Microsoft Word for iPad Gets Touch Word Processing (Mostly) Right

| In-Depth Review


Part 2

1. Full vs. Limited Version

The first thing to know is that Word is a free download from the Apple App Store. This version can open and view existing documents but not edit documents.

Features with and without a subscription.

With an Office 365 Home Premium subscription (US$99/yr or $9.99/mo), new documents can be created and all documents can be edited. I view that as a very sensible compromise in a world where customers have come to expect low cost apps in the App Store, but serious users are also willing to pay serious money.

If the subscription, according to Microsoft "you will still be able to view Office documents with Office for iPad. You will no longer be able to create and edit documents until you renew your subscription. You can reactivate Office for iPad by renewing your subscription, tapping Activate in the app, and signing in with a valid Microsoft account. Your data is only removed from the iPad when you uninstall Office, so you can still see your documents on the iPad after your subscription expires. Your Office content will remain accessible via OneDrive."

Also, if the subscriptuin lapses, Microosft notes: "You can still access your documents via OneDrive and access them from any PC or Mac. Documents that were saved on the iPad can be copied to a Mac or PC using iTunes." And editing can continue there.

If you have an Office 365 subscription, just log in at first launch and access all the features. If not, the app defaults to view only mode. [UPDATE: On April 15, Microsoft announced the renaming of Office 365 Home Premium to Office 365 Home, added Office 365 Personal and added new pricing.]

2. File Compatibility and Formatting

I imported several rather complex Word documents from my Mac to the iPad Air, and they all looked terrific. The customary blemishes and irregularities that one might expect from a less than stellar import were just not there. By the way, one way to do that is the customary IOS email method: 1) Email the document to the iPad, 2) tap and hold the icon in the email and 3) Select Word as the target. Another is the standard iTunes file transfer method which works as expected.

Importing a .docx document to the iPad

I was impressed by the implementation because in the process of importing some rather complex documents, Word never crashed, and it rendered perfectly. That's pretty good for a version 1.0 — but truth be told, Microsoft had plenty of debug time to get this right.

A complex PR document with lots of different fonts, styles, URLs, bullet lists and image
placements came across perfectly.

Next: Part 3

Product: Microsoft Word for iPad

Company: Microsoft

List Price: See explanation in review



Beautiful implementation on the iPad. File compatibility with PC and Mac counterparts resulting in identical looking documents. Very good file manager. iTunes file transfer. Great handling of imported images. Document change tracking. Supports emailing of documents and MS OneDrive. Offline, cached editing and later resync. Buit-in Help page and Touch Guide.


No direct print capability. Cannot import movie files. No support for Dropbox. No separate PDF manual. Macros not supported.


John Dingler, artist

Hello John M.,
Falling all over yourself to praise an apparently good MS product is like a wrongly convicted person, say, Private Chelsea Manning, praising O’Bummer – with Cheney’s blessing – for freeing him.

Instead, we must continue punishing MS for a few more years for years of developing inferior Mac products and theft of Apple’s fundamental IP.

This means that MS deserves no congratulations for doing what is right; It’s expected. And, this one app is a mere one instance of good coding for Apple users, nothing more.

Bryan Kennedy

I’m sure Word is an outstanding iPad app. I’m just not paying for it by the month. EVER.


A balanced review. My early impressions are in line with JM’s. There is good functionality matched with a good looking UI. I would rather have a one-off cost than a subscription, I must say. I’m also very heartened by the release of One Note for Mac, and also the fluid operation of OneDrive between devices.  Kudos to the MS Mac team. Keep up the good work with next release of Office for Mac. Oh, and let’s have some more MS apps for Mac OS and iOS while you’re at it.

Allister Jenks

Why on earth would you want a movie file in a Word document? If you’re delivering a printed document, a movie is pointless. If you’re delivering electronic information, you shouldn’t be using Word. Are we to continue abusing the most abused piece of software in history, now on a whole new platform? Give me strength!


Hello John,
Thank you for the review.
For this price, I would have taken an alternative app. Fortunately, my company provides me with an ipad with Office and Beesy already installed. We essentially use Word for creating reports and Beesy for collaborative work ( ). I use to include the reports into my meeting notes (from which the meeting minutes are generated) and include some comments before sharing to all the employees so it is important for me to have a robust word processor and I found Word for ipad pretty reliable. I recommend it! (for those who can afford it).

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