Microsoft Office for iPad is free (kinda) and ready to download

By David Flynn, March 28 2014
Microsoft Office for iPad is free (kinda) and ready to download

TRAVEL TECH | Microsoft's Office suite has finally reached the iPad, with an iOS version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint launched overnight and now available as a free download.

Yes, 'free' – as long as all you'll be doing is reading documents. (Microsoft says this also includes making presentations, which in this context means the fine art of letting somebody else read a document).

To edit documents on your iPad, or create new ones on the fly, you'll need to pony up for one of Microsoft's annual Office 365 software rental scheme plans.

Office 365 subscriptions start at A$120 per year year with the Office 365 Home Premium plan which covers all Office for iPad apps installed on up to five tablets, on top of the five copies of Office running on your Windows or Mac laptop or desktop.

In April Microsoft will introduce a cheaper Office 365 Personal scheme for loading Office onto a single tablet and laptop or desktop, priced at A$89 per year.

The new iPad editions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all sport the familiar ribbon interface of their desktop siblings but have been designed from the ground up for Apple's tablet, according to Microsoft.

Some tablet-friendly conceits include Excel's customised numeric keyboard for easily working up equations and formulas, and a ' virtual laser pointer' for PowerPoint slideshows.

Of course, all Office for iPad documents use the same native file formats so there's no cumbersome document conversion – just download a document via email, online or from Microsoft's OneDrive cloud and start editing.

You can watch Microsoft's quick Office for iPad introduction video clip below:

Want more details? Click here to download a free Office for iPad guide [12MB PDF].

Just want those free Office for iPad apps software right now? Here you go!

As part of the Office for iPad launch Microsoft has also made Office Mobile for iPhone and Android available free of charge with full document editing capabilities.

(A free version of Microsoft's companion OneNote app for the iPad was released in December last year.)

Too late for travellers, or just in time?

Newly-minted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has already made "cloud first, mobile first" his mantra for the company, which despite its success in the desktop/notebook and server space has consistently dropped the ball in the fast-growing mobile and cloud segments.

Of course, 'mobile and cloud' is almost the natural home for business travellers – we're always on the go, we're not tied down and we don't want our data to be tied down either.

And a vast number of Windows laptops toted by frequent flyers are accompanied by iPads rather than Windows tablets.

So our question for AusBT readers is: does the release of Office for the iPad come too late, or is it just in time?

Have you already found an Office alternative for your iPad – such as Apple's iWork suite, QuickOffice or Documents To Go – or have you been patiently waiting for Microsoft's official Office app?

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 353

I haven't been hanging out for Office on my iPad, I don't really use it for that sort of 'work' at all. But as I've already for an Office subscription for my Windows notebook I'd consider adding an 'Office for iPad' onto this and using OneDrive for cloud storage.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1245

Too late.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 68

If the office for ipad is more like the windows version - then yes, its great.

If it is more like the mac version - it will die. For some reason, they have stripped the mac version of usefulness. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2204

Pretty much this, especially because Numbers and Pages are quite good.

Frankly, the more important thing for Microsoft to pursue is building things like the Surface and Office 365 into serious competitors to iOS and Android. They are great concepts, especially in presentations and seminars, but they need to be used.


10 Sep 2011

Total posts 162

I'lI stick with my Surface RT. Real Office for free in a much more flexible package than an iPad.


13 Dec 2012

Total posts 20

+1 Please give me a "lite" cut down half version of your product! - said no serious business traveller... ;-)

Happy to pay a one-off fee but this on-going subscription is bull crap.

People who already use their iPad for productivity related activities have established other alternatives.

Those who haven't have written the iPad out of the equation i.e. iPads are only for entertainment.

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