Microsoft may offer versions of its Office software for iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android. But the company still hasn’t released a version of Office for touchscreen tablet, notebook, and desktop computers running Windows 8.1.

But the company’s working on a touch-friendly version of its Office suite, and Microsoft showed a preview today at the MS Build 2014 conference in San Francisco.

Microsoft Office for touchscreens

The new office suite features support for gesture-based navigation such as swiping to move between slides in a PowerPoint presentation, or pinching-to-zoom. You can also swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up extra options such as a pen you can use to circle parts of the presentation.

In all apps, the ribbon user interface has been tweaked with larger buttons. And there’s a touch-friendly file selector.

Office will use some of the same technology Microsoft offers developers for creating Universal Windows Apps — so Windows tablet users will be able to use the same Office user interface as smartphone users in the future.

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One reply on “Microsoft Office for Windows touchscreen devices previewed”

  1. This is light years ahead of the UI for other office suites deigned for touch. Good job, MS. I was hoping that you wouldn’t screw this one up.

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