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Microsoft has started rolling out an update to its Office apps for the iPad. The most important novelty is that users can now also operate Word, PowerPoint and Excel with a mouse or a trackpad.


With the introduction of the new operating system iPadOS 14 about a month ago, the iPad is starting to look more and more like an Apple computer with macOS in functionality.

Keyboard support had been integrated into the system for many years, but now software makers are taking it a step further by making their apps compatible with a mouse and possibly a trackpad.

That addition is especially welcome in an office suite like Office that is all about productivity. Microsoft also realizes that, which is now adding functionality to Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad. The first users have now received the new version, but the global rollout may take several weeks.

The control works with any Bluetooth mouse, as well as Apple’s new Magic Keyboard for iPad, which includes a trackpad. When the user moves the cursor, it automatically adjusts to the underlying task.

And actions like selecting text or a range of cells in Excel are now just as intuitive, according to Microsoft, as they are in the Office versions for Windows and macOS.

The interface of the Office apps, and in particular the start screens, was also overhauled in the update. The look & feel is now again in line with that of the Microsoft 365 apps on the computer platforms, which had already undergone a makeover some time ago.

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