Microsoft Office apps on iPad now support mice and trackpads

Posted:
in iPad edited October 2020
Microsoft has outlined updates to its Office suite on iPad that are being rolled out to users, with support for trackpads and mice joined by updates to the start screens and the ribbon of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

iPad with mouse
iPad with mouse


Revealed on Monday Microsoft is making several changes that Microsoft 365 customers experience in the Excel, PowerPoint, and Word apps for iPad. Rather than major feature changes, a blog post outlining the alterations shows the updates are more to make the apps easier to use in general, and take advantage of Apple's own operating system improvements.

Following the rollout of mouse support in iPadOS 13.4 and further enhancements included in iPadOS 14, Microsoft is updating the apps with full support for trackpads and mice, for "easy cursor control, fluid navigation, and precise adjustments." The change will allow users to more accurately select items and make changes to documents than if they were to use the usual touchscreen interface, and will bring the apps in line with the traditional desktop-based experience.

Microsoft Word's start screen on an iPad Air
Microsoft Word's start screen on an iPad Air


Another update to the apps relate to the start screens and a new ribbon for feature menus. Reflecting changes Microsoft's introducing as part of the Fluent UI it uses across the Microsoft 365 experience, the new start screens will make it easier for users to get to work on projects quicker.

Microsoft has already started to roll out the update to iPad users in phases, and anticipates completing the process within a few weeks. Other changes are expected in the coming months, including multiple document support in Excel, new contextual menus, and offline file support for cloud-stored documents.

Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are compatible with iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch running either iOS 13.0 or iPadOS 13.0, or later versions.

The apps are free to download and use to create or edit documents on devices with a screen size smaller than 10.1 inches, but a paid Microsoft 365 subscription is required to access all features.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    Not available for me yet on the US App Store.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    That is great!   Word processing and spreadsheets were some of the biggest users of cursors and mice and work much more easily and efficiently with them.

    And, best of all!   The MS Office products are available   F R E E   on iPad!  But, I understand that you need to subscribe to get the full version -- and the free version is not available on the largest iPad Pro
  • Reply 3 of 4
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,615member
    That is great!   Word processing and spreadsheets were some of the biggest users of cursors and mice and work much more easily and efficiently with them.

    And, best of all!   The MS Office products are available   F R E E   on iPad!  But, I understand that you need to subscribe to get the full version -- and the free version is not available on the largest iPad Pro
    Microsoft is very surgical in deciding which iPads are entitled to the fully functional Word and Excel product with document read and write capabilities. The current distinction specifies that any iPad with a screen size less than 10.1 inches is entitled to the fully functional free versions. This would seemingly exclude all current iPad models except the Mini, but older 9.7” iPads should be fine. I’m not sure how useful a read-only version of Word or Excel is to most folks. 

    That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you subscribe to Microsoft 365 you get fully functional versions of the iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and Microsoft Windows apps included in the deal. I personally think this is a pretty good deal, especially for families. 

    These changes for iPad mouse and keyboard support must be refinements because the current versions of Word and Excel already seemed to work quite well with mouse and keyboard.
    GeorgeBMacrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    2 days later, it is still not available.
    It would have been nice from the author or check this before publishing this story.
    watto_cobra
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