Microsoft launches Office for Android, tablet users need not apply

Alan Buckingham
Jul 31, 2013
Google, Microsoft, Microsoft Office

Microsoft has already released the long awaited Office for iPhone, but Android remained only a dream and a rumor. Now the software company makes good on that with the roll out of a version for the Google mobile operating system. The app went live today in the Google Play store, but there are a few catches.

The app itself is free, but users must be Office 365 customers -- a service that charges per month or annually, depending on the plan one chooses.

Installing is easy -- customers can do so from the web, which displays a drop-down list of devices, or straight from the device itself. If you choose the former then you will be greeted with a list of all of your Android products. My Google TV box was obviously greyed out, but so were both my tablets -- the app is only for phones. In fact, only for phones running Ice Cream Sandwich and newer, meaning the old Droid X (yes, I still have it). This left only the Galaxy Nexus, as the Asus MeMO and brand new Nexus 7 were not compatible.


Once the app is fired up you will need to agree to the usual terms of service -- nothing unusual in it, as I read through just to make sure. Then comes the catch -- you need an Office 365 subscription. If you purchased one for your home computers then you are set, otherwise you have a problem here. I will assume you have it and continue on. Log in with your email and password and get started.

Now with the app open, you will find a list of the docs you have saved, but only those saved to SkyDrive -- do not expect to find your locally stored docs.

The top of the screen contains three options, consisting of the aforementioned files, creating new documents and searching other locations.

The app will only allow for the access of Word and Excel files and templates, and Settings gives access to rather basic information, most of which will be familiar to Office customers.


Bear in mind that this is version 1.0, so there may be a speedbump or two along the way, but for the most part the app seems fully fledged. OneNote was already available for Android, so the addition of Word and Excel is welcome, and other parts of the Office suite are probably unneeded -- I doubt anyone wishes to edit or create a PowerPoint display on a phone.


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  1. mathieu said on August 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    It’s already possible to get full Windows programs on Android tablets (including Microsoft Office) using this app:

  2. anon said on August 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    In other words, a non-event from MS. At least it’s an improvement over the ensuing self destruction they’re doing over at console division.

  3. Jim said on August 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    So the reality of this is its a non-event since it applies to a niche market. I mean seriously, how many people want to use Office on their phones? I would have thought tablets would have been a better audience than phones. The eyestrain and frustration of trying to use Office on a phone would probably drive me nuts. A tablet at least has more screen real estate and is therefore easier to use. Unfortunately, this sort of upside-down thinking has been typical of MS of late. And the Office365 requirement is a lame attempt at forcing those Office 97-2003 users back on MS’s revenue bandwagon. It wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of the “customers” for this version of Office are bloggers and review sites. I certainly don’t know any ordinary people that have been clamoring for this.

  4. said on August 1, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Why not support tab ?

  5. Andrew said on July 31, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    As much as I wanted to be able to read or edit MS office docs, I never really needed to. I even installed Kingsoft on the tablet and it seems to do just fine, but really I prefer to read and edit on a desktop/laptop… though same with Google Docs.

    On another note, Alan, ever thought of rooting your droid x and installing a ICS rom? I was able to do that with my HTC explorer and runs like a champ.

    1. Alan Buckingham said on August 1, 2013 at 6:37 am

      I don’t actually use it anymore, but it is still sitting around here. I use the Galaxy Nexus and Lumia 928.

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