Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad get trackpad support and more in new updates

Excel on iPad Pro
Excel on iPad Pro (Image credit: Dan Thorp-Lancaster / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has new updates out for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad.
  • The three apps now fully support trackpads.
  • There are updated Start Screens and Ribbons as well.

Microsoft today announced a suite of updates for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on iPad. The company says that this is part of its commitment "to making sure Microsoft 365 users have the best experience possible on any technology platform they use."

Even if it's iPad.

The standout change is the arrival of full trackpad and mouse support, allowing for easier document control and editing across all three apps.

The Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps are now receiving updates to take full advantage of trackpad support in iPadOS to give iPad users using a mouse or Apple's new Magic Keyboard easy cursor control, fluid navigation, and precise adjustments. When moving a finger across the built-in trackpad of Magic Keyboard, the cursor transforms into the tool you need depending on the content you're pointing to. And using a mouse or trackpad with iPad for common tasks like highlighting a passage of text in Word, selecting a range of cells in Excel, and moving and resizing graphics in PowerPoint are as simple and intuitive as ever.

Microsoft has also updated the Start Screens and Ribbons of the apps, making the experience cleaner and "more modern" than before.

We are updating the overall user experience in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with new start screens and a new ribbon of feature menus. These enhancements provide a cleaner and more modern user experience which has proven to help people more easily find what they need and focus on the task at hand.

Some people will already have seen these updates as part of a phased rollout but everyone else will see them arrive within the next few weeks, the company says.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.