Microsoft Word, Excel & Powerpoint for the iPad

Nope. It’s not from Microsoft. The apps are true Microsoft, but the method is Onlive Desktop. You can sign up for a free 2Gb account at

This gives you a virtual Windows 7 Desktop with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Powerpoint. You can use their website to upload any of these documents to your virtual desktop and then use the iPad to edit and view them.

Downsides? There are a few:

1. The free account has a limit of 2Gb of documents

2. You’ll need wifi access. 3G won’t cut it. It won’t even connect with most 3G speeds.

3. You don’t have access to Internet Explorer for those non-iPad-Safari-friendly websites.

4. Any change you make to Windows 7 itself isn’t saved. Includes backgrounds, the desktop, etc.

5. Any change you make to your files does get synced back to your free OnLive account. However, you’ll have to retrieve them to your PC using the website until they come up with a better option.

6. You may need to configure your firewall. OnLive requires UDP ports 16384-16640 and TCP port 443 to be open. The latter is typical HTTPS and is normally open. The former will require your IT guy to configure. If it’s not open, you’ll just get a generic error message on your iPad regarding Network Connectivity.

This concept from OnLive is new and will have it’s issues and hopefully, it’s improvements. For now, it’s a solution for editing or viewing Excel, Word and Powerpoint from an iPad for users that don’t have another option (like Citrix XenApp).

Meanwhile, Microsoft has only released OneNote for the iPad.


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