Microsoft's release of Windows Phone 7 brings updated mobile formatted Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs and OneNote Mobile, to your fingertips. The touchscreen-friendly revamp of Office Mobile is radically different from version 6.5. Files are supposed to resemble their appearance on the desktop more closely.
Shrinking Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote to fit in the palm of your hand is no easy feat. Microsoft does a decent, though not spectacular, job of placing basic editing features on hand. You swipe and slide through the screens (which feature large, legible fonts), tapping on the touchscreen keyboard to type.
Office Mobile comes preinstalled on Windows Phone 7 phones. I tested the tools on an HTC Surround. If you have a Windows Phone 6.5 device, you can get a version of Office Mobile 7 from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Look, feel and features
Documents appear in their fullly formatted glory, shrunken down. That means you see charts, graphics, bullet points, numbered lists, slideshow transitions and animation. Word text flows for optimal viewing as you turn the phone sideways.
From the Office Hub, you can hold down the name of a file and get options to send or delete it, or to view the properites. I'm not sure why OneNote notebooks can appear as a Tile while Word, Excel and PowerPoint files show up in a text list.
New XML support means that you can open DOCX and other such "X" files, introduced in Office 2007, on the handset seamlessly. PowerPoint Mobile lets you read, not edit, PPT, PPS, PPSX and PPSM files. Longtime users dealing with various document types will enjoy not needing to deal with an add-on.
A major annoyance is the lack of cut-and-paste functionality, although Microsoft says that's coming in 2011. Most people are likely to use a phone to make quick tweaks to documents, so you'd naturally want to be able to copy, say, a remark from your boss' email straight into a meeting agenda in Word. For now at least when you type words or names that you use frequently on the phone, predictive text makes suggestions you can autofill.
Another irritant (at least from a reviewer's perspective) is that you can't save a screenshot image of what appears on the phone's display.
Within the small Office Mobile interfaces, Microsoft's navigation highlights include an outline pane and hyperlinked tables of contents within documents. The outline pane selects key points drawing from the headings of documents and slides. That's helpful if you're wrangling with a long file.
If that doesn't help you find the key point on page 52 of your white paper, from the app bar in Word and Excel, you can tap Find (the magnifying glass icon) to look up keywords.
Comments on Office documents will automatically get the identity of the person registered as the phone's owner. You should be careful if in some rare case you use a friend's or coworker's phone to make changes to a document that you then send around.