Microsoft Taps 'Print' in Office on the iPad

Microsoft today shipped the first update for Office for iPad since its debut five weeks ago, adding printing to the three apps.

Microsoft today shipped the first update for Office for iPad since its debut five weeks ago, adding printing to the three apps.

Microsoft said printing had been the No. 1 feature request from customers.

Users can print documents from Word for iPad, whole or partial spreadsheets from Excel, and presentations or individual slides from PowerPoint. The apps use Apple's AirPrint technology to print via a Wi-Fi network. A complete list of AirPrint printers can be found on Apple's website, and include devices from manufacturers like Brother, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Ricoh and Samsung.

Apple launched AirPrint in the fall of 2010 with iOS 4.2, and added it OS X in mid-2011 when it shipped Lion, or OS X 10.7.

The updates are available free of charge from the App Store; all users will be able to print documents, spreadsheets and presentations from their iPads.

Subscribers to Office 365 can create, edit and now print documents, but non-subscribers may only view and print. The least-expensive plan, Office 365 Personal, costs $70 each year. Pricier plans, including ones for consumers, small businesses and enterprises, run from $100 to $264 annually.

Microsoft also called out two minor additions to Office for iPad in a Tuesday blog: SmartGuides, an object alignment tool in PowerPoint, and AutoFit, which adjusts the height and width of multiple rows and columns simultaneously, in Excel.

Office for iPad came roaring out the gate when it hit the App Store, almost immediately grabbing the top spots in Apple's download chart. As of Tuesday, Word, Excel and PowerPoint were still camped out near where they started, holding No. 2, No. 7, and No. 8, respectively, on the U.S. App Store's free apps list.

Microsoft has said that more than 12 million copies of the Office apps have been downloaded, but the company has not revealed how many new subscribers it attributed to Office for iPad, whether they signed up from within an app, or subscribed to Office 365 at Microsoft's website or using a sold-at-retail product key card. And only Apple and Microsoft know how much Office 365 revenue has been generated via in-app purchases.

Office for iPad can be downloaded from Apple's App Store. The apps require iOS 7 or later.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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This story, "Microsoft Taps 'Print' in Office on the iPad" was originally published by Computerworld .

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