Microsoft Office for iOS gets an update; new features include Apple Pencil support for iPad Pro

It's always nice to see an update that adds support for the latest Apple gadgets, and doubly so when the developer that is sending out the update is Microsoft. Like 'em or hate 'em, the Redmond, WA-based company has some serious credibility in the mobile market not because of its Windows-based tablets and smartphones, but because of the apps it makes for iOS. The Office for iOS suite is unparalleled for productivity on iPhones and iPads, and today's update adds 3D Touch quick actions for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in addition to Apple Pencil support on the iPad Pro.

For the core apps -- Word, PowerPoint, and Excel -- there's now 3D Touch support. Doing a "deep press" on the app icon lets you create a new document immediately in any one of the apps. Have you already created and saved documents in any of these apps? If so, 3D Touch provides quick access to recently-used files (see screenshot above).

As an iPad Pro owner, I was thrilled to see that the Office apps now provide support for Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro. If you use other iPads without Apple Pencil support, the apps still let you "annotate with ink". Tools on the new Draw tab let you use a pen, finger or even the Apple Pencil to write, draw, or highlight a document on iPad. 

iOS 9 users who know how to take advantage of Spotlight search will love this new feature -- you can do searches in the operating system for recently opened documents. That's handy, since you don't have to actually open the Office app first to look for a document before launching it. Just swipe to the right to bring up Spotlight search and enter your search phrase, and Office documents will appear in the search results.

Sometimes you may need a special font to give your document the specific look you're searching for, and now Office for iOS has "fonts from the cloud". Without having to store a variety of fonts on your iOS device, you can search for, download, and use fonts when you need them. 

The updates are good-sized; Microsoft Word version 1.17.1 was 306 MB in size! The latest versions are available on the App Store for free, although an Office 365 subscription is necessary if you wish to create and edit documents on certain devices. Have fun, and get to work.