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Office for Windows 10 free on phones and small tablets, Office 2016 on the way

Besides Windows 10 the platform, we're learning a lot more about the new apps that we're going to be getting with it, like touch-friendly Office. Today, Microsoft has elaborated a little more on the new version for Windows 10 and confirmed that it will be installed for free on all Windows 10 phones and "small tablets." This is particularly good news considering it's been the small tablets that have been getting free Office 365 subscriptions, but have screens too small to really put the software to work.

In a post on the Office blog, Julia White, general manager for the Office Product Management team says:

"These new Office apps will be pre-installed for free on phones and small tablets running Windows 10, and available to download from the Windows Store for other devices. The Office universal apps will be available with the Windows 10 Technical Preview in the coming weeks and general availability is on track for later this year."

That's the other good news. We'll be able to play around with the new apps for the first time really soon. The site also shows off Excel and OneNote, which Microsoft did not during the event. Anyone who's ever looked at Office for iPad will see some familiarity, but since those apps are pretty fantastic, we're not complaining.

White also brings news of the next, full fat version of Microsoft Office. Launching later this year, Office 2016 will be detailed further in the future.

But the big deal for mobile users is free Office. No mention of an Office 365 subscription which is required on other mobile platforms to get the most out of the apps. Office, touch-friendly, and ready to rock with Windows 10.

