The latest Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneDrive apps for iPhone and iPad have some genuinely good and useful changes. iPad users are the main beneficiaries of the changes.
If you push past the usual Redmond buzzwords ‘collaboration’, ‘co-authoring’, ‘create’, ‘experience’, ‘delight’, ‘productivity’, ‘from the ground up’ and the ever present ‘excited’ there are some changes that are truly interesting.
Real time collaboration in the Office apps
At last, you can open a shared document in Word, Excel or PowerPoint apps and see other edits in near real-time.
This brings the iOS apps into line with Office 2016 for Windows and Mac plus Office Online.
Apple’s tightly sandboxed world makes it hard to share or move a file between apps. Hopefully that will be a little easier with some innovations from Apple and now Microsoft.
Drag and Drop file management
OneDrive and Sharepoint files can be rearranged by familiar drag and drop between folders.
On an iPad, files can be dragged from other apps, like iMessage, into OneDrive. Files can also be dragged out of OneDrive to other apps.
Drag and Drop between Office apps
Now that apps can be positioned ‘side by side’ on iPads, there’s the opportunity for easier copying from one Office program to another. Content from one app, like Excel, can be dragged to another like Word or PowerPoint.
Files app support
OneDrive for iOS now supports the Files app in iOS 11. Users can access, upload, edit, and save content to OneDrive or SharePoint from apps that support Files app integration. Favorites and Tagging OneDrive/SharePoint files is available in the Files app.
More preview options
OneDrive for iOS has been given a welcome boost of preview options. There’ll be less messing about with other apps just to see what a particular file is or looks like.
OneDrive iOS app now has thumbnails and large previews of over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, image RAW, 3D objects, and high-precision DICOM images.
Microsoft says the OneDrive interface has been changed ‘from the ground up’. While the underlying code might have changed, the look isn’t that much different.
That said, the changes are good especially in the larger views available on an iPad.