It's Official: Microsoft Office Meets Apple iPad In Long Overdue Union

Microsoft today talked a lot about embracing the "mobile-first, cloud-first" world that's taking shape, and as was previously rumored this week, the Redmond outfit finally unveiled a version of its Office productivity suite for Apple's iPad. The "Office for iPad" release includes free and reimagined versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

With the free versions, users can read their Word documents, view their Excel data, and give presentations using PowerPoint. To actually edit and create new documents, users need to pony up for an Office 365 subscription.

PowerPoint for iPad

"Your Office 365 subscription not only gets you the Office for iPad apps installed on up to 5 tablets, but also 5 copies across Office for your PCs and Macs. With one subscription all of your devices are covered, so you can work the way you want," Microsoft stated in a blog post.

The nice thing about having official access to Office apps on a variety of platforms is that the formatting will look the same regardless of which device you use. If you're typing in Word, the tables, footnotes, images, and everything else will look the same on the iPad as they do when you access the same document on your PC or Android device.

As for making edits and using the apps, Microsoft said it designed the iPad versions from the ground up. They feature large touch areas on the Ribbon and in overlay menus to make it easier to create, edit, and format documents by using touch. They also support iPad features like voice dictation and AirPlay.

If you're interested, you can download any or all of the Office apps now from Apple's App Store. In addition, Microsoft said it's made Office Mobile free for iPhone and Android phones, just like it is for Windows Phone.