Office for iPad


 

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BOOM – it’s here…Word, Excel & PowerPoint FOR THE IPAD!

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Office for iPad uses a “Freemium” model. It is free to download the app, free to view and present with – to create and/or edit, you will need an Office 365 subscription.

The differences between free & paid are:

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Q: What Office 365 subscription plans include Office for iPad?

A:

  • Office 365 Home
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office 365 Midsize Business
  • Office 365 E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government)
  • Office 365 Education A3 and A4
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 University

The new Office 365 Personal will also qualify when it becomes available later this spring.

OneNote is free


Microsoft have announced a few OneNote changes and additions:

  1. OneNote for Mac is available for the first time and for free! With this, OneNote is now     available on all the platforms: PC, Mac, Windows tablets, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, Android and the Web. And they’re always in sync.
  2. OneNote is now free everywhere including the Windows PC desktop and Mac version. Premium features are available to paid customers.
  3. The OneNote service now provides a cloud API enabling any application to connect to it. This makes it easier than ever to capture ideas, information and inspirations from      more applications and more places straight into OneNote.

I use OneNote ALL the time – on my desktop, on my Surface, on my Lumia – all notes syncing between all devices so I’ve got everything I need no matter what device I’m using. Not only is it great for personal notes, it’s a brilliant way of collaborating and sharing info with team mates, colleagues and friends too.

Making it available on Mac opens this wonderfulness up to at least a couple of extra people Winking smile and making it free certainly widens the scope!

Head over to http://www.onenote.com/ to download OneNote now.

Office 365 and Multi-Factor Authentication


Cloud Services, rightly, throw up a number of questions around security and Microsoft always seem to be making improvements to the, already substantial, security of Office 365.

A recent one is the availability of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all Office 365 users. This has been available for admins since June 2013 but has now rolled out across the board.

With Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password. Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in.

This will be very similar to the process already in place for Microsoft Accounts, when you sign into a new device and you receive a confirmation text.

Admins can set MFA for some/all users in the admin console, as you’d expect.

The second authentication factor options are:

  • Call my mobile
  • Text my mobile
  • Call my Office phone
  • Notify me through app
  • Show one-time code in app

Currently this isn’t available with the desktop apps of Office 2013 so MS have introduced App Passwords to help increase the security here.

Once an information worker has logged in with multi-factor authentication, they will be able to create one or more App Passwords for use in Office client applications. An App Password is a 16-character randomly generated password that can be used with an Office client application as a way of increasing security in lieu of the second authentication factor.

Roadmap

It’s interesting to see that Microsoft are continuing to invest in MFA with Office desktop applications, and so App Passwords will be only a temporary method.

We’re planning to add native multi-factor authentication for applications such as Outlook, Lync, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PowerShell, and OneDrive for Business, with a release date planned for later in 2014. This update includes the current phone-based multi-factor authentication, and it adds capability to integrate other forms of authentication such as: third-party multi-factor authentication solutions and smart cards.

Multi Factor Authentication with desktop apps isn’t something I’ve really though about to be honest, but as ever more data is accessed via Office and desktops, it certainly makes sense.

Read more about Office 365 & MFA here:

http://blogs.office.com/2014/02/10/multi-factor-authentication-for-office-365/

Power BI General Availability


Business Intelligence is an ever growing area and I think it will continue to grow for quite some time. Taking note of the data you have, analysing it and making decisions based on it is becoming more and more prevalent – think what Billy Beane has been doing at the A’s for years, what Bill James does with the Red Sox, look at how Opta stats have become such a huge thing within premier league football…all these are examples of business intelligence.

The old way:

The new way:

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I’m amazed at some of the things that are being done with Power Bi, especially combined with Excel 2013! The opportunity for organizations to become so much smarter with how and what they’re doing is huge – the fact that it’s cloud based so allows access from anywhere is a big deal, especially with the Windows 8 & RT apps AND HTML5 support.

