Office Mobile for Office 365 allows you to open, view and edit Microsoft Office documents on your phone.
Open and view Office documents on your phone
Microsoft Office Mobile is designed to let you access your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on the go, using your Android phone. Unlike the Windows Phone version of Microsoft Office, the Android app doesn't support OneNote documents (for this, download the Microsoft OneNote Mobile app).
Office Mobile lets you access all of your Office documents that are stored in the Cloud and any changes you make will be saved and synchronized. Office Mobile supports sharing via OneDrive and SharePoint.
Opening and viewing your documents in Office Mobile is a real delight. The Open tab neatly lists all your various storage spaces with Microsoft (OneDrive or SharePoint) and you can add individual folders to this menu to give you quick access to your frequently-used content. The Recent tab offers a handy way to load up documents you've just been working on, and these are neatly organized by date.
Viewing documents in Office Mobile is surprisingly clear and easy. Documents are optimized for small screen viewing and resize accordingly. Of course, reading Office docs, particularly Excel sheets, isn't great on a small screen (and there’s no support for tablets at the moment), but Office Mobile for Office 365 makes it as comfortable as possible. The pinch to zoom is smooth and effective for getting closer into big documents.
Once inside a Word document, you are assisted by the Outline view option, where you can quickly skip to a particular bullet point, chapter, or part of a document by scrolling through a list of markers. There's also a search option for if you quickly want to pinpoint a particular word or phrase.
Viewing options in Excel include the Outline view and Find, but are extended to include the ability to sort or filter data. The PowerPoint viewer doesn't include text search or filtering, but you can open a thumbnail panel where you can see a small preview of each slide and jump to the one you want.
Create and edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint files
While viewing and reading documents is a breeze with Office Mobile, when it comes to making edits to your documents, the application falls short.
The app allows you to create and make edits to Word, Excel and Powerpoint docs and the formatting will be kept intact. There are safeguards built into the app that ensure you can't make changes to a document if it's already open in Office 365 on the web or the desktop, locking it for editing on one platform.
The scope of the editing you can do with Office Mobile is very limited. In the case of Word documents, there are only very basic formatting options. You can apply bold, italic, underline and strikethrough text, choose from just three text colors, applying highlights, and change the text size. In the case of changing size, there are only plus and minus buttons for changing, and you can't see the point size.
Other than these basic formatting options, there's very little you can change in a Word document using Office Mobile. There are no page layout options to speak of, and neither can you insert items into your documents. However, it is possible to add annotations to your document, which is good for collaboration.
In terms of Excel, again you have some basic formatting options, plus Undo/Redo functions, AutoSum and the ability to create basic charts from your data sheets.
To assist document creation, there are some Word and Excel templates included in Office Mobile, though again these are basic and limited to just three templates for each program.
A reduced user experience
The limitations of editing documents on a small screen device are obvious and perhaps Microsoft wasn't keen to pump Office Mobile full of editing features because it knows that most people won't be using their Android device as their main Office tool for creating and editing documents.
Editing documents in Office Mobile for Office 365 on an Android device is more of a smooth experience than it is on the iOS version of the app, where copy and paste can be fiddly and the contextual menus have a tendency to have a mind of their own. The user interface of the Android app feels more polished and intuitive.
As a document viewer, Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers works very well and rivals Google Drive in this respect. However, the formatting and editing experience needs to be worked on in order to improve the usefulness of the app.