Microsoft’s Office Mobile App, The Good, the Unfortunate, and the Hungry

Today, I’m going to spend a little time talking about Microsoft’s new Office Mobile app for Android and IOS.  The app was announced at Microsoft Ignite and is a unified combination of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Sticky Notes.  If you haven’t seen Microsoft’s announcement, you can read all about it here.  MVP Mary Jo Foley has also done an article on it for ZDNet available here.

The Good

Being one who has always had an appreciation for stuff on the bleeding edge, I jumped all over this app as soon as I saw the announcement.  I must admit, it’s all that and a bag of chips. Here’s a list of things it does from Microsoft’s announcement article:

  • Simple, integrated experience
    • Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all in one app with all of the mobile features you already know and use.
    • Easily get to recent and recommended documents stored in the cloud or on your device, or search for documents across your organization if using a work account.
    • Easy access to Sticky Notes to jot down quick reminders and ideas.
  • Create content in uniquely mobile ways
    • Snap a picture of a document and turn it into an editable Word file with the press of a button.
    • Transform a picture of a table into an Excel spreadsheet so you can work with the data.
    • Let PowerPoint help you design a presentation by simply selecting the pictures you want to use from your phone.
    • Create automatically enhanced digital images of whiteboards and documents with Office Lens features integrated into the app.
  • A new Actions pane for common tasks you may encounter on a mobile device
    • Create PDFs with your camera, using photos on your device, or from Office documents.
    • Sign PDFs by simply using your finger.
    • Scan QR codes to open files and links.
    • Easily transfer files between your phone and computer or share instantly with nearby mobile devices.

Setup is straightforward, adding accounts is fairly easy.  It automatically found my two Office 365 accounts from OneDrive, which I added, It also allowed me to add one of my accounts; I wasn’t able to add more than one of them, apparently a limitation of OneDrive.  When an account is added, it examines the OneDrive directory tree and will show you all the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files you have there in addition to all the Sticky Notes associated with the account.  I really like it…Except:

The Unfortunate

This App, unlike Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint Mobile, does NOT allow the user to put the Data and Cache files generated on External Storage, the lovely MicroSD card I have plugged into the phone.  Outlook Mobile has the same issue; hence I only use it for my E3 business account.

The Hungry

Adding three accounts to the app caused internal storage to shrink about half a GB! On newer, high dollar phones, this is likely not an issue – most of them start at 128 GB and go up to 1 Tb on the top end.  For mid-range and older phones like my LG G5, that number is around 32 GB and space becomes an issue on these.  Yes, the app runs fine, but it’s need for vast tracts of internal storage can easily consume your storage to the point where your phone becomes unhappy.  This is a continual battle for me, every few days I must delete internal data and cache storage to keep the phone running properly.

My conclusion is that the app is well worth having, but you may have to deal with low storage issues if you have a mid-range or older phone.