It’s available now so pricing is in the pricefiles – to see some of the things you can do with Power BI, head over to:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/powerbi/default.aspx#fbid=rZ1xycdtZvO

PowerPoint Progression with Windows Phone


This is a great, nifty invention that’s just come out of Microsoft Research.

I quite like wandering around…out in town, at work and in general. When I’m presenting, I can’t really do it though, as I need to be close to my machine to click “next”…well no more!

Office Remote turns your Windows Phone 8 device into a remote control for your Office 2013 presentation apps  (Word, Excel & PowerPoint). I’ve just downloaded the bits and tested this out with my upcoming Cloud presentation – it took about 2 mins to setup and works perfectly. You need:

It shows the elapsed presenting time, clear forward/backwards buttons and even shows your speaker notes on your phone!

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I’ll definitely be using this when I present at Old Trafford on Thursday :-)

Other use scenarios include:

  • PowerPoint: Large, easily accessible buttons on the phone enable you to start a presentation, advance slides forward or backward, view thumbnails and jump to a particular slide, access speaker cues while viewing the presentation time and the progress of slides, and deliver accurate, non-shaky direction with the on-screen laser pointer.
  • Excel: Simple gestures enable jumping not just between spreadsheets and graphs, but also among any named objects. Spreadsheets can be changed with a mere finger swipe, and navigation is available through rows or columns. In addition, you can use PivotTables or filters and change zoom levels, all with an Office Remote-equipped phone.
  • Word: Zoom control is available in this application, as well, and Word docs can be scrolled by screen or by line.
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    You can see more about it here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/inside_microsoft_research/archive/2013/11/18/advance-your-presentation-with-your-phone.aspx

    Office 365 & Remote Desktop Services


    Office Pro Plus has been available via Office 365 for a while but using it via an RDS server has never been allowed…until now.

    With the recent update to Office 365, Microsoft have relaxed the licensing rules to allow RDS use of Office 365 licenses. Under “Installation & Use Rights” on page 82 of the January PUR:

    Each user may also use one of the five activations on a network server with the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role enabled

    and from the March Product List:

    Media Eligibility with Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

    If the user to whom you have assigned an Office 365 ProPlus license uses the software on a network server with RDS role enabled, in lieu of installing a copy of the software provided with Office 365 ProPlus on one of the five permitted devices pursuant to the Product Use Rights for Office 365 ProPlus, that user may 1) install one copy of the Office Professional Plus 2013 software on a network server and 2) access the Office Professional Plus 2013 software from any device.  Upon termination of your Office 365 ProPlus subscription you must uninstall Office Professional Plus 2013 software from the network server.

    I’m glad they’ve done this as it makes the messaging of “same product, different delivery method” a much truer statement and reduces any possible confusion for customers.

    Microsoft reverse decision on Office 2013 licensing


    It recently came to light that Microsoft had changed the Office 2013 FPP licensing, meaning users were no longer allowed to transfer a copy of Office 2013 from one machine to another – even in the event of that machine breaking.

    This was not received well by most people and there have been a lot of blog posts, tweets, conversations about this; almost all of them negative about MS making things “more expensive”, “pushing users to the cloud” etc.

    In an interesting development, Microsoft have now reversed that decision:

    As a result of customer feedback to Office 2013 retail license transferability terms, we are changing the Office 2013 retail license agreement to allow customers to transfer the software from one computer to another.

    The End User License Agreement text accompanying Office 2013 software will be updated in a future release, however this change is effective on March 6, 2013 at 6am PT. This amendment applies to Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013, Office Professional 2013, as well as Office 2013 standalone applications. These transferability options are equivalent to those found in the Office 2010 retail license terms.

    This is a great example of Microsoft listening to feedback from end users and moving, really quite quickly, to rectify the issue at hand. I think this is a positive step from Microsoft and shows that customer feedback, particularly via social media, really does work!

    To see the official Microsoft post, head over to:

    http://blogs.office.com/b/office-news/archive/2013/03/06/office-2013-retail-license-agreement-now-transferable.aspx