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Continued: Review: Long-awaited Office for iPhone another tool for Office subscribers, but not perfect

  • Article by: BREE FOWLER , AP Business Writer
  • Last update: June 14, 2013 - 5:25 PM

When it tried to make changes and save the file, the app told me that I couldn't because the template wasn't compatible. Microsoft says that while the app is designed to mesh with the desktop version as well as possible, a few of the properties of desktop files don't transfer to the phone version.

Meanwhile, I opened a sample stock portfolio created with Excel on a laptop. On the iPhone, the pie charts are intact, but some of the text explaining them was missing.

Basic spreadsheets arrived with all of their data, and I was able to easily view and make changes to a PowerPoint presentation. You can't create PowerPoint slides with the app, but you can change their order or hide some of them.

If you're an iPhone user and already subscribe to Office 365, downloading this software is a no-brainer, as long as you keep expectations for its use realistic. How much do you really want to type on an iPhone anyway?

But if you don't already have Office 365, it's not a huge incentive to spend $100 a year that you might not otherwise. Google's QuickOffice and Apple apps such as Pages and Numbers, combined with storage services such as Dropbox and iCloud, can provide many of the same benefits at a fraction of the price.

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About Microsoft's Office Mobile for iPhone:

The app comes with pared-down versions of Microsoft's Word, Excel and PowerPoint software.

It is free to download from Apple's app store, beginning in the U.S. on Friday, with other countries to follow in the coming days. You then add your Office 365 subscription information to activate the app. The subscription costs $100 a year or $10 a month and allows use of Office on up to five Mac and Windows computers and up to five iPhones.

The app works on the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 and the iPod Touch model that came out last year. It requires version 6.1 or later of the iOS operating system. It can be installed on iPads with that operating system, but it isn't optimized for the tablet's larger screen.

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