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Office for iPad finally delivers on Apple’s post-PC promise

Microsoft has delivered on its promise to provide mouse and trackpad support for its Office for iPad applications.

The move brings the functionality closer to that of a traditional PC or laptop, offering more precise cursor control without having to maul the touchscreen.

For iPad Pro users the Magic Keyboard featuring a built-in trackpad springs to mind, while there are a selection of mouse and trackpad accessories to ensure the update benefits all people using Word, PowerPoint and Excel on Apple tablets.

In a post on the company’s Tech Community blog, Microsoft’s Bill Doll writes: “When moving a finger across the built-in trackpad of Magic Keyboard, the cursor transforms into the tool you need depending on the content you’re pointing to. And using a mouse or trackpad with iPad for common tasks like highlighting a passage of text in Word, selecting a range of cells in Excel, and moving and resizing graphics in PowerPoint are as simple and intuitive as ever.

“This experience will be immediately familiar to anyone who has ever used Office on a Mac or a PC and helps make iPad even more versatile and capable for getting more work done.”

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Today’s update also brings significant updates for the apps with updated ribbons and menus, as well as deployment of the Fluent UI that Microsoft has been sending forth across multiple platforms. 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.”

Essentially, this helps Apple as much as it does Microsoft. For more than ten years, Apple has described the iPad as a post-PC device. However, productivity tasks like word processing and spreadsheet building have remained more convenient on traditional desktop and laptop platforms due to the support for those peripherals.

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