Remember the days when Microsoft kept all its favorite toys in its own playground? Ah, those days are long over, and now we've got the full suite of Office apps on Android. All three—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—are getting nice little updates today.
If there's one place that Google Docs is a market leader, it's where it comes to collaboration. A web app was a natural place to build on the familiar commenting features from Microsoft Word and make them work in real time and without formal software requirements. On the other hand, we don't normally think about spreadsheets in those terms. With the latest updates to Sheets, though, Google is bringing comments to Android and the web.
I know I haven't even thought much about the need for this kind of feature in a spreadsheet app, but in hindsight it makes plenty of sense.
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.
In a series of upcoming updates to Google's Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps, users will be able to have easier access to one of the most basic editing capabilities: changing the file name. Whereas before you would only change the document's title by saving, it's accessible via hamburger menu now.
Left: old menu, middleand right: new menu and rename dialog
Slide the menu in from the right, tap on the area that says "TestDoc.docx" or whatever you're working with, and you'll see the dialog box on the far right that allows you to edit. Pretty simple and streamlines a pretty fundamental feature.
Microsoft decided a while back to stop jealously guarding its popular productivity software and create proper apps for Android and iOS. The Office apps first came to Android for tablets only, but a phone preview started a few weeks ago. Now phone support is live for everyone, so go grab your free Word, PowerPoint, and Excel apps.
Google has unveiled several handy new features for Sheets, their Excel competitor that quite honestly needs all the help it can get. The goodies include enhancements to core functions in addition to collaboration. One of these involves being able to apply sharing permissions to specific parts of the spreadsheet, rather than the entire file.
With the new functionality, I can highlight a cell or set of cells and then right click, tap on "protect cells," and then alter the access rights to them. You may share your document with someone but not necessarily expect them to make major alterations.
There's no nice way to say this: May kind of sucked for new apps. There were a lot of notable updates to major existing apps (including a slew of Material Design updates), but the biggest news of the month came from Microsoft, of all places. Oh well - a short field just means it's that much easier to pick your bets. Here in no particular order are our top picks for the month of May, and a few runners up.
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
The biggest apps to drop on Android in May are from Microsoft, the company's Holy Trinity of Office apps, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
New to the Play Store is Microsoft's Office Remote for Android, an app whose name almost perfectly describes its function. While your phone may not be the place to present your latest Powerpoint or show off your Excel PivotTables, Office Remote turns your handset into the command center for these sorts of broadcasts. In other words, it allows you to use your Android device like a "clicker" that happens to be loaded with lots of other features.
Your actions in the Android app will cause a corresponding response on a desktop-based Microsoft Office program that you will connect to via Bluetooth.
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft wants to have a larger footprint in the mobile market. So the company is taking one of its flagship products and having it shipped preloaded on a significantly larger number of phones and tablets. No, silly, not Windows. I'm talking about Office.
Microsoft has announced that it is partnering with a good number of OEMs to have Office shipped out of the box on a plethora of hardware over the next year. When you fire up such a device, look for the likes of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype.
The largest partner is Samsung, who already announced that it was including Office apps on the Galaxy S6.
Microsoft's Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps have been in preview on Android for a few months, first as an invite-only preview then as an open one. Now Redmond appears to be moving forward with the real deal—the preview label is gone, and the final versions are rolling out.