Microsoft details Office on Windows Phone 8

Microsoft released Windows Phone 8 yesterday. It features a new version of Mobile Office, which the company highlighted shorty after the event.

The new smartphone operating system places a great deal of importance on being connected, and the new office suite is no different. Windows Phone 8 allows access to Office content whether it's on SkyDrive or Office 365. Featuring Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word, the Office Hub has a new design that touts fluidity and ease of use. It can also display attachments opened in Outlook Mobile and can use "Tap + Send" to share documents with NFC-capable and compatible devices.

As the mobile Office suite is only available on Windows Phone devices, Microsoft naturally boasts about the better rendering capabilities compared to other smartphones.

The new Excel app offers new handles for better range selection and rising of columns, and workbooks open at the last zoom level and saved sheet. Since smartphone displays are rather small for Excel files, there is a new reading panel that refreshes content when navigating and tapping through cells in the sheet.

The PowerPoint app adds a portrait mode with speaker notes, as well as side thumbnails for an easier navigation between slides. Word has also been improved, as it now includes a full-screen reading mode for a better viewing experience.

OneNote Mobile is a separate application, as is the associated tile that can take text, photo and voice notes after tapping. The latter are added to the new Quick Notes section and feature transcribed text apart on top of audio playback. Notes or reminders can also be dictated while the phone is locked.

Using Rooms, which is part of Windows Phone 8, private notes can be shared between coworkers or family members. Users can take advantage of Rooms through private calendars, group chat, notes, photos or videos, and the feature is by invitation only.

As is to be expected with the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation, the emphasis on collaboration is not lost in the latest iteration of the smartphone operating system. Outlook comes with integrated calendar, contacts, email and tasks, while Skype, Lync and Yammer can be used to view and manage email, feeds, instant messaging, presence, video and voice.

At the moment Office on Windows Phone 8 is available in 50 languages. For right-to-left languages it aligns the text and reading order appropriately, while also doing the same for the user interface elements.

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