I’ve been interested in getting an official Microsoft Office Suite for iOS for a very long time, so it was with great excitement and enthusiasm that I followed the link to the App Store and installed the office suite. The first thing to note was that the version of Office requires a subscription to Office 365. JMARK has a subscription, but if you haven’t gotten hooked up with Office 365 yet, you can get yours here:
Upon launching the app for the first time, I was greeted with a series of introductory slides. Then I was permitted to connect Office on my iPhone to my JMARK cloud account.
After setting Office up, I was ready to edit some documents. I selected the type of document to create, in this case a low-impact meeting agenda — you know, just to warm up before giving Office Mobile a real workout.
I noticed the auto-correct suggestions were a little odd. Apparently there should be no managers present in a meeting. I’ve never seen this suggestion on my iPhone before when typing in the word “Managers,” (it normally just recognizes the word “managers”) so I must assume that Microsoft has done something with the spellcheck within the app.
Moving on, I decided to save a draft to the cloud and see how it looked in my browser…
… but the app crashed.
… and crashed, and crashed. Okay, I thought, let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, and see what else it can do. This time I decided to try an Excel spreadsheet to track vehicle mileage. I figured since that was one of the available templates it should go great. I did find it odd that the input for numerical fields default to iOS’s alpha keyboard instead of the numeric keypad.
That raises a pretty substantial usability concern, but I’m sure we’ll see this addressed in a future release. Having run through the basic app experience, I was ready to try saving again.
… But the app crashed again. I rebooted my phone and cleared all the memory, but sadly, it crashed every time.
After trying everything in my iOS troubleshooting arsenal, I finally gave up on trying to save any document to the cloud using Office Mobile. This is a great app, as long as you don’t mind spending twice as long creating or editing documents, having your correctly-spelled words automatically replaced with incorrect words and phrases at random, and don’t need to save or share your created files with anyone.
As excited as I was to have an official Microsoft-approved version of Office on my iPhone, I think I’ll stick with iWork for now.
I tried Office on an Apple iPhone 4S running the latest version of iOS. Your mileage may vary. If you give it a try, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Post a comment back on this article, or better yet, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter.