REVIEW: Microsoft Word on the iPad

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Well here I am. Writing this article in Microsoft Word on the Apple iPad. Microsoft has obviously taken its time in developing this software for the iPad. The “fit and finish” and smoothness and stability are excellent for a version 1.0 product. Although not “bloated” with features seldom used, it has enough features to get 95% of most peoples work done.

It is exceedingly simple to use. Actually reminds me of Word 2003 in many ways – as the first to you a ribbon bar with easy to use “touch” commands. The application uses pretty standard keyboard commands that make it easy to use with almost any bluetooth keyboard connected to the iPad.

What really impresses me is how well formatting comes over from the desktop version of MS Word 2013 on the PC or Word 2011 on the Mac (Microsoft has confirmed that a new version of Office 365 is in development for the Mac.)

The application has five simple menu choices: Home, Insert, Layout, Review and View.

 Home: is basic formatting – type choices, highlighting, text position, bullets, numbering, paragraph indent and outdent, show or hide “invisibles” and more.
 Insert: insertion of page breaks, column and section breaks, tables, pictures, shapes, text box, hyperlinks and footnotes.
 Layout: page orientation, page size, page margins, text flow direction, number of columns, header & footer information, page numbering.
 Review: normal editors and proofers markers are available as well as the ability to track changes and display items for review.
 View: the view command gives you spelling, ruler and word count options.

Sure there are things that could be better, a few missing features – like the ability to print (coming in the next version according to published sources from Microsoft.

Live collaboration and review is easily accomplished by sharing links that allow more than one person to be working on the same document at the same time. The links can be set as “read only” or “read and edit.” Nice! The document can also be sent as an attachment via the iPads email system.

Is Word for the iPad “better” than Apple’s Pages app. No, but it may be more familiar to the millions of business users who use Office everyday. There is very little learning curve, and you can get up to speed very quickly.

Bottom line… nice job Microsoft.

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