by James A. Martin

Dropbox/Microsoft Lovefest Continues in Latest Android, iOS Updates

Dec 03, 20142 mins
Consumer ElectronicsMobile Apps

Shortly after Microsoft announced new Dropbox integration for its Android and iOS Office apps, Dropbox returned the favor. The new features make life easier for mobile pros, according to reviewer James A. Martin ... with a few caveats.

The flirtation between Microsoft and Dropbox is getting serious. The latest Dropbox iOS and Android updates bring new Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint integration.

Now you can tap a file name within the Dropbox app to preview it. In Preview mode, you see a new Edit icon. Tap the icon, and the file opens in the appropriate Office app, provided you have the app installed. When you make edits and save a file, and it automatically updates in the Dropbox folder.

dropbox ios app with word integration

In early November, Microsoft added Dropbox integration to its Office iOS apps and to Microsoft Office Mobile for Android. Previously, Microsoft’s OneDrive was the only cloud service compatible with those apps. Today you can save files directly to Dropbox using the iOS and Android versions of Office.

Dropbox also added a few additional features to its iOS app, including the ability to swipe right on files to view more possible actions and to rename files easily.

Thanks to these updates, my life as a Dropbox and Office user just got a lot easier. Just one month ago, for instance, I had to move files from Dropbox to OneDrive if I wanted to edit them in Word on my iPad, or store new files in OneDrive and then move them to Dropbox — tasks that occasionally created the dreaded “version confusion.”

As grateful as I am for Microsoft’s newfound spirit of cooperation, however, there are a few things missing. For starters, real-time document collaboration. Google Docs has this feature nailed, which is why I continue to use it whenever I collaborate with someone on a spreadsheet or document.

Also, Office integration is free for Dropbox Basic and Pro users, but Dropbox for Business users must pay for a Microsoft Office 365 subscription. Some of those business users are understandably miffed about that. Here’s what one Dropbox for Business user had to say, on a Dropbox blog post:

“So, since I pay you a lot of money for my Dropbox Business account, I have to pay for an Office 365 subscription as well? If I downgrade to Dropbox Basic or Pro, then I get Office on iOS features for free? Am I tracking the value proposition correctly here?”

Point well made. However, as someone who subscribes to Office 365 and pays for a Dropbox Pro account, I’m happy to get more for my money.