You can't print via Office for iPad - but that could change

Earlier this week, Hell froze over as Microsoft finally announced availability of Office for Apple's iPad. The announcement wasn't exactly out of the blue, of course, but it is no less significant despite the lack of surprise. The fact that Office apps have quickly climbed the charts on Apple's App Store speaks volumes about the importance of this move. 

As you may well expect, the Office apps on the iPad are not as fully featured as their full desktop Office counterparts, with many features not available on the tablet software. One such feature is the ability to print, which Office for iPad does not yet support. 

Microsoft told PCWorld in a statement that "Office for iPad was designed from the ground up for the iPad and for the productivity scenarios that an iPad is well suited for." Indeed, it is worth bearing in mind that iPads and other tablets have been widely introduced to organisations around the world as a tool to reduce reliance on paper copies and cut down on printing, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Microsoft viewed this as a low-priority task for Office on iPad. 

Over on WinSuperSite.com, Paul Thurrott pointed out that Microsoft first discussed the new software with him by saying: "This is not a blown-up version of Office Mobile, nor is it a shrunk-down version of Office for Windows or Mac; it was designed just for iPad." Paul adds that Microsoft's Michael Atalla told him that the company "looked at the core scenarios for the iPad, the ones that would make the most sense for the device. We also did a lot of user testing, and feel like we really nailed the feature set." 

By the sound of it, the research and analytics that Microsoft carried out indicated that printing documents from an iPad wasn't exactly a killer feature for the majority of users. But Microsoft isn't being stubborn about this, and company reps implied that the feature could be introduced in the future, if that's what users want.

The company said that it will "absolutely continue to update the app on a regular basis", echoing similar comments made earlier this week by Julia White, general manager for Office, who said: "We'll watch really closely and see how people are using these apps, and you should expect us to iterate very fast."

Source: PCWorld

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Printing from iPads is gaining momentum, as more and more people are using them to replace laptops. I know quite a few businesses that have been adding devices like the Lantronix xPrintServer to their environment to support printing from iPads, to all their network attached printers.

How is this an iPad issue?
AirPrint -printing via Wi-Fi- is supported by over 1000 models of printers from 30 printer manufacturers (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4356), and you can print to other, non-natively supported printers via a number of 3rd party apps.

Edited by a0me, Mar 30 2014, 7:26am :

j2006 said,
That's an iPad issue, not an Office issue. Unlike iPad, Windows tablets support printing natively.
....and so do iPads and iPhones. Like mentioned above, most new printers allow you to print natively from an Apple device. I've been doing it for over year on my Brother(HL5450) laser printer.

Edited by JHBrown, Mar 30 2014, 7:52am :

JHBrown said,
....and so do iPads and iPhones. Like mentioned above, most new printers allow you to print natively from an Apple device. I've been doing it for over year on my Brother(HL5450) laser printer.

No they do not. They can only print to devices that support proprietary airprint. Whilst many new printers might now support airprint, the vast, vast majority of printers currently being used in offices and homes of people do not.

Unlike proper operating systems such as Windows, OSX or Linux, IOS print support os pitiful, there are no other words for it.

well you cannot open most word and excel documents in the Android version at all and you need to create some account to use offline files ?!? so who cares anymore?

Clearly you didn't care to read the article either, which was about Office for iPads and not Android. There's a similar touch-capable Office version for Android is on its way and it will have full document fidelity unlike Office Mobile.

Edited by Romero, Mar 30 2014, 9:33pm :

Not to mention that print isn't natively available on the iPad without 3rd party clients (HP's ePrint, Google's cloud print etc) OR an Apple wireless printer (which not everyone has and are very unlikely to be found in an office environment)

I really don't foresee this being a major issue.

Auzeras said,
Not to mention that print isn't natively available on the iPad without 3rd party clients (HP's ePrint, Google's cloud print etc) OR an Apple wireless printer (which not everyone has and are very unlikely to be found in an office environment)


most if not all Wireless printers by now can print with ipads and support Apples Printing


her is just an example of printers capable of doing air print out of the box http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4356

just on ther HP list alone they list 89 HP printers that support Airprint and i dont know if this is a current list or older list

I really don't foresee this being a major issue.

Auzeras said,
Not to mention that print isn't natively available on the iPad without 3rd party clients (HP's ePrint, Google's cloud print etc) OR an Apple wireless printer (which not everyone has and are very unlikely to be found in an office environment)

I really don't foresee this being a major issue.

You might want to do some research. I've been printing from my iPhone and iPad natively to my Brother laser printer for over a year. Many new printers support it right out of the box without any so called "third party" software.

JHBrown said,
You might want to do some research. I've been printing from my iPhone and iPad natively to my Brother laser printer for over a year. Many new printers support it right out of the box without any so called "third party" software.

Ouch, I had no idea Air Print had been taken up so quickly, last read about it (shortly after launch) it had been dismissed by a particular critic as a fantastic idea crippled by its proprietary nature.

Obviously with the growth in the apple mobile device sector, Air Print has become successful. That being said, I did a quick search and wasn't able to find many printers/copiers aimed at the business sector available. Plenty of consumer options though. Running an airport server via windows (and I guess you can do it on OSX for IP printers?) should mitigate that issue.

Still, I stand by the statement of not having printing being a major issue.

Auzeras said,
an Apple wireless printer (which not everyone has and are very unlikely to be found in an office environment)

Our office has a Kyocera multifunction which does airprint. It's a lot more common than you might think in new machines.