Microsoft Office for iPad gets mouse and trackpad support

The iOS app update also brings a new start screen and a ribbon of feature menus

Microsoft Word app icon on Apple iPad Pro screen close-up

Microsoft has announced updates to its Office suite that brings mouse and trackpad support to its Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps on the iPad.

The updates will arrive in a phased rollout over the next few weeks, but some users may have already received the added functionality. 

“We know the Office experience on iPad is an important tool for the many people who use it to work, learn and create," said Bill Doll, a senior product marketing manager at Microsoft. 

"The latest iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad models have introduced powerful new features and capabilities to enable people to be productive in more ways. Accordingly, we have made several updates to the Office apps to take advantage of these enhancements and make it even easier to work on iPad."

This past spring, Apple took steps to give its 2020 iPad the mouse and trackpad capabilities, making it a more viable option to replace business laptops. Unfortunately, Microsoft's Office app users had to wait for this user-friendly update before they could take advantage of the new capabilities.

Microsoft says the new updates will also include new start screens and a new ribbon of feature menus and build on the MS fluent design language across the apps. 

Doll adds: “These enhancements provide a cleaner and more modern user experience which has proven to help people more easily find what they need and focus on the task at hand.”

Microsoft claims that it’s not done there. The company will also release more updates over the next few months to improve the iPad app user experience, including document support in Excel, offline file support for cloud files and powerful contextual menus. 

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