How to Use Word & Excel on an iPhone

By David Weedmark

With the Microsoft Office Mobile app, you can create or edit Word and Excel files on the fly using your Apple iPhone. For home use, the app is free to use and is available in the iPhone's App Store. While the app doesn't have all the features you will find on your desktop, it does offer basic formatting tools, Word comments and just about every spreadsheet formula you might need. Connect the app to your Microsoft account and you can edit documents you created on the computer that are saved to the cloud using Microsoft OneDrive.

Getting Started

The first time you open the Microsoft Office Mobile app on your iPhone and tap the "Get Started" button, it provides you with instruction screens describing the available features and prompts you for an email address. If you use the email address associated with your Microsoft account, the app prompts you for that account password. After you enter that, you have immediate access to your Microsoft OneDrive account, including any Microsoft Office documents you have stored there. Tap the "Open" button to find one of those documents or tap the "New" button to create a new Word document or Excel workbook. When you're done with a file, tap "Done," and the app prompts you to save it on the iPhone or in the cloud using OneDrive.

Creating New Documents and Worksheets

The Microsoft Office Mobile app comes with six templates, accessible when you tap the "New" button. For Word, there is an Agenda, Outline and Report template. For Excel, the templates are Budget, Event Schedule and Mileage Tracker. When you open a template or create a new blank document, tap on the screen to open the iPhone's virtual keyboard and begin writing. To add content to an Excel worksheet cell, just select the cell and the cursor moves up to the "Fx" field at the top of the screen where you can enter text, numbers or formulas. When you begin typing a formula, Excel prompts you to select from a list, saving you a bit of typing.

Formatting Tools

On both Excel and Word documents, there is an Edit button at the top of the screen. Tap this to see the app's limited number of formatting tools. You can make text bold, italic or underlined as well as change the text color or highlight color. Excel has four additional formatting buttons useful for spreadsheets: date, currency, percentage and text. Word has a "+" and "-" button, which you can use to increase or decrease the font size. Pushing the "+" button several times makes the letters significantly larger -- a handy feature when reading on a small iPhone screen.

Editing on the iPhone

Making changes to a document may take some patience, particularly if you're not used to working with a small touch screen. Double-tapping a word highlights it for copying and pasting. If you need to position the cursor between two letters, tap and hold the word until a magnification bubble appears and then slide your finger to move the cursor one letter at a time. Word documents in the app support comments, so if you want to add a remark, highlight a portion of the document and select "Comments" from the drop-down menu. Text with comments is highlighted in blue. A single tap on the highlighted area opens the comment for viewing and editing.

Disclaimer

For business use, the Microsoft Office Mobile app requires a paid Office 365 subscription. Information in this article applies to iPhones with iOS 7 with Microsoft Office Mobile version 1.1.1. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.