Microsoft is emphasising OneNote, its handy notetaking program for those who get to know it. It's great for lists of things like to-do items, meeting notes, and grocery lists and you can even add phone voice recordings and photos. Windows Phone 7-style Tiles organise your searchable notes, which are easy to find when you open Office Mobile.
When I added my voice recording and a picture to a grocery list, though, it was tricky to prevent the touchscreen from popping up and getting in the way of a full view of the note.
My OneNote notebook synced quickly from the phone to the web via SkyDrive, appearing in My Documents in a Personal (web) notebook. My 10-second voice recording in OneNote could not display online. For that, I'd have to use the desktop OneNote.
Office Mobile appears be better for viewing documents created on a desktop than for working with a blank slate. Creating a Word or Excel document from scratch is no easy task on a tiny phone with a touchscreen keyboard. At the same time, you can at least get started writing, then email the document to yourself for better access later at a desktop PC.
The default icons on the bottom of Word could be more helpful: Outline, Comment, Find and Edit. Clicking three dots opens sending and saving options. You'll see more formatting tools when you're working on the text.
Just as in Office for the desktop, contextual menus shift depending on what you're working on. For example, you're unable to work with a comment until you select a cell with a comment in it. This tends to drive me as crazy in Office Mobile as it does in Office 2010 for the desktop, but some users swear by it.
If you need to crunch numbers, Excel Mobile offers an impressive number of features, including 114 common functions. You can insert charts, apply filters, and do multilevel sorts. Once I got the hang of the contextual menus in Excel, it became more obvious how to finesse them.
Excel's interface offers three icons by default: Outline, Comment, and Find. The options expand to include options such as Sort, Apply Filter, Format Cell, Undo, Redo, Save and Send.
Excel Mobile even lets you freeze frames, a handy way to jump through a long spreadsheet on a tiny screen. But I ran out of time trying to find that option. I fumbled around starting a new Excel spreadsheet on the phone and accidentally typed stuff starting on the 17th line.
Could I cut and paste it to the first line? No. Nor could I quickly find a way to delete all the blank lines above what I'd typed. From the phone, I emailed myself the failed, brief Excel spreadsheet. But when I opened it from the desktop, the document was blank.