Microsoft has introduced a mobile version of Office for Windows Phone 8 that will come pre-installed on every new handset. Bert Van Hoof from Microsoft's Office engineering group outlined five clear objectives they wanted to accomplish with the new software in a recent post on the official Office blog.
The first goal was to make all Office documents accessible where and when you want them. To facilitate this, Windows Phone 8 auto-discovery help connect you to your accounts. From there, you'll want to navigate to the Office Hub, described as the one-stop shop for Office, PowerPoint and Excel. It's been redesigned with simple and fluid navigation to help locate documents on SkyDrive, Office 365 and SharePoint.
When it comes time to view content on your Windows Phone 8 handset, Microsoft promises a superb document rendering experience. PowerPoint is said to render all shapes and SmartArt Graphics while honoring transition effects and timing. There's also portrait mode and speaker notes with slide thumbnails to make navigating slides easier.
In Excel, workbooks now open at the last saved sheet and zoom level. New touch-friendly handles allow for easier range selection and resizing of columns / rows while overall navigation is said to be fast and fluid.
Microsoft implemented a full-screen reading mode in Word that shows more content in a single window. Editing options are hidden from view until you tap the document canvas. Cloud-stored documents update in real time and allow you to pick up editing right where you left off on a PC, tablet or another phone.
OneNote Mobile is now a separate app outside of the Office Hub. Simply tapping the OneNote Tile will launch the app, allowing you to quickly capture photo, text or voice notes. Microsoft says notes will look the same across OneNote 2013, OneNote for Windows Store and OneNote Mobile which means you'll have a consistent look no matter what version you are working with.
Microsoft says Office for Windows Phone 8 is now available in 50 languages, supports complex script and UI mirroring. This means that text and characters in right-to-left languages will be properly aligned with UI elements following the natural direction.
Handsets through AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US are expected to be available starting in mid-November from the likes of HTC, Nokia and Samsung.