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Free Microsoft 'Office' for iPad upgrade now available

Free Microsoft 'Office' for iPad upgrade now available
Free Microsoft 'Office' for iPad upgrade now available
Photo by Justin Sullivan

The free MicrosoftOfficeiPad apps just received a major upgrade that adds features, as an option to print, according to an April 29 report in AppleInsider. Microsoft “Office” for iPad is a suite of free apps that include “Word," “Excel” and “PowerPoint."

Just a little over one month ago Microsoft launched its “Office” productivity suite in Apple's App Store, after a wait of three years. Supposedly Microsoft waited while the software giant debated the implications of putting Microsoft's flagship product on Apple's iPad. But it was only logical that Microsoft “Office” would arrive on iPad at some point—after all, “Office” has been running on Apple's Mac computers for more than a decade.

In the month since Microsoft launched “Office” for iPad, users have clamored for printing support, a feature conspicuously missing until this update. With this free update users can now print their “Word” documents, “Excel” spreadsheets and “PowerPoint” presentations to an AirPrint-compatible printer, which ironically integrates Microsoft “Office” even tighter to the Apple ecosystem. AirPrint is an Apple feature that lets users print from their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch (beginning with iOS 4.2.1) or Mac (beginning with OS X “Lion”) via Wi-Fi.

In “Word” users can print documents with or without “Markup." “Markup” is a revision feature in “Word” that helps users track changes to their documents. In “Excel” users can print the entire spreadsheet, an individual worksheet or cell range. In “PowerPoint” users can print an individual page or range or pages, as well as, one slide or every slide.

Besides this new print feature, the free Microsoft “Office” apps have gained additional capabilities. In “PowerPoint," the “SmartGuides” feature had been added. Microsoft “SmartGuides” helps users align text boxes, shapes, pictures and more as users move them around a slide. In “Excel," the “AutoFit” capability has been added. “AutoFit” lets “users simultaneously adjust the width or multiple rows—or the height of many columns. What's more, this free Microsoft “Office” for iPad upgrade includes bug fixes and stability improvements for each app.

While “Microsoft Word for iPad," “Microsoft Excel for iPad” and “Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad” are free to download, they can only be used to view documents, spreadsheets and presentations. To edit them—or create them—a subscription to “Office 365” is necessary.

The most economical subscription is $69.99 a year (which includes 27 GB of online storage and 60 minutes a month of worldwide “Skype” calling time). But, if a user is a full-time or part-time college student, he or she can get a subscription for only $20.00 a year (and get the same amount of online storage and “Skype” calling minutes).

“Microsoft Word for iPad," “Microsoft Excel for iPad” and “Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad” each require iOS 7.0 or later. Specifically designed for iPad, each of these Microsoft “Office” apps is free.