Microsoft has been steadfast in its initiative to bring its Office suite of productivity apps to other platforms. Today, the Redmond-based company has rolled out preview versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android phones. Here’s everything you need to know (and do) to get started.
First, you’ll need to join the Microsoft Office for Android community. Once a member, you need to sign up to become a beta tester (this must be done for each of the three apps). Now just wait for Google Play to grant the necessary beta tester permissions (which could take up to four hours).
After enough time has elapsed, you can snag each app by following these links: Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Microsoft has published an FAQ should you run into any issues during installation. Do note that Microsoft recommends running Android 4.4 KitKat or later on a handset with at least 1GB of RAM.
Android phone users will find each app offers the familiar look and feel of Office with a touch-friendly interface. Navigation and menu options in the ribbon are located at the bottom of the screen within reach of your thumbs for easier access on the go. The apps can open and save documents to and from a variety of cloud storage providers including OneDrive, SharePoint, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.
This isn’t the first time we’re seeing Office on Android. Back in November, Microsoft released a preview version of Office for Android tablets. Microsoft already offers an Office Mobile app for Android phone but it's not nearly as streamlined and optimized for mobile / touch like the new preview apps are. Furthermore, the new apps are standalone apps whereas Office Mobile bundles everything together.