If you want to use Microsoft (News - Alert) Office 365 on your iPad, you may find the interface to be less than feature-rich.
Sure, you can access your Exchange e-mails via MS Office Web Apps, and you can use SharePoint until your pages have Silverlight animation, but you can’t use Lync. The browser plug-in for Lync isn’t supported on the iPad, but even with a workaround that will give you instant messaging capability, you can’t utilize desktop sharing or calls with Lync.
Microsoft does offer a touch-friendly version of Office 365 Web Apps, but if you don’t want to access them through your mobile browser, you can try one of three iPad apps that will allow you to edit MS Word documents.
CloudOn accesses documents in your Dropbox, Box or Google (News - Alert) Docs account. Once your document is open, you have the option of selecting your view, accessing CloudOn help or opening Word, Excel or PowerPoint. When you’ve finished editing, CloudOn autosaves the document and takes you back to the original menu for file management.
CloudOn’s file browser is optimized for the iPad’s Retina screen, but its document window has a fuzzy appearance.
Another app, nivio, allows you to work with an actual Windows desktop. You can access Office, Outlook, Access, Publisher and some other programs from Google and Adobe. However, nivio doesn’t integrate easily with Dropbox (News - Alert) or Box. Instead, you’ll have to download the nApps app for iPad or use the Web interface’s Upload link.
Despite its added mouse-like cursor and other features, nivio also looks fuzzy on the Retina display and tends to have a delay.
A third app, OnLive Desktop, also provides a Windows desktop, although you’ll only be able to access Office programs, Internet Explorer (with limited browsing) and Adobe (News - Alert) Reader. The free app comes with 2GB of cloud storage through the OnLive website, but if you want to access Dropbox you’ll have to pay $5 for a premium account.
Ultimately, you can’t get the complete Office 365 experience on your iPad yet, but you can edit Office documents either by accessing Office Web Apps or by leveraging CloudOn, nivio or Onlive Desktop.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein