New Microsoft Office apps for Android phones

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New Microsoft Office apps for Android phones

Microsoft's latest Office apps for Android now work on phones as well as tablets, further increasing the flexibility of your Office 365 subscription.

Last month we mentioned the preview release of Microsoft's Office apps for Android phones and now the finished versions are available via Google Play.

Three apps make up Office for Android phones: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. As Mike Williams wrote, they're "just like regular Office. Only smaller."

You can use them to create, open, edit and save files in OneDrive, Dropbox and other cloud storage services, though you do need to sign in with a free Microsoft account to create or edit documents. Among the changes made since the preview release are simplified connection s to Google Drive and Box.

The big selling points (the apps are actually free) of Office for Android phones are "unequaled file compatibility and layout fidelity" along with familiar features from the Windows version of Office.

A few "premium" features are only available to Office 365 subscribers:

Word

  • Track and review changes
  • Change page orientation
  • Insert page and section breaks
  • Highlight table cells with custom colour shading
  • Enable columns in page layout
  • Customise headers and footers for different pages

PowerPoint

  • Save ink annotations from slide shows
  • Highlight table cells with custom colour shading

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that the new apps require Android 4.4 or later, which rules out some older, but high end for their time, smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S3. Fortunately, the Office Mobile app is still available, allowing Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to be viewed and edited under older versions of Android.

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