It took less than 5 minutes of using Word for iPad to have an overwhelming first impression: I hope Word on every platform becomes what Word on the iPad is. Sleek, uncluttered, well organized, and beautiful, Word for iPad is impressive. An app that encompasses everything great about the desktop application, with none of the clutter. If Word for iPad is in your future, it's an app I expect you'll love to use.
At the outset, it's important to note that Word for iPad is different from any version of any Office application you've used before. Which is to say, while you can download this app for free, it requires a subscription to Office 365 (starts at $10 per month) if you want to use it for anything other than viewing Word documents. This, I know, will provide plenty of fodder for the comments section and while you may not be thrilled with the idea of being tied to a subscription service in order to use an app, I did not find the experience or the price to be unreasonable. Most users will be able to use Microsoft's 30 day free trial to test the Office 365 waters.
Once your subscription is set, Word opens to a document browser where you can create a fresh document from one of 15 templates, or open existing documents stored on your OneDrive or any other SharePoint location. Word for iPad's templates are similar to what you'll find on the desktop app, but what the app offers is not nearly as deep as what you'll find in Word for Mac. From this window you can also manage your Office 365 account and add new OneDrive or SharePoint locations.
Documents stored in your OneDrive have to be downloaded to your iPad before you can work on them and are synced dynamically to the Microsoft Cloud at intervals in which you are not actively typing in a document. Download speeds vary depending on the size of your document and the speed of your Internet connection, but I found them to take no more than a few seconds. Documents created on the iPad can be saved directly on the iPad and eventually moved to your OneDrive. Documents you've opened from your OneDrive are cached locally on your iPad and can be opened even if you don't have access to the Internet. Unfortunately, I could not find a way of moving a document from my OneDrive to my iPad.
Editing documents in Word on the iPad was extremely enjoyable. Even compared to Word on the Web, Word for iPad has an "essentials only" look and feel that should not be mistaken for a stripped down version of the app. While it doesn't offer everything you'll find in Word for the Mac — there aren't as many templates and you won't find any scripting tools — this is notWord on the iPhone. I found all the editing tools to be robust and capable. Which is to say, you should be able to do everything you need to and more using Word on the iPad.
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