Microsoft Demos Office Apps for Windows 10

Microsoft Office is the world's leading productivity suite, but up until now, it hasn't offered much in the way of touch support. However, it looks like that's all about to change. Today at the company's Windows 10 event, Joe Belfiore demonstrated new Windows 10 Office applications that are made for touch input and offer the same experience across phones, tablets and PCs.

Belfiore started by opening a copy of Word for Windows 10 on a phone. He showed that the word-processing application had the same function-filled ribbon as previous versions of word, but it was available as an app bar rather than a persistent set of buttons at the top of the screen. He used the "review changes" feature to step through and approve modifications to his document. He also demonstrated how the application supports complex features like the "lorem()" function which inserts sample text for you.

He then opened PowerPoint on the phone and showed that its ribbon menu was also available as an app bar. As he edited a complex presentation, Belfiore pointed out how well the phone handled animations and transitions. He also noted that the "recent documents" menu listings follow you from one device to another.

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Outlook is also getting a facelift.  In his demonstration, Belfiore showed that the popular mail application now uses the Microsoft Word engine for text editing so that it supports all the same formatting and functions as the word-processing app.

The new Outlook also supports touch gestures in the inbox, deleting messages that you swipe away from the left or flagging those you swipe in from the right. Other applications, such as Gmail for Android, have had similar gesture functionality for years.

Belfiore explained that all of these Office apps look and feel the same on a PC as they do on a phone. When he moved from using Outlook on his handset to opening it on a computer, the application looked the same and supported the same files, except that it had an additional window pane for viewing messages and the inbox at the same time.

The VP announced that Microsoft Office for Windows 10 will come standard on Windows 10-powered phones and small tablets. The new Outlook will become the default mail client for all Windows users. However, the company will continue to develop its standard "Win32" version of Office 365, which will presumably continue to offer more premium features in a subscription model.