A Windows 8 tablet is a great tool to help you keep up with work when you're on the move. But not every application is optimized for touch controls, and it's not always easy to navigate complex menus with your fingers. That's why Microsoft has announced a new, touch-friendly, fully featured version of Microsoft Office that's designed for use on a touch-screen Windows 8 device.
The new version of Office offers larger toolbars with bigger buttons that are easier to tap with your fingers. It also introduces touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom that should be familiar to most smartphone and tablet users. The apps retain the familiar Office "ribbon" at the top of the interface that offers quick access to a variety of formatting and editing options, but the larger icons will keep you from tapping the wrong one. That's good news for business users who want to work on documents and spreadsheets on the go, but prefer to carry a portable tablet instead of a heavy laptop. Of course, the apps also work with touch-screen laptops and desktop computers running Windows 8. Microsoft hasn't yet announced a release date for the new touch-friendly Office apps, however.
The announcement comes on the heels of several other recent Office-related developments. Last week, Microsoft launched an iPad Office suite, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The company also announced that Android and iPhone users can now take full advantage of the document-creation and editing functionality in the mobile Office apps; previously, that functionality was reserved for subscribers to Microsoft's cloud-enabled Office 365 service.