Microsoft dives into the Office for iPad design process

Office for iPad

Microsoft has provided a look behind the scenes on how they developed Office for iPad and highlighted an impressive 27 million download milestone. They made plenty of smart moves, such as designing for the iPad, rather than simply porting a desktop version to a tablet. The devs considered core usage scenarios, like making last-minute changes on a presentation, or powering through a draft to meet a deadline. Subtle touches like a lightweight but customizable menu ribbon, and tweaking the standard iOS 7 design principles with their own spin helped make Office the app it is.

We're fans of Office on iPad, even with the subscription cost. There are plenty of productivity apps out there to handle documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, but Office has traditionally done really well in that area, and has managed to continue the tradition on iPad. For a deeper look at how Microsoft pulled it off, check the link below. There's also the Reddit AMA the development team did not too long ago.

How many of you guys are using Word, PowerPoint, or Excel for iPad? Is it worth the subscription cost?

Source: Microsoft

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Microsoft dives into the Office for iPad design process

9 Comments

For somebody who needs to deal with MS Office documents having more than just the most basic formatting, it is totally worth it. And considering the provided storage amounts, especially compared to iCloud, and the ability to use the subscription with all platforms supported, it is really an excellent offer, especially for families with up to 5 Macs and PCs combined. The stability is quite amazing for a 1.x product, they sure did a great job here.

I still prefer iWork for my own stuff and PowerPoint is really not competitive with Keynote at all. But the option to finally deal with business documents without conversion and formatting / fidelity loss is very welcome. It definitely is a huge step up if you do not want to carry a laptop around, which I haven't since the first iPad arrived, but needed a lot of ugly workarounds to make it work... Much easier now.

Not a fan of Office at all anymore and definitely not a fan of the iOS apps. They are literally useless without a subscription.

Although many people will say that you can use them to view documents without paying, this is really a mis-description. Yes you can view documents, (one at a time) but the process is laborious, and when you open the second one, the first one disappears and requires you exiting the program and going through the whole procedure over again.

In other words, it's more or less useless as a viewer, and 100% useless for actual work without a subscription. This is a really stupid move from the point of view of product adoption so I expect it to change in the future once the fist bushel of downloads is over, (perhaps they will allow local editing and saving of documents without a subscription for example). Currently however, without a subscription it's just a real bad deal even for a habitual user of Office for Mac.

I advise all my clients to avoid it as it's faster to use Pages and Pages has the same functionality and reads and writes Office documents.

Do you expect this high end software to be given for free?
Why?, because if not then you won't approve?.
Obviously, uou don't subscribe because you don't need it.
Apparently, you dislike everything.
You said it, you're not a fan. I wonder why are you even complainig about it.

Sent from the iMore App

No. I do expect to pay for the software. And I do need Office, but not for a SUCH price. If you earn your money by working you count them. And it's outrageous price. What was thinking Microsoft about making a subscription plan for a such price when here's iWork? Only no need to try compare deep professional text editing on iPad: no one is going to use mobile for professional document editing - and for everything else we have iWork.

That's ridiculous. Let's hope you don't have many clients. The new MSOffice suite for iOS is absolutely PHENOMENAL! For a 1.0, beyond incredible. I'm an OSx fan through and through but to dismiss this suite like that is silly. I like iWork. A LOT. But, like it or not, MS Office is still ubiquitous in enterprise. The offering is extraordinary. Especially for MS. $10, cross platform five computers, five tablets. Bargain. And their app...unbelievable. It TRULY IS. I honestly hope your clients are intelligent enough to seek other advice because 'paying' MS for their software seems kinda smart, don't ya think? Considering the tablet/hardware sales are of zero benefit to them. Just like Spotify, Evernote, Dropbox or iTunes Match. You wanna use their software, you've got to pay. And at this price, it's a TRUE BARGAIN

Yes, having iWork for its price I'm not going to subscribe for the Office. I do work with text professionally and I do have desktop version of MS Office. But on iPads it doesn't have absolutely any advantages as no one will be using iPad for some deep professional editing anyway.

I tried the Office for iPad apps. Beautifully designed and quite functional, great example of app done right. So is iWork.

Try this: put some text, a couple of paragraphs, and a picture; and try moving the picture around. Do it and both iOS Pages and Word for iPad. You may use the templates for this.

As far as subscription is concerned, it is an absolutely ridiculous model for consumers. As Steve Jobs used to say monopolies halt all innovation and advancement. Adobe and Microsoft have near monopolies in particular categories of suites. Their products have matured so instead of compelling the user through new features to upgrade, they decided to force periodic subscription regardless of the quality or need for the upgrade. If you paid $150 for 3 license Office 2011(late 2010), you'd still have it and can continue using it when Office 2014 is released and you decide to not upgrade. If it were on subscription, as the situation is now, you'd have paid $400 and lost your Office 2011 later this year when Office 2014 is released.

It's not just about paying ransom money, but this practice would make them not work too hard for improvements. The business model changes from "consider paying for this improvement" to "consider losing everything if you don't pay" i.e. focus shifts from adding improvement to losing the existing.

I personally haven't tried it and really don't need to. My wife and I run a small business but could really just get by with iWork. I still have Office 2011 for Mac from back when I was in school. When these Macs get sold and we upgrade, I will switch us completely to iWork. All that said, Im glad Microsoft did it right. Love them or hate them, Office is a business standard. But, with so much competition, the high end is going to be their only niche unless they tone the price down some and offer lighter use for those of us who don't necessarily need it.