Source: Office Blog{.nofollow}

OneNote for Windows 10

Excel for Windows 10

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

131 Comments
  • Anybody else notice that the phone pictured above is a new phone?  Look at the arrow and search buttons, they are different than on current phones.
  • I remember that from the emulator you use on visual studio
  • It is the VS Simulator.
  • I'm pretty sure that's just a placeholder.
  • I like the new button design
  • Its also look like project my screen
  • It is infact project my screen!
  • Those were the same arrows used in the WP7 announcement pictures....
  • Its just a border that they put around the actual simulator to give it a Windows Phone like design. Once new hardware does come out though it would make much more sense to get rid of the magnifying glass search icon for a Cortana one instead
  • Waiting for Office 2016, hate the 2013 outlook white theme, hope they fix it
  • Office 2013 offers also a grey and dark grey design. Just look in the options.
  • I know about those other two theme, it too shame it doesn't offer much. I prefer something like the 2010 version which was almost perfect.
  • You mean Office 2013 has 3 shades of white, right?
  • Don't worry, it will have a proper Dark Theme. They listened to complaints.
    http://youtu.be/jU7wnpF_Hbc
  • When is Skype for business out?
  • Hope Windows 10 for Phone allows a Bluetooth keyboard (maybe a mouse too) to be paired!
  • I think it will, look at the article about the new configuration universal app for phone
    In there is a picture of it and in the menu says devices, which in the lower letters says: "Bluetooth and Keyboards"
  • Noticed the same but then again, there is already a "keyboard" setting in W8 which is just the one screen one. So we'll see but since this version is also for small tablets one would think it's coming.
  • Yes there is already a Keyboard setting in WP 8, the thing is that this setting put in inside the "devices" so I speculate that it probably comes with the support to external keyboard Well I wish that what I'm saying will becoming true at some point
  • Why do ppo need a peripheral keyboard for phones?
  • you can type to your phone while you're at your desk for 8 hours a day. duh
  • Also, on Android, game controllers are considered a "keyboard," so it would be nice if we could start using game controllers for WP. Hopefully, they just make it built in where you can use an Xbox controller like you already can with full Windows.
  • I don't know if I'd ever use it, but it would be nice to know that if I needed I could use bluetooth keyboard (and even mouse) on my W10 phones.  There is a greater point here, which I think is that if phones are running the same W10 as desktops, which MS claims, then they should be able to support all the same features.  So there should be no artificial road block to stuff like BT keyboards just because someone doesnt think they are useful for phones.
  • I actually do a lot of data entry on my phone white out and about. If I could use Office with a Bluetooth keyboard on my phone, I wouldn't need to bring a laptop. That is a huge deal for me.
  • That's why I use the Surface 2, free office, highly portable and free Office 2013. Plus 4G sim card makes it an awesome choice.
  • Office 2019 is on the way to ios and android next month..
  • Bleh.. They better release the 2013 mac version first.
  • Office 2013 came free on my Surface 2, other OS's don't get this.
  • Why not a detailed video regarding windows 10 for phone has not been posted yet?
  • Maybe video wasn't allowed?
  • Sorry didn't know that
  • Come on Mohit!!!! :D
  • Yeah... I'm waiting for that companion video that Joe Belfiore mentioned in the video that was released yesterday.
  • My impression from yesterday is that they don't have a lot of new features to show for phones yet.  His presentation focused on showing off universal apps working the same on phone and desktop.  So I'm betting we will see a better phone demonstration at Mobile Word Congress (along with a flagship I hope).
  • Yup we'll have to wait for Build or for some Windows 10 for phones events to get more features. Those new features we'll get in a couple of days is a small pack.
  • A small doubt now also in all Lumia office is available for free... Then what is special of saying office is free in wp10 ...i don't understand that's y pls some one answer
  • It's in the post. It will be free on phones and small tablets in Windows 10. The new version.
  • That I know I ask the difference
  • The current version is pretty barebones. You can only do basic editing of Office docs and is integrated with the OS so no updates until the OS itself is actually updated. The new versions on the other hand are more or less the real deal that is seen on Win32 and is optimized for a touch friendly interface and is easily updatable from the Store.
  • This is what I asked thanks...
  • Is this better than the ios& android version?
  • Why does it matter?  
  • Then why chose Windows if MS stays platform neutral...
  • If the presentation was any indication, they are going for "Windows Best", no longer "Windows first". If they stick with that philosophy I'm more than happy to wait.
  • At the end, they said the best experience will be on Windows.
  • Yes. Because you don't have to pay it for.
  • Perhaps the 365 subscription is not needed
  • Yes
  • Yes, it's on Windows 10 and free :/
  • Looks exactly the same as the iOS version to me. If it has all the features available it will be awesome. If it has some features disabled, like the iOS version, it is still way better than the current windows phone version. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If IoT can run this OS, a decently powered phone should be able to. That's the best part about this whole One Windows strategy. An OS that scales according to the hardware it's installed on.
  • Why there are no hands on videos of Windows 10 on phones? :/
  • There was no video allowed in the part where the media could try out the new stuff.
  • NDA
  • One thing mentioned in the event is they will support Wireless Printing. Big deal for me. Will be great send something to print on my Windows PC directly from the Phone. :)
  • +920
  • Yup useful for work email attachments printing
