Microsoft Office is now free — on mobile devices, at least.
The company announced today (Oct. 6) that mobile versions of Office are now available for all iOS devices and will soon come to Android tablets. With this move, Microsoft aims to make Office accessible to everyone, while also delivering a "consistently beautiful and productive" Office experience for all users across all devices.
Now called Office for iOS and Office for Android, these new Office apps let users create and edit Office documents across mobile devices, with the integration of Dropbox cloud-storage capabilities. And this is the best part — it's all free. Here's how the new Office apps work and what they have to offer small business owners. [Best Free Office Suites: Microsoft Office Alternatives]
Office for iOS
If you're an iPhone user, you can now download Office for iOS from the Apple App Store. It consists of new Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps that are all designed for the iPhone's smaller screen. Note that you'll have to download each app separately, as there isn't an actual Office for iOS app that bundles the productivity suite.
Office for iOS is also now available for the iPad. If you already use last year's Office for iPad, simply update the apps to take advantage of all the features Office for iOS has to offer. Whereas Office for iPad is limited to viewing documents and presentations, updating to Office for iOS gives you the added benefit of creating and editing files without a paid Office 365 subscription (an Office for iPad requirement).
Office for Android Tablets
A mobile version of Office is also in the works for Android tablets. It's still in beta, however. Interested users can sign up for the Office for Android tablet Preview to check out the product.
Windows 10 users have something to look forward to also. Microsoft confirms that they are already working on a touch-optimized version of Office for Windows 10. The company will announce details soon.
What about Office 365?
If you're currently paying for Office 365 — the cloud-based version of Office that also works across mobile devices — you won't necessarily throw money away by keeping your subscription.
Although it's free to create and edit files on the new Office apps, their features are still fairly limited. Your Office 365 subscription, on the other hand, gives you the full Office experience on any device. And unlike the new Office apps, Office 365 also offers collaboration capabilities, unlimited OneDrive storage and more.
Originally published on Business News Daily.