Browsing Posts tagged Office

March 27, 2014 – Microsoft has just announced that Office is available for the iPad – specifically, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. That’s right, you can get Office for the iPad at the App Store (for free)! This will give you the ability to view, read and present your Office files. For full editing functionality you will need to purchase Office as a subscription through Office 365. This will give you the added capability of installing Office on up to 5 of your devices!

According to Microsoft, “What makes these apps unique is that they strike just the right balance between being unmistakably Office and being designed for the iPad. If you use Office on a PC or Mac, the iPad apps feel very familiar, so you are comfortable and confident using these apps right away. The Ribbon layout and experience is familiar, with the most common commands under Home, and Chart commands automatically show up when you select a chart.”

“At the same time, these apps were created from the ground up for iPad. The large touch areas on the Ribbon and in overlay menus make it simple to create, edit and format documents using only touch. Resize and rotate objects like pictures with touch-friendly handles. When you hold and move the objects, text flows smoothly around them. No keyboard and mouse required. You can even use iPad features like voice dictation to draft a Word document or AirPlay® to project a presentation wirelessly on a TV screen.”

As if that weren’t enough, Office Mobile is available now for the iPhone and Android phones as well – for free!

And remember, you always have access to your up-to-date documents in OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.

So if you’re one of the many that have been waiting for Microsoft Office capability for the iPad, this is happy news indeed. Just head on over to the App Store and join the crowd!

I’m at the xChange event in Dallas this week, and Sunday watched the keynote presented by Microsoft.  Now keep in mind that I’ve got a long history of Microsoft presentations. I’ve probably owned over 100 t-shirts from Redmond, and have sat through thousands of PowerPoint slides.  I’ve drank the Kool Aid enough times so that I look like a cross between Microsoft Bob and the Kool Aid guy (nope, not pretty).  So Sunday was just another one.  In too many ways, it seems.

Spoiler alert:  Their products are actually pretty darn good.  That ain’t the problem.

The Microsoft presentation was two-fold.  Actually it was classic Microsoft.  First we’ll get a mid-level exec to get up and talk about what a big year it was (or will be), and how Microsoft’s commitment is to increase/decrease the good/bad thing about the desktop/server environment.  Then we’ll get a technical wonk to get up and demonstrate some aspects about the new stuff that used to get us going “ooh” and “aah.”  Then there’ll be a call to action, wrap up and life is good.  A fine presentation, demonstrating fine features.

Here’s the challenge.  There are two areas that Microsoft desperately wants to compete in.  Cloud services and tablets.  Software/services and hardware/platform.  And although Microsoft has made great strides in the first, there’s still a long way to go.  And let’s not talk about Windows tablets to date, shall we?  They would make the Zune look like…well, an iPad.

So, what’s Microsoft’s answer to these challenges?  A combination of technologies:

  • Windows 8, especially the versions for a full and limited featured table platform
  • Office 2013 (for, um…Office stuff)
  • SkyDrive (cloud storage)

Back to the presentation.  When the wonk demoed the products, he demonstrated primarily the core functionality of the products.  “Look at this new feature in PowerPoint.”  “See how the Outlook keeps the number of open windows to a minimum.”

Seriously?  Yes.  There are some nice new features in Office 2013.  There are nice new features in Windows 8.

But a lot of people, a large, large lot of people don’t care.  These are the people for whom XP and Office 2003 are “good enough.”  The people who got an iPad because “they’re really easy to use.”

People who just want to get their work done.

We’ve all heard end users say “I just use Word for letters and memos.”  So the spinning widget thingie feature that every new version of this stuff includes is really not all that critical.  But:

  • “I want to use Word (for the following examples, Word can be replaced by Excel, PowerPoint, etc) on my tablet.”
  • “I want to use Word on my laptop/desktop.”
  • “I want to access my Word documents that I changed on my tablet from my laptop.”
  • “I want to access my Word documents that I changed on my tablet from a desktop at the library.”
  • “I only want to learn one version of Windows.”
  • “I only want to learn one version of Word.”

You know what the answer is for all these questions and needs?  It’s “Okey-dokey.”  Or as Microsoft would say “The capability exists within the differing layers of application cross-functionality within the diverse and yet tangentially cohesive…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

And we’re not even touching the savings of singular platform from a support standpoint.

