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Office for iPad to get printing, serve as basis for Office for Mac

updated 02:44 pm EDT, Tue April 8, 2014

Technical limitations partly blamed for suite's delay

The recently-launched Office for iPad will get printing support "in due course," according to a Reddit AMA conducted by members of the software's engineering team. The team says it is also considering mathematical notation in OneNote, and working on implementation of comments and add/change conditional formatting in Excel. Something the suite won't support, though, is third-party Office apps, despite the fact that Microsoft allows desktop developers to hook into Office 365. Microsoft blames the situation on Apple's App Store policies, which block apps from installing code other than their own.

Significantly, the team says that the next version of Office for Mac is in development, and uses code shared with Office for iPad, meaning that iPad coding didn't create any Mac delays. The iPad suite did take a long time to arrive however, which the engineers blame on perfectionism and coping with technical limitations. One of them notes that when programming Word, the app would at one stage run out of memory on an iPad if it opened a document with too many attached comments. Solving problems like these forced Microsoft to re-architect some features, the person says.

by MacNN Staff



  1. rytc

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-29-01

    It was frequently reported that the real reason it took so long to be released was arguments in management about releasing an iPad Office before a Windows Phone version, and the push that it be an exclusive for Windows Phone. But I guess saying that perfectionism was the delay sounds better in a press release.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Yes I totally buy that Microsoft engineers are perfectionists.

    ISTR a working version of Office on iPad being leaked a couple of years ago, though I'm sure that was far from polished, maybe just an alpha. I'm glad to hear that they had to re-work some of their ancient codebase, that's heartening news for the next Office for Mac release.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    What a big paradox by Microsoft in stating "perfectionism" in developing Office for iPad yet without having printing capabilities! It's not like the feature is unsupported by Apple and hundreds of other developers (and has been for 3-4 years), yet Microsoft never found the capability or developers to bring about this basic functionality of a productivity suite. Rubbish!!

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