With the release of the ‘final’ Windows 10 build (10240) it’s a good time to look at the free Office apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These apps only work on Windows 10 but are free and worth getting even if you’ll be installing the full Office software.
The apps are also good for secondary computers which don’t need a full Office licence. They’ll work on Windows 10 tablets and phones which won’t support full Office for Windows.
Microsoft is running a risk in providing these free apps. Some people might decide that the free Office apps have all the features they need so there’s no good reason to renew with Office 365 annual payment. Redmond is betting that most people will continue to pay for Microsoft Office even though they might not really need to.
These apps are the ‘universal’ apps which work on all Windows 10 machines; from full PCs, tablets and phones.
How to get
Use these links from Windows 10:
Or open the Windows 10 Store and search for ‘Word Mobile’, ‘Excel Mobile’, ‘PowerPoint Mobile’ of ‘OneNote Mobile’. All three apps have the ‘mobile’ name, even though they are designed to work on standard PC’s and laptops as well as ‘mobile’ devices like tablets and smartphones.
Make sure you choose the ‘real’ apps from Microsoft Corporation. There are a few ‘office’ apps out there with similar names from other sources.
How to tell Office mobile and Office 2016 apart.
Regular Office users might have both the full Office software and the Office Mobile apps installed. Even though you’d use the Office software most of the time, the apps are a handy fallback position. The apps could be handy if the main Office software is misbehaving.
The Mobile apps use less memory (very roughly 40% less) then their desktop cousins. That might be worth considering in some low memory situations.
The only direct way to tell the difference on the taskbar is to look at the icons. Word Mobile (on the left) has a colored letter W on a white background. Word 2016 has a white W.
It’s the same pattern for Excel and PowerPoint. The Mobile/App version has a colored latter while the full software has a white letter. Here are examples from the Windows 10 Start menu,
Both the mobile apps (if installed) and full Office software are available from the right-click ‘Open with’ menu in Windows Explorer. Here the full software gets the suffix (desktop):
The apps themselves are quite simple. They have a small number of core features, compared with full Office software for Windows or Mac. If you’ve used Office for iPad, iPhones or Android you should not have any trouble using the similar Office Mobile apps.