A version of Microsoft Office for the iPad has finally arrived, but it has done so with a hefty $99-a-year price tag. That’s the cost of a subscription to Office 365, the Microsoft’s online service that allows consumers web access to their Word, PowerPoint and Excel files and for being able to use Office applications on other people’s computers. The new iPad apps will still work without this subscription, but users will only be able to open and view files. They won’t be able to edit and save a document or create one from scratch. Times might be changing but Office is still by far the world’s most popular productivity suite of software Microsoft claims it has over 1 billion users. Still, many tablet owners may think that an Office 365 subscription is a high price to pay for the sake of continuity and compatibility with documents stored on their PCs. So, what are the alternatives?
It doesn’t offer the same scope as the full Office suite, but for written notes, voice memos, to-do lists and filing images and sketches, the app is becoming invaluable. And it automatically syncs content across all devices so that an idea that’s born on a smartphone can be developed on a desktop or tablet and vice versa.
If you have an iPad, then why not use Apple’s own take on Office, iWork? It has a word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and even a desktop publishing app. It links with iCloud (Apple’s cloud storage service) and files can be synced and accessed across Apple’s computers, smartphones and tablets. And, it’s “sort of” free. If your iPad or iPhone was bought after September 2013 then the suite of apps can be downloaded and installed for free. Users with older devices can buy the apps individually for $9.99.
Last, but by no means least. A suite of apps that’s growing more comprehensive by the day and one that’s free to access on pretty much any device capable of computing. And as such it is probably the closest direct competitor to Office currently available in terms of its scope of uses. One of its neatest tricks is its ability to open and read documents created in Word or Excel.
OFFICE FOR IPHONE OR ANDROID
As one door closes, another opens. The smartphone version of Office is now free to use and doesn’t require a subscription. Ok, creating a spreadsheet or slide presentation on a tiny screen might not be the simplest of things, especially on the move, but word processing is only one step up from texting.