The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using the Microsoft Office Mobile Apps

Last Edited: November 18, 2016 | Published: November 18, 2016 by


When Microsoft first announced it was bringing its industry leading suite of productivity apps, Microsoft Office, to the mobile platforms of both iOS and Android, it was quite a hit. No doubt, the ability to access and edit your documents on the go is a great advantage, and being able to use the same software across all platforms is a definite winner in my book. But there are drawbacks to it as well.

Today, let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of using the Microsoft Office suite on your tablet or smartphone so you can decide if it is right for you.

The Benefits

First, let’s take a look at all the good things using these apps will bring to you. After all, there are many reasons to use these apps on your favorite mobile device.

Use Office Anywhere

I’m sure this one is pretty obvious to all of you out there. Yes with these apps you have access to the very best of the Office suite right on your smartphone or tablet. The apps function much like their desktop counterparts with many touch enhancements to make navigating the apps without a keyboard and mouse much easier. You can use it anywhere so you never have to be without the basic applications you need for work.

Create, Edit and View for Later

Of course, you can’t forget the ability to create and edit documents that you can then go back to later on a desktop. This is my personal favorite way to use the software. I can make quick edits or create a quick basic document and then save it. Once saved I can go back to it when I’m sitting at my computer to give it a good edit.

OneDrive Integration

One of the biggest benefits of Windows 10 and the latest versions of Office for both the desktop and the mobile platforms is the OneDrive cloud integration. Using this cloud storage, you can easily edit documents in one place and then pick up right where you left on somewhere else using an entirely different device. Using this cloud integration, you can easily create and edit documents while you are on the go on your tablet and then access the most recent and updated version again at your desk once you get home.

Presentations from Your Tablet

Do you have to travel and give presentations to clients? In the past, that meant carrying around a laptop and a projector. Today, all you need is your tablet (and maybe a projector) for the same task. Microsoft has included Powerpoint in its suite of apps making it easy to carry your presentations with you without having to carry around a full laptop. For anyone who spends anytime on the road, you know the less you must carry the better, especially if it involves flights. Powerpoint on your tablet or smartphone makes taking these presentations with you even easier.

The Drawbacks

Now that we have gotten the good out of the way, let’s take a look at a few annoyances and drawbacks that may mean it really isn’t worth it to you in the end.

Small Screen Makes Editing Difficult

One of the biggest downsides isn’t really any fault of Office, but due to the limitation of the device you are using. Your tablet screens are just small compared to a regular monitor. That means that the documents you edit will also be relatively small. Yes you can pinch to zoom in so you can see things better, but that does mean you won’t be able to look at as much of the document at one time.

In some cases, this can make editing and writing a bit difficult. I have to admit, Microsoft did a good job balancing what you need to see to actually get the job done, so that means that it is definitely doable. However, if your eyes aren’t the best, you may not enjoy the experience. Still, it may be worth keeping on your tablet when you need to edit on the go.

Some Features Limited without Subscription

In the beginning, this was a much bigger concern, but Microsoft has eased some of its restrictions. In the beginning, your ability to create and edit was somewhat limited if you didn’t have an Office 365 subscription. Today, it isn’t quite the same. You can still edit and create today, but some of the more advanced Office features won’t be available. For many, this isn’t that big a deal as they just need to make a few edits here and there. However, if you rely on your mobile Office apps then you will need an Office 365 subscription to make the most of it.

Need the Cloud

In many ways, using the cloud is great, but if you don’t like using the cloud or prefer not to due to privacy concerns, this can present a problem. Sure, you can create and edit documents and then email them to yourself, but the fact is Microsoft Office on your tablet just works better with the cloud. We talked about it above. While there are ways around using the cloud, they are a little awkward and require extra steps. For many, this may not be a big deal, but I do feel it is worth mentioning.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the choice is yours. In many ways, you don’t have much to lose, and if you already have an Office 365 subscription, then there really isn’t any reason not to do it. After all, you are paying for it. Still, for others, it may not be worth it and you may find the small screen difficult to work with. Overall, I do believe it is worth it as long as you think you will use it for time to time. Just don’t go and purchase a description if you aren’t sure. Try the free options first and if you find it is worth it. Go for it.

What do you think about the Microsoft Office apps for iOS and Android? Are they a great addition to any smartphone or tablet or are they really not worth it in the end? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

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