Office Universal apps coming soon to Windows Phone

Touch-first Office apps are designed for tablets and smartphones running Windows Phone

Microsoft's bringing Office Universal apps to Windows Phone, with a preview version of the touch-first apps set for release by the end of April.

The productivity apps have been available in preview to tablet users since February's launch of the Windows 10 technical preview, and the universal branding means they're lighter than Redmond's Office Desktop app suite, and optimised for tablets and smartphones.

Jared Spataro, general manager for the Office marketing team, wrote in a blog post: "Today I'm excited to share that the Office Universal apps preview for Windows 10 for phone is expected to be available by the end of the month. With this announcement, we're rounding out our Office on Windows line-up."

PowerPoint Universal for Windows tablets

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On-the-go productivity is the main goal with Office Universal. Spataro calls the apps "fast, fluid, and streamlined for an immersive, hands-on experience," pitching them as the perfect way to quickly view, edit and mark-up from a device.

To make the new Office even more mobile-friendly, commands and controls have been relocated to the bottom of the screen, allowing users to make edits using only their thumb.

But they're designed to look the same - or similar to - Office Desktop, making the productivity suite simpler to use across platforms, so customers can take advantage of the cloud to work on a single document from different devices.

For Enterprise users, Office 2016 - the latest release of Redmond'sWindows desktop apps -will give them better controls and information management, with new data loss prevention features for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

"With the preview release of the new Universal apps for Windows 10 for phones, we'll have an exciting line-up of Windows 10 apps across form factors," Spataro added.

"The Universal apps will deliver tailored tablet and phoned experiences for on-the-go productivity, and the Desktop apps will offer out broadest, deepest feature set for professional content creation."

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