  • It is something I was hoping for.
  • I think its the l1520, that's what they were using for demonstrating at the event.
  • Why the hell do they insist on placing buttons at the top of my damn phone screen. Wtf happened to Metro design?? What happened to logical placement of UI elements based on how the device is going to be used? I'm really starting to miss WP7 again.. stop turning WP into Android!
  • Yes exactly now it's almost impossible for me to use a bigger windows phone
  • It really is - my Lumia 1520 is big enough as-is but I love the hardware. The way they're designing the software now is driving me crazy. My hands aren't THAT big!
  • If i wanted a software like that i would choose iPhone with better apps and all but i love the metro designer because it's easy to reach things but now it's going away
  • Would you really want all those buttons to be on the bottom? It would look really cluttered! In my opinion only 'browse' buttons should be on an easy to access location. With this I mean buttons for actions that you need to take for quick glances. Like changing to a different view for a calender app. It might launch on day view and you're walking with the phone and want to quickly check appointments for tomorrrow. But when you're talking productivity apps such as Excel than I dont mind buttons to be organized logically based on best performance. You cant focus on excel and be compleetly mobile at the same time. Usually you stop walking and really focus on the content. So buttons on top are ok imo. However I do feel the menu (burger) icon could be lower. I suspect many devs will put 'browse' commands within it, stuff you might want to access when you only have one free hand. I thought about suggesting putting it on the digital Windows-bar. Which is fine on phones but the charm-bar has proven many consumers cant handle the logic of one bar having simiar functions for different apps. So this would create an inconsistency with Windows on desktops where the burger icon will be within the app. So in the end I do feel this is the best of all known mediocre solutions.
  • yes, i want all those buttons on the bottom. where they belong. and the "dropdown menu" for changing buttons should be tabs instead. looking like a ribbon, then. or a windows phone pivot control. http://i.imgur.com/gfsRr4x.jpg mockup of that (but top part is still the same)
  • Not that I'd want them at the bottom, but even swiping from the left side would be a nicer option, to hide this "hamburger menu" without having to reach at all. The thing is, it just seems like they're being lazy now - I understand they want similar UI for different touch screens, but they should know from previous experience that phone UI needs to be a little more tailored for use with one hand.
  • Ban the hamburger menu! Especially at the top of the screen.
  • It's not turning into Android so calm down. Besides, I have a 1520 and have no problem whatsoever handling the newer apps that have a hamburger menu.
  • all the apps they showed looked more like android apps than their wp counterparts of today. much more. colored title bar on top. hamburger on top. each app an own color design choice instead of simply dark/light + accent color. ui commands all over the place instead of just in the bottom command bar. they essentially follow android rules, and none of the wp rules.
  • And who dictates what the WP "rules" are? You? Developers have every right to do whatever they want with their apps- Microsoft is not Apple, you know. Zune design needs to die already. To quote Albert Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results." If WP7's Zune-based design didn't save Microsoft's mobile division back in 2010, what makes you think it will save it in 2015? (5 years later- an eternity in tech years, I should point out)
  • if you want zune design dead, go to android. i don't want android on a wp. nor on an ios device. nor ios apps on an android. ms defined those rules and put a LOT of efford into the common sense behind them. and making them work together. now they instead randomly copypaste from other platforms and lose ui consistensy and ux consistency, and design consistency all over their own platform. not a good thing. i am a developer, i create apps and designs, and those designs are worse than what they had before. i'm still eagerly awaiting win10 because it'll be great for other reasons. but their design mojo, they threw it away.
  • "ms defined those rules" So you do agree that MS, as the creator of the metro design language, can make changes to it as they see fit? "now they instead randomly copypaste from other platforms" It's just a hamburger menu. Something that BOTH ios and android apps use. It's a common element to app design. Why shouldn't developers be allowed to use it? "if you want zune design dead, go to android." It's already dead. It's called evolution. The last Zune device was released back in 09, when Apple was still hung up on skeuomorphism. You don't see Apple fans crying over that design, though. They've moved on, as Microsoft finally has. Even Rudy Huyn uses the hamburger menu in his most popular apps. On a side note, notice that the vast majority of official apps on WP that follow the WP7 design religiously have major feature gaps? Fitbit, the old Foursquare app, the Office suite on WP, Linkedin, etc. There is a time TRADEOFF for developers- as one yourself you should know this. With limited time to complete an app, which aspect should you devote that precious time for: following an outdated design language or adding features that people want? And with WP's market share as low as it is, major developers will give a relatively shorter amount of time for WP app development.
  • Why no Windows 10 on phone review?
  • Reviewing what exactly?
  • The overall experience and look of the OS
  • It's really cool....well em waiting for it :)
  • This is cool because small tablets have had to have an Office 365 subscription to have Office, at all.  I have a Home subscription that expires in March and I bought an HP Stream 7 tablet. If I put the my Home subscription on the tablet, I lose the Personal subscription offer, because it is only accessible via an icon that goes away and you can't get it back even after a factory reset.  I returned the HP and got the ASUS VivoTab 8, which actually has the installation ID on a printed card in the box.  I'm still leery of putting my existing subscription on there, so I have no Office until my current Home subscription ends and then I'll start the Personal subscription that came with the tablet.  To think...iOS/Android tablet users don't have to play these games and neither will Win10 users.  Phew.
