iPad Pro and MS Office: usability vs on MacBook?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Easttime, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Easttime macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2015
    MS Office for iOS is very slick, and I use my iPad more than my Macs, but I turn to the Macs for serious MS Office work, like writing a paper in Word while simultaneously referring to Excel data, working on the companion PowerPoint, and opening multiple PDF references. Sometimes I need to make graphics for the Office apps with Affinity Designer. I haul my old 13" MacBook on trips where I occasionally need to do that kind of work while away from my main iMac.

    The little iPad is fine for simpler Office work. But the MacBook is aging, so now the interesting choice is between a light new MacBook versus an iPad Pro with external keyboard. So I will be interested in real world experiences from iPad Pro owners with similar needs.

    My hunch is that a smaller iPad and a new MacBook will likely suit me better. I can't see browsing and doing email in bed with the big iPad Pro. For heavier Office work I need multitasking between several apps, and I like interfacing with a mouse, and the MacBook gives me access to the file/folder system using Finder to keep everything organized and quickly find multiple files during a work session. Or am I just being a dinosaur and the iPad Pro/iOS has advantages I don't yet see?
  2. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    East of Eden
    Dinosaur? Not sure, I might be one, too.

    Fatal (for me) limitations of iPP:

    - can't run multiple instances of the same program, which I do often
    - no mouse
    - can't run a second display (AFAIK)

    There are probably others I haven't thought of. The iPP is still a tablet, not a laptop replacement, for my needs. Others with different needs may have different answers.
  3. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Inking. Across the entire line of Apple products (iOS and Mac OS), iPP is the only device where Microsoft has enabled the inking option in Office. I'll be using it for teaching, and for this reason alone I purchased an iPP.
  4. ssls6 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2013
    MS office isn't perfect on IOS. It works pretty well but there are areas where it's easier on a real notebook. I think decisions like this are simple since life is a balance of compromise.....

    Is there something the iPad brings that can't be done on a MacBook?

    Could be the pencil
    Could be the LTE (for me it is)

    If any are true "for you", then you can find a way to do the rest.
  5. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    East of Eden
    Out of curiosity, how do you use your iPad while teaching? Will the iPP be too big (or possibly too heavy) for that use? Just asking, not picking a fight - my wife and younger son are both teachers.
  6. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    When I teach, I stand in behind of a large media desk facing a class of 600 students, with two theatre size projector screens behind me. The iPad will be on the desk the entire time.
  7. contigo5 macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2015
  8. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    East of Eden
    Got it - thanks. My wife tends to walk around, which would be different with a +size iPad. My son has to use a Lenovo convertible and finds the tablet part way too big and heavy (it's probably 2x the weight of the iPP).
  9. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    I truly feel like you would be making big compromise to try and use Office on an iPad pro. Outside of looking at documents and light task (typing a paper in word, entering a few lines on excel) it would be a struggle.
  10. ahostmadsen macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    Can MS office for iPad Pro open multiple documents simultaneously (e.g., two Word documents)? To me, that is one of the annoying restrictions of MS office on iPad Air. Impossible to copy from one document to the other.
  11. MattXDA macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2014
    Well, it requires a 365 subscription unlike the other iPads.
  12. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    MS did an amazing job with Office on the iPad, but 10/10 times I'll use my laptop for Office if I have a chance. You just can't compare using a trackpad to navigate to a having to touch everything, it just will never be close
  13. pacorob macrumors 68000


    Apr 8, 2010
    the Netherlands
    No, unfortunately Microsoft Office apps or Apple iWork apps both are lacking the feature to show multiple documents at the same time within the app itself. Apple's Split View feature also can't open the same app twice so that also isn't an option.

    The only option you have is to open e.g. Word on one side of the Split View and a browser (e.g. Safari) on the other side and open Office365 via the web or use Apple Pages app.

    See also this other topic discussing this recently.

    The only option i could find is an app which doesn't support Split View but can open, edit and save (online only) multiple Office documents and switch easy between them via tabs (not split view) which is hopTo.

    There are apps out there which can show PDF side by side and also Office documents but they can't edit the Office document or save (you can actually do this for PDF in some cases).
  14. Lobwedgephil macrumors 601


    Apr 7, 2012
    Looking forward to the office update that is supposed to come for the Pro.
  15. whodatrr macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2004
    iOS MS Office apps are fine for viewing, but not much beyond that - at lest for me. For many, however, it'll probably work out. I can't use Office on iOS, for the following reasons:

    • Advanced Office Capabilities - I'm often using Macros, interactive links, and other capabilities that won't be on iOs Office for years, if ever?
    • Document Formatting - Believe it or not, I even have to double check some PPTs on Windows, after creating them on OSX. Still, after all these years, there are subtle differences with some of the more complex elements. If I'm distributing a PPPT that will be the standard for dozens or hundreds of people, I like to ensure that it renders properly. In all my experiments on iOS, the formatting was horrible. But my PPTs are fairly complex and polished. I suspect that, for people using basic templates, this won't matter as much.
    • Multiple Docs Simultaneously - I've always got multiple revisions of docs or sources for data up simultaneously. There is no way own the planet Earth that I could ever work without this capability. This is a non-starter, for me. YMMV.
    • External Displays - Now typing this on my iMac, which has three 27" 2.5k displays. When I use my Surface Pro 3, it has two 27" 2.5k displays, plus its own display. My little 12" rMB even gets plugged into an external head, when I get serious. The very first thing I do, when traveling, is try to find a monitor to plug into. If it doesn't have the ability to plug into an external display, it's not a work tool for me. Again, YMMV. But screen real estate is important to me.
    • Mouse/Trackpad - This is huge for me, with MS Office. On my SP3, for example, I'll use the touch screen to browse the Web or check email. But I will always use the trackpad, when I'm doing anything beyond Outlook. And constantly moving my hand from the KB to the screen silly does;t work, nor does it provide me with the precision I need.
    I'm happy to see that there's much progress made in Office for iOS, and I do appreciate the ability to view docs on my iPhone and iPads, though the formatting is often a bit off. While Outlook works perfectly well, I just couldn't rely upon iOs for production, with the rest of the suite.

    But that's just me. I pretty much spend my work week chunking docs out in MS Office. But your mileage may vary?
  16. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    East of Eden
    No, it can't, and you're right, for many people that's a fatal failure.

    However, in response to the post below, it's not an MS Office issue, it's an iOS issue.

  17. masands macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    Office was designed for mouse and keyboard. I don't even touch Office on my laptop. Find it to cumbersome with a trackpad, especially Excel. Microsoft needs to re-think how Office works on touch screen devices.

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16 November 12, 2015