You Can Now Draw On Microsoft Office For iPhone

When the iPad Pro was released last year, a special part of the presentation was the promotion of Microsoft Office on the tablet. Apple wanted everyone to know that this tablet meant business and you could get actual work done on it. Not restricting themselves to the tablets, Apple has now updated Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint with a drawing tab feature.

Unveiling Microsoft Office 2016 at the launch of the iPad Pro in 2015
Unveiling Microsoft Office 2016 at the launch of the iPad Pro in 2015

You can now use the drawing tab option to draw, highlight and write on the Office Applications. The option presents you with a simplified layout of the whole page. The drawing tools include a pen with adjustable thickness and colour as well as a highlighter and an eraser. You can even press down on your iPhone screen to make the lines bolder (using the iPhone’s haptic feedback feature). You can use the Apple Pencil or your finger to doodle and add a personal touch to it like a signature, a memo or even a smiley face in case you’re grading papers on your iPhone. The feature could be really useful for making last minute corrections and taking quick notes. As far as negatives are concerned there aren’t that many. Having to exit the drawing feature to scroll down is a drawback though. And the drawing tab feature is a bit buried so there’s that.

The apps are free to download on the App store but you must be subscribed to Office 365 to create and edit documents.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em

There is a curious trend emerging of Microsoft and Google tailoring their products and apps specifically for the iOS market. Google and Microsoft have both come out with keyboards for iOS with special features that aren’t available for Android. The Word Flow Keyboard from Microsoft and the Gboard from Google were both specifically designed for iOS to sink their teeth in to the sizable market of iPhone/iPad customers. And Gboard not only collects information from the huge Apple user base but also links directly to the eponymous search engine within the app.

Now Microsoft is capitalizing further on the demand for more Office software for iPads and iPhones. A recent survey established that half of all iPad sales were to government and businesses and that the top tier iPads were mostly purchased by business execs. This revelation gives more weight to the move by Apple to include Office in its products.

This symbiotic relationship between companies does benefit all but with iPhone and iPad sales on the decline, Apple may have to look for richer fruit.