Introducing Windows Phone 8: How to Use the Office App

The Office app or hub, is preinstalled on all Windows Phone devices. As you expect, it allows you to access your documents on the go, do some light editing and sharing. If you would like to learn more about its capabilities and how it works, don't hesitate to read this introductory tutorial.

Key Features of the Office App for Windows Phone

There are a few key features that set the Office app for Windows Phone apart from other mobile Office suites:

  • Cloud integration and synchronization - your documents are synchronized between the different devices you have, no matter if you use a phone, a tablet or a PC. The synchronization can be easily done via SkyDrive or your company's Office 365 service.
  • Sharing & collaboration on documents - you can easily access and share documents with friends and co-workers.
  • Multilingual support - Office for Windows Phone 8 offers support for many languages, including right-to-left languages and complex languages like Japanese or Hebrew. Most probably, out of all the mobile Office apps, it offers support for the biggest number of languages.

How to open the Office App in Windows Phone 8

Let's see how to open the Office app or hub, as it is named in some of Microsoft's documentation.

First of all, you can use the Office tile on the Start screen.

If it is not there, go to the Apps screen and scroll until you find the Office entry.

Tap on it and the Office hub will open.

The Office app has two screens: recent and places. Let's take a look at each of them and see what you can do in each screen.

How to Use the Recent Screen in the Office App

When you open the Office hub, you'll see a screen named recent. Here you have a list with the most recent documents you worked on, organized by date.

The menu on the bottom of the screen has only two buttons: new and search. If you want to create a new document, tap new.

This action opens a screen from where you can choose what kind of document you want to create.

For now, you can only create Word and Excel documents. You cannot create PowerPoint presentations, for example.

The second button on the bottom menu is search.

Tap it and the Office app will open a search screen. Type your search keyword(s) and the Office app will perform the search as soon as you type something.

If you want to limit the locations for your search, flick the screen to the right or to the left, to navigate to the appropriate section: all, skydrive, phone, email or sharepoint.

Obviously, if you go to SkyDrive, the search will be performed only on your SkyDrive, if you select email the search will return only documents attached to the emails you have received or sent to others.

How to Use the Places Screen in the Office App

While in the recent screen, flick to the right or left so that you can view the places screen. Here you will find a list of locations: phone, email, SkyDrive and Office 365. Each location displays the documents found inside.

For example, phone displays all the documents stored on your Windows Phone.

Email displays all the documents attachments you have opened on your phone.

SkyDrive lists all the documents that you stored on the SkyDrive, including those shared with you via this service.

The Office 365 location is used to access the documents stored on your company's Office 365 account.

On the bottom of the places screen, you'll find a menu with two buttons: new and search.

If you tap new, you can add a SharePoint site as a location you can access from the Office app. Once added, the Sharepoint is listed as an additional entry in the places screen.

The second button displayed on the bottom menu is search and it can be used to perform document searches in any of the locations that have been set up on your phone.


The Office hub or app is one of the best features in Windows Phone 8 and it definitely much better than the alternatives you can find on other platforms. If you have used it, do share your experience with us and other readers. We are curios to learn what you think about it.