Microsoft Office Mobile for Android now available without Office 365 subscription

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 27, 2014
Updated • May 22, 2018
Google Android, Microsoft Office

Big news today is the launch of Microsoft Office for Apple's iPad. What most tech sites seem to have missed is that there are also changes for Microsoft Office Mobile for Android.

The software was previously only available to Office 365 subscribers, but this is not the case anymore. What this means is that you can head over to the Google Play store right away and download Office Mobile for your Android device even if you are no subscriber of Office 365.

Update: Office Mobile is no longer available. Microsoft released individual applications for Android instead which you may download for free here: Microsoft Word for Android, Microsoft PowerPoint for Android, Microsoft Excel for Android. All apps come with options to view, create and edit Office documents for free. End

As far as other requirements are concerned: you still need a Microsoft Account to use Office Mobile. You can either sign in using an existing account or create a new one in case you do not have one yet.

Note that you may need to verify the account on first sign-in, which means that Microsoft will send a code to your email address or mobile phone which you need to enter in the application before it becomes fully available to you.

Another requirement is that it is only compatible with Android 4.0 or newer systems.

Last but not least, the app is only free for personal use. If you are using Office Mobile in a business context, you need a Office 365 subscription.

Microsoft Office Mobile features

microsoft office mobile

Since you are signing in with a Microsoft Account, you get access to OneDrive at the same time. This means that you can open documents that you have stored on OneDrive using Office Mobile.

As far as features are concerned, you can open Microsoft Office document using the application.

It supports Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, and while reading is fine, it is also possible to edit documents directly on the mobile device.

The editing functionality is quite basic though, and you should not expect all functionality of Microsoft desktop software or its online pendant Office 365 when you are using the app. In fact,  there is not much you can do in terms of editing besides adding, modifying or removing text, and using several basic text formatting options such as making text bold or changing font colors.

It is less than what a rich text editor would offer on the desktop, but more than a plain text editor supports.

The Excel module offers additional features including options to sort of format cells, add comments, or to display the sum of values in select rows of the table.

PowerPoint presentations can be added as well, but here you have basic editing options only as well. They are very similar to what the Word editor has to offer in terms of functionality.

office mobile document view

New documents

You can create new documents using the mobile app. As far as this is concerned, only Excel or Word documents can be created, and they can either be blank documents or based on a handful of templates the app ships with.

It is possible to add more templates from your PC to OneDrive so that you can use them to create new documents. This is probably the better option, considering that you can also add PowerPoint templates this way that you can edit then in a basic manner.

The editing functionality for new and existing documents is identical though.

Office Mobile verdict

Considering that the apps' editing functionality is rather basic in comparison to desktop Office programs and Office 365, Office Mobile's main use is that you can read documents while you are on the go.

It also allows you to make basic changes to documents, for instance spelling corrections, rephrasing sentences, or adding information.

It is not suitable for heavy editing, as it lacks basic options such as adding headings to Word documents or background images to PowerPoint presentation sheets.

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  1. Marco said on March 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    I confirm that from my persona experience and from some info I gathered, it works only on smartphones and it’s not compatible with Android tablets, which is not good.

    1. Trebuchette said on March 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Head honcho says it’ll be compatible with [android tablets, etc]: (but that was just a few hrs ago)

      No timetable though. Just, “We haven’t picked a date that we can stand behind yet, but they’re coming. We are committed to doing it.”

      1. Trebuchette said on March 30, 2014 at 5:46 am

        @Marco actually I’m impressed M$ is doing anything w/ Android. (Not surprised about Apple though; they make some sweet Apple apps). I used to pay for Mobile OneNote, so free OneNote was huge boon. Now free Office?! Possibly on tablet?! :) #NotComplaining (but the sooner the better!!)

      2. Marco said on March 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm

        @Trebuchette : Thank you for this info. At the moment they are leaving behind a very wide group of Android tablets users.

  2. theMike said on March 27, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    says it’s not compatible with a tablet

  3. Dave said on March 27, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I agree it’s sensible.
    Has anyone got the apk? The apk downloader (featured on ghacks a few days ago) seems to provide an older version and I have to wait up to 24h before forcing an update

    1. Elben said on March 28, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      They have updated it.

  4. Andrew said on March 27, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    This is a smart move on microsoft’s part… I am glad they are expanding their roles into other systems.

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