The first place to go when you want to edit Microsoft Office documents on any platform is… Microsoft. While we’re waiting on a slicker UI to be deployed to whatever tablet device we’re using at the moment, SkyDrive is a pretty good alternative until then. It has a reflexive design that is in the style of Windows 8 and more importantly, works when accessed from any Web browser on any device. Just visit skydrive.live.com to get started with your Windows account. You can created, edit, or share Office file types including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote. It’s all for free, and you can even use apps to keep your documents in sync on local storage (up to 7 GB) and edit them with other Office compatible apps you have. SkyDrive was formerly marketed as Office Web Apps.
This is a great and free option to use Microsoft Office on your iOS or Android device, be it a tablet or smartphone. This app allows you to to create or edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and connect to your cloud storage services including SkyDrive, Box, Google Drive, and Dropbox. As insinuated by the name, you do have to be connected to the Internet for the app to work. It relies on a virtual workspace to access full versions of Microsoft Office apps, and Adobe Reader and Filer Viewer. In the App Store, CloudOn gets a rating of three out of five stars, with negative comments being about slow performance and failure to successfully auto-save. CloudOn Inc. says it will be introducing a freemium business model for the app eventually.
Similar to the virtual app approach that CloudOn takes, OnLive Desktop goes a step further by creating a full virtual Windows machine for you to access with your iPad or Android tablet.The free version gives you access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Reader plus includes 2 GB of storage. For $5 per month, you get access to more virtual PC features like a Flash-compatible browser. OnLive plans to bring support to smartphones soon. A 1 Mbps minimum speed Internet connection is recommended. On Google Play, the app gets 3.5 out of 5 stars, with negative reviews highlighting some compatibility issues.
While this browser-based productivity suite isn’t as full featured as what’s on offer in SkyDrive, Google’s version still lets you get the job done in most situations. Plus the suite has seen more features added over the years and it is fairly light weight to run on any tablet. Formerly known as Google Docs, these tools come with 5 GB of free cloud storage and apps you can use to sync files to your iOS and Android devices. You can create or edit documents in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint formats and also create forms or drawings.
Microsoft Corp.’s code-name for its future release plan for Office products is “Gemini” according to ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley.
While Foley doesn’t reveal her sources for the information, she has a pretty good track record when it comes to nailing down Microsoft’s plans. What Gemini means is that Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are getting make-overs for a release this fall, perhaps to better align with the new touch-interface of Windows 8. The newly released Office 2013 apps run in desktop mode on Windows 8 and Windows RT, and Microsoft likely wants a good lure to its tablet devices.
Also, starting in 2014 Microsoft will be looking to push its Office 365 subscription model that sees Office applications delivered as a service over the Web, no matter what device you are using. That’s good news for Apple iPad and Android tablet fans that want to be productive with the tablet hardware of their choice. But what if you just can’t wait until next year to start editing spreadsheets or creating slideshow presentations on your tablet?
There’s existing ways you can created, open, and edit Microsoft Office documents regardless of what platform you happen to be using, flip through these slides to see your options and follow download links: