Microsoft Office Mobile 7 includes touchscreen, mobile formatted versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. See also: Office 2013 review.
Microsoft's release of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 brings updated mobile-formatted Word, Excel, and PowerPoint programs, and OneNote Mobile, to your fingertips. The touchscreen-friendly revamp of Microsoft Office Mobile 7 is radically different from version 6.5. And files are supposed to resemble their appearance on the desktop more closely.
Shrinking Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote to fit in the palm of your hand is no easy feat. Microsoft Office Mobile 7 does a decent, though not spectacular, job of placing basic editing features on the hand. You swipe and slide through the screens (which feature large, legible fonts), tapping on the touchscreen keyboard to type.
Office Mobile comes preinstalled on Windows Phone 7 phones. If you have a Windows Phone 6.5 device, you can get a version of Office Mobile 7 from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Microsoft Office Mobile 7: Look, Feel, and Features
Documents appear in their fullly formatted glory, shrunken down. That means you see charts, graphics, bullet points, numbered lists, slideshow transitions, and animation. Word text flows for optimal viewing as you turn the phone sideways.
From the Office Hub, you can hold down the name of a file and get options to send or delete it, or to view the properites. We're not sure, though, why OneNote notebooks can appear as a Tile while Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files show up in a text list.
New XML support means that you can open DOCX and other such "X" files, introduced in Office 2007, on the handset seamlessly. PowerPoint Mobile lets you read, not edit, PPT, PPS, PPSX, and PPSM files. Longtime users dealing with various document types will enjoy not needing to deal with an add-on.
A major annoyance is the lack of cut-and-paste functionality, although Microsoft says that's coming in 2011. Most people are likely to use a phone to make quick tweaks to documents, so you'd naturally want to be able to copy, say, a remark from your boss's email straight into a meeting agenda in Word. For now, at least, when you type words or names that you use frequently on the phone, predictive text makes suggestions you can autofill.
Another irritant (at least from a reviewer's perspective) is that you can't save a screenshot image of what appears on the phone's display.
Within the small Office Mobile interfaces, Microsoft's navigation highlights include an outline pane and hyplerlinked tables of contents within documents. The outline pane selects key points drawing from the headings of documents and slides. That's helpful if you're wrangling with a long file.
If that doesn't help you find the key point on page 52 of your white paper, from the app bar in Word and Excel, you can tap Find, the magnifying- glass icon, to look up keywords.
Comments on Office documents will automatically get the identity of the person registered as the phone's owner. You should be careful if, in some rare case, you use a friend's or coworker's phone to make changes to a document that you then send around.
Microsoft Office Mobile 7: Syncing and Sending
You can sync files whether you're an individual with a free Windows Live SkyDrive account - which offers up to 25GB of storage - or a member of a big company that leans on SharePoint for collaboration. Users of SharePoint, which we did not test, can manage stored files and import My Site links. SkyDrive users, however, get a dismally limited version of syncing for the phone: it syncs only OneNote notebooks.
To get started with SkyDrive on the phone, you first register the phone with a Windows Live ID. Other than that, you'll have to dig to find any mention of the free service. There's too much emphasis on SharePoint, which the majority of individuals and small businesses don't use.
When ready to sync OneNote via SkyDrive, you visit Office on the phone, go to OneNote, select All, then touch the Refresh icon. We would never have found that without the Microsoft product guide.
But because we couldn't sync Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files among my desktop, the web, and the phone using SkyDrive, we resorted to emailing them to ourselves.
Opening a 36-page Word document attched in Hotmail on the handset took several minutes, but only a few seconds for a 10-page file. Word Mobile rendered formatting, fonts, and images beautifully.
Microsoft Office Mobile 7: Word and Excel
After answering a phone call and sending text messages, though, it was torture figuring out how to return to the last document. We went back to Hotmail, and the document was no longer open. We went to the Office menu, yet the document did not appear. (We thought the iOS, despite its lack of multitasking, to be more intuitive than Windows Phone 7 for finding your previous place after an interruption.)
The lesson was to remember to save a document the moment you open it. When you do that, you can be sure it will appear in the Office Hub even if you get interrupted right away.
And wait, how did we get to the point of emailing files to ourselves again? We stopped doing that when Writely, the Google Docs predecessor, launched more than five years ago.
We didn't realize that with Windows Phone 7 you can also access Office files from a browser at office.live.com. That worked swimmingly with even a long Word doc. But your guess is as good as mine as to why we received an error trying to download a small XLS file that was perfectly fine when we downloaded it to my desktop from SkyDrive.
Microsoft Office Mobile 7: OneNote
Microsoft is emphasizing OneNote, its handy note-taking program for those who get to know it. It's great for lists of things like to-do items, meeting notes, and grocery lists, and you can even add phone voice recordings and photos. Windows Phone 7-style Tiles organize your searchable notes, which are easy to find when you open Office Mobile.
When we added a voice recording and a picture to a grocery list, though, it was tricky to prevent the touchscreen from popping up and getting in the way of a full view of the note.
Our OneNote notebook synced quickly from the phone to the web via SkyDrive, appearing in My Documents in a Personal (web) notebook. Our 10-second voice recording in OneNote could not display online. For that, we'd have to use the desktop OneNote.
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