks professional. If you want to make something more complicated, you’re probably better off sticking to the computer program, but this will be lifesaver for a lot of people who want to put presentations together quickly and can’t get to a computer.
Far from just being a poor man’s version of Word, OneNote is actually an extremely useful Microsoft Office app on Android. As soon as the app opens, you’re ready to begin jotting down anything that comes to mind, either in longhand or checklist form. Switching to another note is as simple as tapping the plus sign at the top of the screen. And unlike a lot of other memo apps on Android, OneNote lets you add photos to your notes as well.
Outlook does a decent job of organizing recent Microsoft files in your email, and the calendar is competent, but the email app is problematic. I synced my primary Gmail address to it, and it loaded messages quite a bit slower than the Gmail app. Emails were also not as well organized. Those who regularly use Outlook for emailing will likely find this app to be useful, but for everyone else, there are many other, better options out there.
For better or worse, Microsoft has brought the Office functionality of the Windows Phone to Android without the embarrassment of having to actually carry around a Windows Phone. Not all of the Microsoft Office apps are perfect, but they do make life easier for Android users who have to regularly work with Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents remotely.
image credit: Androidcentral.