Like it or not, Microsoft Office is the most commonly used office suite around. While there are several office suite apps for Android, sometime you just need to use Microsoft Office due to formatting issue or some features that are only available in Ms Office. As we know, Google and Microsoft don’t play well with each other, so you won’t have a dedicated Ms Office Android app anytime soon. Meanwhile, you can make use of CloudOn for Android as the middleman to make the two play nice.
CloudOn is an application for devices running the Android OS 3.1 or higher. This means, those earlier tablets that are still running Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x) will not be able to run CloudOn without an update to at least Honeycomb. In addition, as of this post, CloudOn is only available for US, UK and Canada.
Getting Started with CloudOn
You will need to create an account to use CloudOn. The way CloudOn accesses your Microsoft documents, spreadsheets and presentations is through a cloud storage service. Currently there are three choices you can use: Dropbox, Google Drive or Box. You can use any or all of the cloud storage accounts. The way they work is very similar.
Note: You will need to grant permission to CloudOn to access your cloud storage account before you are able to see the documents stored in the services.
How-to Use CloudOn
Once a file is selected and opened, it looks a lot like the Microsoft Office layout. At the top of the screen, you’ll see a toolbar similar to the Microsoft software. while it doesn’t look like most recent version of Microsoft Office, the toolbar is laid out very well.
You will notice, when you tap on the text to bring up the keyboard, there are additional buttons. At the top of the keyboard, you will see the row of F1 – F12 buttons. Depending on what type of file you are looking at and editing, these buttons will offer different features.
Reasons to use CloudOn
One reason you would want to use CloudOn against an Office Suite app on your device is that everything you do on CloudOn will be directly to your Dropbox account (or Google Drive or Box). You won’t need to worry about which version is on your phone and which version is on your laptop.
CloudOn also lets you create a document, spreadsheet or presentation, not just edit it. Many applications for mobile devices will allow you to open up and edit Microsoft Office files, but you have to purchase the Pro version before you can create your own document.
Imagine being on a business trip, and you realize your laptop is broken. That’s the only place that you had the presentation you and your team worked on for weeks. By using CloudOn to access the presentations stored in your Dropbox, you can use your tablet to make the presentation instead of a laptop.
The only caveat is that you need to be connected to the Internet (and a fairly stable one) before you can use CloudOn. This is definitely not suitable for those who are constantly travelling to places with little or no Internet connection.
How do you currently access Microsoft Office files on your tablet?