Despite the availability of the Apple (News - Alert) iWork suite, most iPad users would prefer to use Microsoft Office 365 for document editing and presentations.
To meet this need, Microsoft (News - Alert) has delivered touch-friendly Office Web Apps including Microsoft Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint designed for the iPad and for Internet Explorer on Windows 8. To use Office Web Apps, iPad owners will need to Microsoft Live account as well as opt into SkyDrive.
When Microsoft developers designed Office Web Apps for touch, they created a familiar interface that would be easy for users to navigate. They also designed the apps for immediate deployment on touchscreens, providing widely-spaced icons with intuitive touch controls.
When Office documents are saved on SkyDrive, users can access and edit their documents from a desktop, laptop or mobile device of their choice. The Web Apps are not currently Android (News - Alert) compatible, although Microsoft is most likely working on a solution.
In the meantime, users with operating systems other than iOS or Windows 8 can access Office Web Apps through the Google (News - Alert) Chrome browser.
For tablet owners who prefer a Bluetooth keyboard to the touchscreen, Office Web Apps offer the flexibility to transition easily between touch and mouse-powered experiences.
Reviewers have noted that a major difference between Office Web Apps and Google Docs is that Google Docs saves all of your edits automatically. Office Web Apps, on the other hand, require you to save your documents manually. Also, navigating large documents, such as a large Excel spreadsheet, can be a challenge on a touchscreen.
However, since the majority of businesses use Microsoft Office as their standard productivity suite, Office Web Apps for touchscreens gives workers the opportunity to edit work-related documents and presentations from any location over a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection. Also, Office Web Apps are free and come with 7GB of free SkyDrive storage.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein