Want to put Microsoft Office’s popular apps on an iOS or Android device? Soon you won’t have to download individual versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to use them.
Microsoft on Monday revealed that it’s beginning to publicly test a new version of the Office app that combines the three apps into one. The tech giant made the announcement at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida.
In the new app — available now as a public preview on Android and as a beta through Apple’s iOS Test Flight program — you’ll be able to create new documents, presentations and spreadsheets as well as edit and view existing documents. You’ll also be able to “snap a picture of a document” and make it into an editable Word file, create and sign PDFs, or “transform tables from a printed page into an Excel spreadsheet.”
Microsoft’s individual apps have been popular on mobile. All three rank in the top 25 productivity apps on iOS, while each app has been downloaded over 1 billion times on Android.
Google, however, has been providing strong competition to Microsoft on mobile, with the Docs, Slides and Sheets apps from its G Suite set of productivity tools all ranking higher on iOS.
Despite this, Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity tools take the overall lead across devices, according to a 2018 report from cloud security firm Bitglass. In 2016, Office 365 had more than twice as many deployments as G Suite in the business realm, at 56% compared to 25%.
Microsoft says the new Office mobile app won’t be replacing the existing three individual apps. “We know some users may only need to use one of the apps, and it is the consumer’s choice to install the app that best fits their needs,” a company spokesperson tells CNET. “However, if you use all of the core apps, we recommend using this new Office app, as it means you only need to install one app – and it will actually take up less space.”
The Office app combination for iOS and Android follows Microsoft’s release of the newin February, which offers access to all the Office productivity apps in one window.
The general release for the new Office app will take place in the “first half of next year.”
Originally published Nov. 4.
Update, 10:32 a.m. PT: Added additional context.
CNET’s Alison DeNisco Rayome contributed to this report.