  • Can you tell me why you need an Office 365 subscription at all? I have Office 2010 on one PC at home, and use office.com for everything else. Office.com is free, fast, and all my documents are shared in OneDrive. What is the purpose / advantage of paying for a subscription? Edit: I found this product comparison https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-microsoft-office-products So the conclusion, for me at least, is that there is no benefit to paying for Office 365 as Office Online does everything that I need :)
  • This seems great, however I think it's sad that whenever you go to a store, most salesmen will recommend you a toy phone filled with candy rather than a Windows phone, Microsoft should care for this issue too
  • They can't exactly stick a gun to carrier's heads and tell them to stop recommending Android. The only way to fix this is to get people to WANT to buy WP and then go in and buy one whether they recommend something else or not. Once sales pick up for WP, they will stop recommending other devices so much.
  • One note is also going to change
  • Yep. Even put a picture of it in this post for you.
  • Yeah!!! :)
  • I hope Office 365 gets new Office at release......
  • I hope the command bar on Windows 10 Phones will take on the same color as the taskbar on Windows 10. It would really be nice if customization of UI elements sync across devices more so than it does today.
  • Yes. But as an option.
  • Why rounded corners for Home, Insert, etc. tabs in OneNote? Why a round red "+" button in the lower right corner? If it wasn't for the Windows Phone button bar, I'd have said it's the OneNote app for Android.
    Microsoft should stick to the Modern UI guidelines, sharp corners are great!
  • Yes, stick with and improve the Modern user interface. The look and the user first experience. Do not copy those other old fashioned UI.
  • Thank you someone noticed! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I also do like the Modern GUI much better. Espesially for Tablets. Hopefully OneNote Metro app GUI won't become an iPad app copy!
  • 1st: Can the Mac version be readily available at the same time. 2nd: Will I actually be able to type my thesis papers on my phone finally with all of the tools as if I'm on the computer. Same for PowerPoint?
  • Ready to rock !!!
  • And then all people complaining about how MS "forgot" about own platform can go to the H*LL. 
  • Is it just me, or does anybody else find the Office 365 apps for all non PC devices totally useless? I started writing reasons, but stopped because there are too many.
  • I hope I can copy & paste cells in Excel with the new version. It still blows my mind that this feature was omitted for Windows phone 8.x but was present in Windows Mobile 6.x
  • This is seriously last chance for smartphone OS. Hope it will make attractive to new users.
  • simple mockup of a better way to handle the different sub-categories of tabs: don't use a dropdown but instead make them tabs/pivots/ribbons. more in common with both the desktop office ribbon, and windows phone pivot controls. one could swipe left right to switch category directly. http://i.imgur.com/gfsRr4x.jpg
  • Why the hell does the hamburger-button icon look different in every app? The Office apps hamburger icons look different from the Maps-app hamburger icon and again the Photos-app hamburger icon look different from the others. This is driving me insane! Not complaining, but I can't stop noticing this.
  • Very nice!
  • So many people flipping out over a silly hamburger menu... Here's the reality- Zune is old and outdated (please don't kill me fanboys). It's time Microsoft retired it and did something different with the Windows Phone UI. Is the metro design itself going away? Flat design, Segoe font, emphasis on information rather than aesthetics, and Live Tiles are still there, so I would say its still there. The reality is, the average consumer who switches has no idea what a pivot menu is. They're used to ios and android. With such little market share we have, we need to make some compromises in order to attract people to the OS. There's a lot to be said about making new customers feel comfortable using WP. Simple marketing 101 teaches us that that can be the difference between a hit and a flop. You guys want new apps? Better start thinking of ways MS can bring outsiders into the fold so developers have a real incentive to develop for us.
  • but the hamburger menu has usability losses. controls should not be on the top part of the screen, where they're much less reachable on a phone. there are many blog posts talking about more of the (many) issues with hamburger menus. but mostly the controls on the top screen part are the main thing. there's a reason the adressbar of ie moved from top to bottom in windows phone. usability. it matters. in other news: stop that dropdown for the ribbon menu selection. just use a ribbon directly (and let us swipe left right for next controls) http://i.imgur.com/gfsRr4x.jpg
  • How exactly does a hamburger menu have usability losses? I have a 1520, and have never once had an issue reaching the hamburger menus. Besides, location on the screen doesn't prevent you from doing anything. It's an aesthetic thing, with some effect on reaching, but nothing really major (again, I'm using a 1520). That can be a legit concern, yes, but I get the impression that most people on here who whine about these menus have a 520 (4 inch screen, should be no reaching problems unless you have hands the size of a 5 year old's) and are mainly whining that it looks a little "too Android". A rather ridiculous concern given that Android has been copying the metro design for the past year now. Pretty soon, we'll have to throw away every element of metro just to get away from Android, the way they're going.
