You can now use Office Mobile to bring (an extremely limited version of) PowerPoint to Android. It’s now possible to view, review, and present PowerPoint – with animations intact – from an Android phone.

Office Mobile used to be available only with an Office 365 subscription, but I believe that Microsoft removed this requirement when they launched Office for iPad. Note however that:

A qualifying Office 365 subscription is required to create, edit and save documents for business use.

Simple. Note that it isn’t currently possible to get Office Mobile on Android without a subscription to Office 365. Simply buying (obtaining a perpetual license for) Office 2013 isn’t enough – you need to be paying for Office 2013 through an Office 365 subscription.

I’ve only tested this on my Android phone with a full Office 365 subscription (HTC One, 2013 although the new HTC One looks very tempting) – but it’s worth noting that Android is absent from the list of tablet-types that Office Mobile supports. So you may need to wait a bit longer for that. Can Microsoft interest you in a Surface RT while you wait?

Once you have Office Mobile installed, PowerPoint functionality is reasonable for what you might want to do from a 5” screen (this is Android, we love our big screens). In portrait mode, you see the slide and the speaker notes. In landscape mode you just see the slide. Turning the phone quickly switches between them (if your phone is set to auto-rotate).

office mobile for android Portrait & Landscape

In either landscape or portrait mode swipe right to left on the slide to advance animation, or left to right to go back. It’s worth noting that the Office Mobile animation conversion for PowerPoint on Android is really good. Some apps claim to put PowerPoint onto Android but then break as soon as anything complicated happens on the slide. Some of our slides use dozens of complex animations to get the visual effects we want, and they all played back pretty well. Almost perfectly.

Tap to bring up the menu overlay at the top of the screen. From here you can access an overview screen that shows the slides in your presentation and allows you to quickly switch to a different slide, and an edit option.

office mobile for android Overview Screen

The overview screen just shows you the slides in your deck, and provides a fast way to get to any slide. A ‘document’ icon also indicates which slides have speaker notes, and a subtle strikethrough of the slide number shows which slides are hidden. Hidden slides aren’t displayed when presenting the presentation – only from the slide overview screen (as with PowerPoint on the desktop).

Editing capabilities are limited, as you might expect. It’s easy enough to click on text (if you can get to it – groups and layers can make that difficult) and edit it. But trying to edit an animated slide, or anything too visual, and things become impossible. Select ‘Isosceles Triangle 101’ to edit and you are taken to a text editor to help you edit a shape. Type something, and it simply overlays what you type onto that shape. Forget about playing around with animations, or colours, or shapes. It isn’t even possible to delete a shape – once you select a shape all you can do is add text to it.

office mobile for android Editing Shapes

Editing speaker notes is easy – just click on the notes when in portrait view and you can edit away. It works fine. The same goes for standard bullet points or slide titles – you can enter edit mode and easily make changes.

office mobile for android Editing Speaker Notes

One thing that I thought would be possible to do would be to reorder slides or set up a custom show from within Android. This isn’t actually possible. A custom show needs to be set up in PowerPoint 2013 first, and then saved with the file. (Select Slide Show on the ribbon, then Custom Slide Show, then New, then choose a name, select the slides you want, play with the order you want, and save. Now, when you choose Custom Show from within Office Mobile you will have access to a cut-down or re-ordered version of the presentation if you want to present that.) Once you know how to do it things are fine, but I don’t think the user interface makes it clear that PowerPoint on Android only lets you access an existing Custom Show. It took me a while to realise that the functionality wasn’t broken.

Office Mobile does a good job of getting PowerPoint onto Android. It isn’t fully-featured, but the features it is missing aren’t those many people would want for a smartphone. You can review presentations that people send you, or easily access them from OneDrive (or SharePoint). You can make quick edits on the go (although review functionality might be as useful) to text-based content. You can deliver presentations to an audience while offline (from a small screen if you absolutely have to, or with display mirroring and the right set-up, to a large screen). PowerPoint on Office Mobile works fine on Android. The obvious next step is to bring it to Android tablets, and then perhaps to add a bit more functionality, starting with the ability to reorder and hide slides from the app.

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Joby Blume

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  1. Image of Kainaat Kainaat says:

    I just want to download this app

  2. Image of Fooklein Fooklein says:

    Why cant i see the speaker notes option in my powerpoint slide when i do the same thing you mentioned in your post??

    I have a Lenovo Vibe K5 Note.

    I can view the notes on my PC.. but cant on my mobile phone.. please help..

  3. Image of Joby Blume Joby Blume says:

    Hi Fooklein, have you gone into show mode and got your phone in portrait orientation? That’s what makes the notes appear. If you do and they don’t, I’m not sure what’s going on as I can’t reproduce that behaviour.

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