Microsoft Office and its various iterations is perhaps the most well-known and widely used office productivity suite on the planet. That popularity extends to smartphone and tablet platforms, as Office apps are available for both Android and iOS.
However, in order to use the various apps within the Office family, you previously had to download each separately. Microsoft is currently testing a new version of Office that will combine all of the major software components into a single app. In this case, perennial favorites Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be combined into a single Office Mobile app
Instead of having your documents siloed within their respective apps, all of your Office documents are brought together in one place. This also helps reduce the annoying workflow scheme of having to duck in and out of apps (i.e. from Word to Excel) to transfer/import data. In addition, it also cuts down on the amount of storage taken up by the apps and to a lesser extent helps tidy up your app folders.
Microsoft is also proud of its new actions pane with Office Mobile, which it describes:
- Create PDFs with your camera, using photos on your device, or from Office documents.
- Sign PDFs by simply using your finger.
- Scan QR codes to open files and links.
- Easily transfer files between your phone and computer or share instantly with nearby mobile devices.
"We know many people are probably wondering, what does this mean for the current mobile apps? In short, we will continue to support and invest in the existing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps," said Microsoft's Bill Doll. "We are proud that millions of people use and depend on these apps every day and we believe everyone should decide which experience works best for them on their phones. However, we do encourage everyone to give the new Office app a try."
The hew Office Mobile app is available for download right now in public preview form for both Android and iOS. You can download the Android version direct from the Google Play Store, while you'll need to go through Apple's TestFlight program to get the public preview for iOS.
At this time, Microsoft says that the public preview is limited to smartphones. Although the company says that a tablet version is in the work, it has not provided a timetable for availability on devices like the Apple iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S6.