Microsoft is rolling out big updates to all three of its major Office apps for Android, with several overlapping improvements. The highlight is the addition of auto-save, a staple on desktop versions and frankly overdue on mobile with so many more opportunities for lost connections, unexpected battery drains, and other interruptions. In the same vein, Word and Powerpoint get real-time collaborative editing support, similar to what is available in the web apps and Google Docs.

Screenshot_2016-03-16-13-21-31 Screenshot (March 16, 2016 1:24 PM)

I took a test drive with the collaborative editing on Word and it wasn't exactly seamless. The browser version says I was editing while offline, which is a decent way to describe the way it worked. At the times it would auto-save, it would reconcile whatever changes I made and any other collaborators made. It did notice that an invited guest had begun editing, which means it must have been working as intended. I did not see the guest's changes in real time on my phone or my phone's changes in real time in my guest's browser, though, so this either needs some polish or it isn't as great as it is made out to be.

Screenshot (March 16, 2016 1:25 PM)

Another related feature addition is version history, which will probably ease any fears about auto-save causing problems. If you realize you want to revert to a previous version, it is as simple as choosing it from a list of save points.

Screenshot_2016-03-16-13-37-17 Screenshot (March 16, 2016 1:37 PM)

Version history has been added to all three Office apps and appears in a similar fashion in each.

PowerPoint gets a unique and useful tool in the update, described by Microsoft as "Designer." It appears to only be available in the tablet version of the app. Under the design tab is "design ideas," which allows you to choose a photo and have several themes and layouts suggested to you that will color coordinate with the chosen image.

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Here's the app by app changelog:

Word

• Auto save: We save your changes as you go, but you are still in control: You can turn it off if you want.
• Version history: All is not lost! Go back to view or restore an earlier version of your document.
• Collaborative authoring: Work with others at the same time on your documents.

PowerPoint

• Auto save: We save your changes as you go, but you are still in control: You can turn it off if you want.
• Designer: You supply the picture, we supply high-quality, professional design ideas for your slides.
• Version history: Go back to view or restore an earlier version of your document.
• Collaborative authoring: Work with others at the same time on your documents.
• Insert from Camera: Take a picture directly from PowerPoint.

Excel

• Auto save: We save your changes as you go, but you are still in control: You can turn it off if you want.
• Version history: All is not lost! Go back to view or restore an earlier version of your document.
• Fill handles: Automatically fill a range of cells by dragging a Fill handle.

Most users should have received the updates through the Play Store by now, but if not you can always grab them at APK Mirror.