5 tips to get more done with the Office app for mobile devices

Microsoft has recently released the Office app for mobile devices.  The Office app is designed to make it easier to work using your mobile device.  It also allows you to access and save documents to the cloud (via a Microsoft account or a third-party cloud storage provider).

The Office app is free, but you’ll need an Office 365 subscription to be able to access premium features.  If you’re not using a qualifying Office 365 subscription, you’ll be prompted with a message to Get Office 365 when you try to use any of the premium features.  You can find out if you have a qualifying Office 365 subscription here.

Now to my take on the key features of the Office app and how to use them.  These features will help you get more done, or at least streamline the way you do things when working on your mobile device.

1. The Office app provides a central location for all apps

The Office app combines Word, Excel and PowerPoint (plus other apps) within the one app.  This makes it easier to access the app you need, as you need it – so no more wasting time switching between Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

To access the app you need:

  • Tap the Home button (bottom left of screen);
  • Then tap the Home dropdown arrow (top left of screen);
  • Select the required app – they appear as follows:
    • Word;
    • Excel;
    • PowerPoint;
    • PDF;
    • Media;
    • Notes.

Once you’ve selected the required app, a list of your recent documents (if applicable) is displayed, giving you instant access to the documents you’re likely to be looking for.

2. One location to create a new Word, Excel or PowerPoint document

Creating a new document is also centralised via the button (bottom centre of screen).

This makes it quicker to create a new document (be it a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document) as you do so directly from within the Office app.  Again, no need to switch between Word, Excel or PowerPoint to create your document.

To create a new Word, Excel or PowerPoint document:

  • Tap the button;
  • Select Documents.

For each of the apps, you can create a new document starting from a blank document, or from a template.  Note that if you choose the template option, you’ll be presented with Microsoft’s built-in templates (not your customised business templates).

The apps also offer additional features specific to the individual apps as follows:

  • Word – Scan text;
  • Excel – Scan table;
  • PowerPoint – Choose pictures.

In addition to providing a quick method for creating a new Word, Excel or PowerPoint document, the button also enables you to easily create a new note or collate photos via the Lens feature.

3. PDF integration within the Office app

The Office app provides quick access to several Adobe PDF features via the Actions button (bottom right of screen).  As you’ll see, the included PDF features are ones that you’ll use often.

Sign a PDF

It can be so frustrating to complete a PDF form electronically, only to find that you must print it to be able to sign it.  Not to mention then having to scan the document back in (which may not always be immediately possible or convenient) to return via email.

So this is a feature of the Office app I know you’re going to find very helpful – whether it’s for business or personal use.

To add your signature to a PDF document:

  • Tap the Actions button;
  • Select Sign a PDF;
  • Choose the required document either from the list of recent documents that appears, or by tapping the Browse button (top right of screen);
  • The PDF document will be opened, with an instruction to Tap where you wish to sign;
  • Once you’ve tapped the appropriate place, the Signature screen appears:
    • Sign your name (using your fingertip or a stylus) ; or
    • If you already have a graphic file containing your signature, insert this using the Picture button (bottom right of screen);
    • If you need to sign the document in multiple places (or would like to store your signature for use at a later date), enable Store signature (bottom of screen);
    • Tap the  button (top right of screen) – your signature will now be inserted within the PDF;
  • Tap the Sign in additional places button if required, and follow the process above. If you enabled Store signature, you can simply insert the image of your previous signature;
  • When you’ve finished adding your signature to the document, tap the button (top left of screen), followed by the button – your document now contains your signature(s).

Scan to PDF

Scan to PDF essentially offers the same functionality as the Lens feature.  The only difference is that the output format will be PDF (you have the option of saving in Image, PDF or Word format using the Lens feature).

Pictures to PDF / Document to PDF

Converting your pictures (or photos) and documents to PDF is super quick with the Office app.  The process is slightly different for pictures versus documents, as follows:

For pictures:

  • Select Pictures to PDF (via the Actions button);
  • Tap on the required photo(s) – the > button (bottom right of screen) displays the number of photos selected;
  • Once you’ve made your selection(s), tap the > button;
  • Review your selections by swiping left; crop or rotate photos; and/or add text if required;
  • If you’d like to add more photos tap the Add New button; otherwise select Done;
  • Your photo(s) will be added to a new PDF document;
  • Tap the button (top left of screen) to save your document;
  • Navigate to the folder you’d like your document saved in;
  • Add a filename;
  • Tap Save.

For a document:

  • Select Document to PDF (via the Actions button);
  • Tap on the required document to convert it to PDF – note that you can only select one document via this process;
  • To save your document:
    • Tap the button (top left of screen);
    • Navigate to the folder you’d like your document saved in;
    • Add a filename;
    • Tap Save;
  • Or to share your PDF document (without first saving it):
    • Tap the Share button (bottom right of screen);
    • Select the required share method from the options provided.

4. Easily collate photos using Office app’s Lens feature

The Lens feature is perfect, for example, for when you attend a conference or seminar and you’d like to have a record of the information included within presentation slides.

With the Lens feature, you can take photos of individual slides and easily collate them within a PDF or Word document.  You also have the option to group a selection of photos within the Media gallery (when you select the Image file output).

So no more frantic note-taking!

Here’s how to use the Lens feature:

  • Tap the button;
  • Select Lens;
  • Take a photo.

You’ll be presented with three options – select as required:

  • Add New to add additional photos;
  • File Type to select your output format – again, the options include Image, PDF or Word; or
  • Done to complete the process.

Note: the Lens feature also allows you to select photos already in your gallery to add to your document.

5. Keep track of your ideas, thoughts or things to do

If you’re like me, you’re probably forever finding yourself with small bits of paper containing your scribbled ideas, thoughts, or things to do.  And if you’re like me, this no doubt gets on your nerves!

But with the Office app, you can easily record your thoughts in the one location via the Notes feature.  To create a note:

  • Tap the button;
  • Select Notes;
  • Type your note within the space provided.

Be sure to add bold, italicised or underlined text to identify key points.  Use bullets to create lists.  And add any photos or images which might be relevant.  To make your note-taking even quicker, use the Voice feature on your phone.

Once complete, tap the button and your note will be saved.

So now you have the secrets (and know-how) for getting more done using your mobile device, be sure to download the Office app today (Android or iOS).  It’ll make working on your mobile device so much easier!