  • it's still usability losses as for many other, it's hard to reach. or in other occations. it's a usability loss because it contains ZERO information except "there's more there". it's a usability loss because it hides commands into a second place, or even navigation. again, with no knowledge where you are, and where to go. you first have to click/reach it, then you can parse the new information. and yes, i know people moanign about not being able to reach the top of the screen even on small phones. it is a real issue for many.   android didn't copy all of metro. and some of those differences are what keep (kept?) me on wp. or what won me over in the first place. now as ms copies android/ios instead (multicolored apps, buttons all over the place, hamburger menus for navigation) while they had an own, but just as well working approach, most of the differenciators of wp get lost. thus, most of it's value.
  • But but but... But what? The top part od the screen should never be touched? The hamburger menu is great, it's familiar, intuitive and looks good. Get over yourself, instead of focusing on plethora of new Office features coming to phones and small tablets, you wine about the hamburger
  • This is HUGE!
  • Microsoft should integrated Office to the OS itself. However they charge alot for the genuine OS on PC
  • Let me get this straight. They said that it's preinstalled on phones and small tablets and that it's free on those. They added that you can install it on all other devices, but will it be free there too? These are universal apps right - own on one device, own on all?
  • Pre-installed and something you can install yourself could still be handled differently. That said, you'd assume larger tablets like the SP3 would still be perfect to use with this new touch Office. Microsoft would obviously prefer you bought the full spec Office 2016 though on higher-spec devices.
  • But still, it's not very clear based on their wording. It's not like this is the fully featured version of Office. I personally don't work with Office documents very often, so full fat Office 2016 is a no no. But for the occasional spreadsheet or ppt, having the modern offline Office would be more comfortable than using Office Online, which is what I currently do.
  • You have to pay buddy
  • You must be a Microsoft employee, pal.
  • Yeah but is anyone noticing the android martial design button on that one screenshot. I guess I'm glad I switched last month Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Does it matter? Windows 10 is all new, why wouldn't it have new UI elements?
  • Great! Nice pics too! Can't wait! - What a move Microsoft! Congrats!
  • So what about windows rt? Umm RT is seeming forgotteno or they are no mentioning it on purpose.
  • windows10 is  applicable for Nokia Lumia 630 ? 
  • I just want to see some similarity in the email....I use OneNote Metro or whatever it is called everyday and love it. But, I'm not holding my breath. Hsve heard "coming soon" way too many times
  • Couldn't be more disappointed with the Office on phone that was shown.
    Looks like Office on iPhone.
    But we were supposed to get a more capable Office than on competing platforms to make up for the years of waiting...
    I see no reason why Office in that state hasn't been part of Windows Phone from the beginning.
  • Hopefully these new office apps will still be store apps, even if they come preinstalled. If they are store apps they can be updated independently. I'd love for new features of my email app to not be tied to an OS release that my phone may or may not get (I'm looking at you, Verizon).
  • The article mentions "small tablet".  How do our friends in Redmond define a "small tablet"?  
  • Bellow 8 inches.
  • Ohhh dear, they're doing it again... After all they showed us yesterday, I thought: Man, they're doing just everything right... Wow! They finally realized that average users simply don't see a difference between a store app and a desktop program... Those programs should just work all the same way. And that's what they do in Windows 10. No separate settings app and control panel anymore, task switchers show all open programs and apps etc. I especially liked Joe's demo that showed one can even swipe down desktop programs to close or minimize them - just like store apps. Well, that was yesterday. Today is another story: So, there will be an Office for Windows 10 and there will be Office 2016. And I probably have to use the latter with keyboard and mouse and the first when I use touch. So, on my 2-in-1 I have to install both and close Word 2016 and open Word for Windows 10 when I switch to tablet mode... Really?! Don't get me wrong: I'm aware that they have to make money from somewhere and can't give away the full featured Office version for free (or for an apple and a pie). But can't they just have "Pro"-features that can be bought (through store or Office 365 subscription or whatever)? True responsive Office universal apps that adapt to the needs (free or cheap "light" & well - less cheap "pro") and the device of the user? Btw: Didn't they do some strange revamped Office 2000 version and sold it as Office XP when Windows XP came out back in the times? I thought they're over the "we have program names that match OS names" - but I was wrong. Silly me.
  • So will my dell venue 8 pro get free office if it doesn't at the moment? Hopefully so...
  • 512mg compatible...
  • Unless they give full Office 2016 for free, I'm keeping Office 2013. I've upgraded from 2003 to 2013 and unless something extraordinary happens, I'll only be replacing it with Office 2023.
  • Unification is great. but what the heck did they with rounded edges of layouts????
  • Hm... so what about Office 365?
  • Hope the fix the design and keep the material art :'(
  • Office 365 subscription is also not needed for IOS any more. It was required initially for editing and saving (read only was free) but now you can also edit and upload to OneDrive for free on IOS. Dunno about Android, don't care either...
  • Does this mean that Office for Windows 10 will be available for free on desktops/laptops? I know that you'd still have to pay for Office 2016, but making people pay for Office for Windows 10 on a desktop seems... off...
  • Finally office with undo button on phone.but unfortunately i can't see an undo button on onenote in the picture.hope they include undo button in all the office programs.