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Home / Tips and Tricks / How Microsoft’s Office app helps with schoolwork, PDFs, signatures, and more

How Microsoft’s Office app helps with schoolwork, PDFs, signatures, and more



When your child is tired of making endless zoom calls and typing on screens, the Microsoft Office app for iOS and Android offers a break: kids can work on paper and you can submit their work electronically.

Microsoft launched its Office app for iOS and Android in February, a few weeks before the pandemic drove us all into the house. Who knew when my family huddled from home to work and study that the Office app would quickly become an indispensable tool for managing everyday document tasks for my kids and me.

Here are some quick tutorials on how to get things done with the Office app. But it’s amazing how much it can actually do! You can take a picture of a page of a book and use the Office app to automatically extract the text using optical character recognition. You can turn a photo into a PDF. You can make a PDF that you have already made. You can take a picture of a table and turn around The into an Excel spreadsheet or turn a document into a PDF, or and vice versa. Also, don̵

7;t underestimate these last few features as PDF to Word conversion tools can be tricky to find. And of course, unlike most of the PDF editors we tested, all of these Office app features are free.

Microsoft Office App for AndroidF Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s Office app for Android stores a list of your frequently accessed Office documents. However, the list of powerful tools is hidden in the Actions menu.

Use the Office app to scan your children’s homework

Your child’s teacher has likely already shown you one way to enter hand-drawn work: using the camera on the PC or Chromebook. At our school, students are asked to open their Google Doc, navigate to the Insert Picture icon on the toolbar, and take a photo from the camera facing the user. It’s simple, effective, but not always that clear.

If you want, you can use the Office Mobile App to do the same thing and it will look better. Open the Office app on Android and navigate to Actions Icon at the bottom of the screen.

Office App 3 Actions Microsoft Mark Hachman / IDG

The Office app’s Actions menu.

You will see a whole list of interesting menu items. click Scan to PDF, a somewhat confusing name.

This brings you to a pretty conventional photo screen with some interesting options at the bottom. “Document” is selected by default. If you put your child’s worksheet on a table or bed, you will see a small spooky rectangle surrounding them. This is the Office app’s AI magic at work: it detects the edges of the document and aligns them so that your PDF file looks nice and tidy. In other words, don’t spend a lot of time aligning the frames of the document within the frame as the app will do it for you.

Microsoft Office App for Android Document Mark Hachman / IDG

The Office app may be oversensitive to fields drawn on the page. Sometimes it is assumed that a field like the middle one represents the entire page. Notice the “Stacked Photos” icon in the lower left: you can use it to create a multi-page PDF with multiple images.

If you choose the Whiteboard option, you can take a photo of a piece of art hanging on the wall. Here too, Office makes it nice and tidy. Office saves the file as a PDF and is accessible from the main screen.


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