This is the cool stuff.  This is the discussion that Microsoft should be having, should be screaming at the public.  “Our tablets can be powerful enough that you won’t need a laptop or desktop.  Or they’ll be more limited, but priced to compete with iPads (and still have a derivative of Word).  And with some licensing (say Office 365), one software license will suffice for several devices.”

And you’ll only have to learn it once.

This is big time stuff.  Standardizing an effective (critical point) tool across several platforms without sacrificing cost, training or productivity.  Incredibly cool.

This point was brought up at the end of the discussion almost as an afterthought.  And it seems that’s the placement of this particular message from Microsoft.

And I just don’t get it.  For years Microsoft has been looking around for the killer app to get back to the top of their game.  And it’s staring them right in the face.

Also, while we’re at it, why did you get everybody used to the concept of “Windows Metro” and decide 2 months before release that it should be called “Windows UI?”  I assume someone high up at Redmond said “Whoa, Metro sounds too much like a branding normal people would understand…let’s throw in a geeky acronym…hey, it worked for Windows NT, right?”

Oy.

Brandon here! So I recently did some digging to get Lync working on the phones of my fellow Simplex colleagues and I thought you all might be able to get something out of this!

So here’s the situation. You have your shiny new Android/iPhone/Windows smartphone and your workplace is using Office365 (or if your company has a dedicated Lync server). You want to be connected to your colleagues at all times but it can tend to be difficult. You can always check your email, but maybe you need something faster. If you are at your computer you can start up Microsoft Lync and get connected, but what about when you are out and about?

For those who aren’t familiar with Lync, it’s a business tool to keep you in contact with your coworkers by syncing your Outlook contacts. It is fully featured to allow instant messaging, screen-sharing, video conferencing, file sharing, and more!

Well, your workplace communication on-the-go problems have been resolved. Upon the release of Lync, Microsoft also released an app for Android, iPhone (and iPad), and Windows Phone.

I’m going to show you how to properly configure Lync to work on your mobile device. For starters, you’re going to need to download the app onto your phone from the proper app store. You can search for the app on your phone, or go to the proper link provided below in your web browser.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.office.lync&hl=en

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-lync-2010-for-iphone/id484293461?mt=8

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/apps/9ce93e51-5b35-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

Once you have installed the app, let’s open it up and take a look!

Once you are in the app, you will be at the login screen. In order for Lync to work properly, you have to mess with some of the settings. Depending on your phone, you may have to select the drop-down menu to view more options and details, or open your menu button, then select options from there. After you are viewing the options, the rest is easy. You must make the settings as such:

Internal discovery address: https://webdir.online.lync.com/Autodiscover/autodiscoverservice.svc/Root

External discovery address: https://webdir.online.lync.com/Autodiscover/autodiscoverservice.svc/Root

After you have changed your settings to be this, you can go back into the main screen and login using your email address and password! Easy, right? From the app you can message, call, and look at information for all of your Lync contacts!

Make note that this is not as fully-featured as the computer version as it has been trimmed down to bare essentials for mobile use.

If you have any problems with the Lync 2010 mobile client there is a Microsoft Support article for the Android and iPhone/iPad operating systems.

Android: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2636313

iPhone/iPad: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2636320

In the business world, productivity is largely associated with just a few software applications – word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and email – typically referred to as a group by the term “office suite.” And to date the dominant player in that category has been Microsoft Office, with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook having established themselves as the de facto standards. But with the recent advent of cloud services there is new competition to Microsoft’s “King of the Hill” title in office applications.

A recent review by Tony Bradley in the October issue of PC World presents a nice comparison of three of the major competitors in this nascent arena. Google Apps vs. Office 365 vs. Zoho Docs: Cloud-Based Office Suites Showdown(click the title to view) objectively compares the various office tools themselves, their consistency of formatting, how they work on mobile devices and in different Web browsers, and how much they cost.

Of course, as a Microsoft partner and strong proponent of Office 365, we were pleased with the overall conclusions and resulting ratings:

Office 365            – 4.5 stars

Google Apps      – 4 stars

Zoho Docs           – 3.5 stars

Does that mean you should automatically choose Office 365 as your company’s cloud-based office solution? Not necessarily. In fact, one of the benefits you may derive from reading this review is the wealth of additional articles that are referenced, providing even more insight into the pros and cons of each of these individual packages.

Should you ultimately be interested in pursuing Office 365, or have additional questions, Simplex-IT is of course happy to be of assistance. Please feel free to contact us by emailing John@Simplex-IT.com or calling 234.380.1277. Operators are standing by!