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Windows Phone 8 Office improvements - part-one

Anybody who’s used a computer over the past 20 years will almost certainly have created a Word document, a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel spreadsheet. These have been the tools that have enabled the easy spread of information across millions of workplaces around the world. In Windows Phone 8 – and on the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 – these tools will help you stay productive when you’re away from your desk.

The latest mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can be found in the new redesigned Office Hub, and it’s from here that you can begin to create new documents, or edit them when needed.

Office recent list

Office new document

If you’re creating a new document, select one of the built-in templates, or start from scratch using a blank template. When it comes to saving documents, don’t bother looking for the save icon; every document you create is automatically saved and uploaded to your free SkyDrive account, with 7GB of storage. (Or to a SharePoint or Office 365 account, if you have such things).

When (or if) the time comes that you want to view your documents on a PC or a tablet, the documents you create on your phone will look exactly the same as they do on your phone. And, the same can be said about creating documents on your PC. If you’ve saved them online, you’ll always have access to your important documents, even when you’re not at your PC.

When it comes to looking for documents, you’ll appreciate that sifting through the hundreds of documents you’ve got saved can be a bit of a nightmare; that’s why it’s now easier to find the right file.

The inclusion of a recent panel in the Office Hub provides you with list of documents you’ve recently viewed or worked on from your phone.

For those of you already using Office 2013 on your PC, your recent document list will stay in sync across Windows Phone 8, PC or tablet running Windows 8, tablet running Windows RT, and Office Web apps running within a browser. If you were to edit a document on your PC, close it, and then open the same document on your phone, the document will open to the same page as where you left off.

Word Mobile

Word is a versatile tool, used for all sorts of occasions. You can create a new document, add formatting, such as italics, bold, or font colour, and add coloured highlights or comments to specific sections, if needed.

Word document

Word editing document

The Outline view allows you to jump to any part of the document with ease; very useful if you’re looking at a lengthy document. Once you’ve pressed the Outline button, you’ll see a list of sections you can jump to. Tap a section once to see a preview, and press it again to navigate straight to it.

PowerPoint Mobile

This is usually the tool of choice when you need to present your findings, stats or figures to a person or a group of people in a meeting.

With PowerPoint Mobile you can view and edit (not create, currently) PowerPoint presentations on your phone. The editable sections are the speaker notes and the text on each of the slides.

PowerPoint Outline view

PowerPoint edit

Again, the Outline view allows you to move between pages, or slides, with ease. As does swiping the screen left or right, or by using the new thumbnail view.

In this Windows Phone 8 version, you can now view slide decks in either portrait or landscape mode.

Excel Mobile

When it comes to creating a spreadsheet of numbers, Excel is your go-to tool. You can create, view and edit Excel spreadsheets on your phone.

The mobile version has the same sorting functions, filter options and cell formatting as you’d expect to see on the PC version.

Excel spreadsheet

Excel filtering and sorting

If you like to transform your list of numbers into a pie chart, bar graph or an xy (scatter) graph, then you can. As well as freezing panes, hiding rows or columns, and wrapping text.

The Outline view is useful again if you’ve got multiple workbooks, charts or tables in the one Excel spreadsheet.

For those of you in need of a more serious business collaboration tool, you can set up Office 365 on your phone. We won’t go into that here as we’ve covered it before. However, once you’ve set that up, you’ll be directed to the Windows Phone Store to download the Lync 2010 Mobile app. Lync 2010 is a corporate communication tool, much like an instant messenger service, with conference call features.

Read on in part two of this article, to find out all about OneNote Mobile in Windows Phone 8