Microsoft continues to hammer away at its Android offerings, this time with monthly updates to its office suite. There's no earth-shaking changes here, but as usual regular users are going to appreciate these. The most broadly useful is the new ability to put shortcuts to Office files on your home screen, much like on your desktop computers. For the business types, each of the three apps can now open IRM-protected files. Read More
Microsoft is about to hit it big with one of China's top smartphone manufacturers: Xiaomi. It has announced today a multi-faceted deal with the company including sales of patents, cross-licensing arrangements, and software pre-installation, expanding its OEM partnerships and its services' worldwide reach while also providing Xiaomi with the support it needed to enter more markets.
Microsoft will be selling 1500 patents to Xiaomi — it's not clear whether these came from the Nokia acquisition, its many other acquisitions, or ones that it originally filed for. Regardless, according to Wang Xiang, senior vice president at Xiaomi, this should beef up Xiaomi's arsenal of patents and should, theoretically, make it easier for the company to enter Western markets with lesser friction from other patent holders. Read More
Have you ever wished that your complex word processing software had a simple search function to let you know where the hell it put the word count? It does, and it's called Google. But say you don't want to pop out to another program to do so. That's the idea behind "Tell Me," a feature introduced into the latest versions of Microsoft's various Office programs. It's essentially just a search box with a few predictive tricks to help users find some of the less obvious features. Today it comes to the Android versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Read More
While Google continues to improve the Drive suite experience on Android, Microsoft is making headway with Office on Android. All three apps (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, in case you need a reminder) have gotten updates, adding features and improving editing tools on touchscreens.
Word has two major new or improved features in this release. The first is a better experience when inserting a table into a document. Before, configuring a table was a finicky and fiddly mess, equivalent to painting a tiny model soldier with pins and needles in your hands. With this update, inserting a table is much easier; the cells are bigger by default, with a resize handle at the bottom right to quickly resize the table. Read More
Microsoft's Office Lens scanning app is really good at what it does and that might be why they don't bother to update it too often nowadays. But this is one of those special times when it has gotten some love from the good people in Redmond. The headlining feature is getting to OCR handwritten text in scans, but I assure you that there is a bit of a catch. More practically useful is the other new feature, the option to rotate your scans.
So what's the deal with getting OCR on scans of handwritten documents? Well, for the uninitiated, OCR refers to methods for parsing letters from images. Read More
Microsoft has been steadily marching towards getting familiar desktop features onto their mobile apps. Most recently, that meant support for versioning, auto-save, and live collaboration. This time around, all three get the ability to export to PDF, something we take for granted when using the full versions of Office. They also get a new feature allowing users to insert images directly from your camera, which of course is a feature more unique to mobile. For its part, Microsoft Word for Android can now open RTF files, which falls into the "I didn't realize it couldn't already do that" category for many of us. Read More
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.
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. Read More
A few days ago, the Outlook team announced a new option to schedule Skype calls within the app's calendar. At the time, the feature wasn't live but the app has just been updated to add it. Call scheduling can be triggered from Outlook or, more appropriately, from Skype and this is what this latest update to the latter is about.
Now when you're viewing a certain contact, you can tap the overflow menu and see a new Schedule a call option. Tap it and you're immediately taken to Outlook to add the new appointment to your calendar and block your schedule for the corresponding time. Read More
Microsoft Office is available for Android. No, this isn't new news, but considering how unlikely that seemed not many years ago, it's nice to reflect every now and then. Anyways, an update has rolled out for the full suite of Office apps. Word and Excel now come in smaller packages, with Microsoft boasting a 50% reduction in size. Read More
It's one thing to claim you have an open approach and another thing to make it easier to use your competitor's product. Google is putting their money where their mouth is as they release a Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office, though there is still some work to do. While on one hand you can see this as a way to help users avoid Docs, Sheets, and Slides, it also provides feature parity with Drive's own competitors OneDrive and Dropbox, both of whom enjoy deep integration with the office suite.
At this point, the plug-in only works on Windows and users are reporting that it doesn't function on the Office 2016 pre-release versions which will launch very shortly alongside Windows 10. Read More