Office Mobile

With my new Windows Mobile phone came Office Mobile, including Excel Mobile version 6.1.  (I always thought it was Pocket Office and Pocket Excel, but my phone says otherwise.)

Being an Excel guy, I was kind of excited to see this because... er... it's Excel.  What other reason do you really need?  :)  Now, to set expectations, I was aware that there was no VBA in it, and I'm okay with that.  I just really wanted to see how much they could pack into it.

So off I go into Excel Mobile, and it asks me what file I want to open.  Hmm... I don't have any Excel files on my phone, so I'll just create a new one... huh?

IF there is a way to create a new Excel document on the Windows Mobile 6 smartphone, it is so well hidden that there might as well not be.  No amount of clicking on the simple menus would yield it for me, and there are no template installed by default.  Not so good, I'm thinking.  At any rate, I downloaded one from my email, opened it, cleared all the cells and saved a copy as a blank workbook on my phone.  So at least now I have a way to start from a fresh file.  It even gave me a warning that I might lose features if I saved it in that format.
Now, when it first opens the file, it goes into full screen mode.  At first I thought it was just a viewer, but after a bunch of key pressing, I finally figured out that if you click the right "soft key" up on the phone, it will actually give you a menu.  The UI is pretty simple, so I've listed it all below. (Simon Murphy might like it... it doesn't have a Ribbon.  😉 )
The initial Menu in the viewer screen includes:

  • Close File
  • Edit
  • File (with Save As and Send... as options)
  • Go To
  • Find
  • About

So naturally, I'm heading into Edit mode.  In here, I have two menus.  The left soft key gives me a View menu including:

  • Full Screen
  • Cell Text
  • Overview
  • Freeze Panes
  • Zoom (with a 5 presets from 50% to 150% in 15% increments)
  • Sheet (with each sheet listed)

The right soft key gives me a "Menu" menu with the following:

  • Close File
  • Preview
  • File (Save As & Send...)
  • Edit (Cell Text, Clear Cell, Define Name, Delete Cells, Cut, Copy, Paste)
  • Insert (Row, Column, Shift Right, Shift Down)
  • Select (Cells, Columns, Rows, All)
  • Tools (Sort, Find, Go To)
  • Undo
  • Redo

And that's it for menus, folks.  What surprised me here was that Define Name was part of the selection.  The rest all make sense to me, but I see Define Name as more of a developer command than a user command. I guess it is logical though, as it could be used with Go To since the device has such a small screen.

I'll admit that I found the inital View screen weird, as it was full screen, and none of the formulas showed, but rather only the results.  Once you get in to edit the sheets, though, you can see the formulas.

Creating content is clunky, but then it isn't really surprising given the device, I guess.  To enter anything in a cell, you need to click the centre navigation button to get into Edit mode, then you have to manually type (on the tiny keyboard) your entire formula or data.  There is no arrowing over one cell in a formula... you have to write in the whole thing one keystroke at a time.  Maybe it will get easier in time as I get better with the keyboard, I don't know.

At any rate, it's not set up for full development, but then we knew that.  I was able to set up a pretty basic spreadsheet to track how many kilometers I get vs how many litres of fuel I used since the last fill for my car though.  So it does work.

I'd have to say that I wasn't expecting much, truly, so am pretty happy with what is there.  The lack of ability to create a new file is a pretty big oversight though.  Hopefully they'll fix that at some point.
I just think it's pretty cool to tell people I have Excel on my phone.  They usually nod and smile and say "Of course you do, Ken".  🙂

8 thoughts on “Office Mobile

  1. It depends on the phone. For WIndows Mobile SmartPhone edition you can only read files. In Windows Mobile Pocket PC you can create files as well. Basically it depends on the screen and input.

  2. I have mobile 5 on a Treo 700wx. When I run Excel it shows a file listing to open files. It also shows "New" as a soft menu left button option with "Menu" on the right. These are not part of the file screen. They are on the bottom of the screen.

    Also, you can't open password protected Excel files.

  3. Hi guys,

    I seem to be a hybrid, of sorts. When I open Excel Mobile, I have to choose an existing file from my system. I've checked every available menu and the soft keys, but no luck in creating a file. I can certainly edit them, though, and even save one as a copy.

    It seems weird to me that it would depend on the phone. Isn't that kind of like making the features in the full Excel dependent on the OS? (Language aside.)

  4. Hi,

    I just got the HTC diamond with microsoft mobile 6 installed. I've created a file using Excel Mobile and transfered it to my laptop and tried to open it but my Microsoft Works Spreadsheet was'nt able to open it giving me an error the file format was not supported. I tried the reverse by creating a file using Works Spreadsheet, saved it as an Office Excel format, transfered it to my HTC and tried to open it but I was given and error as well...

    Does anyone know what the problem is???

  5. Hi George,

    Sorry, I can't help you on this one. I haven't used Works in about... oh... 15 years or so. Hopefully someone else will comment that does.

  6. Hi,

    I'm suprised that your using Office Mobile as its very limited and has a nasty habit of stripping all the good stuff out to leave a very basic version of what you started with. There is a good and fairly cheap alternative available by SoftOffice. I do recommend it.

    I'd like to help with your query to George, but i've never used Works.

  7. Honestly, I'm using it in a very limited way, partly because that's about all it's good for. Pretty much the only regular use I have for it, beyond a viewer, is to track the mileage for my car.

    I might use it more if it wasn't so painful enter numbers (go figure, but it want's to default to text, so I have to "function" EVERY number I enter.) It also irks me that it loses it's freeze panes settings when you close the file. The screen isn't that big, after all.

    Despite it's shortcomings, it's adequate for my purposes. I certainly wouldn't pay for a replacement, based on how much I currently use what I have.

  8. Hello There,
    Hello Everyone,
    I am trying to carry the operation described at this link:

    http://www.microsoft.com/nz/windowsmobile/help/pocketpc/excelmobile.mspx

    Heading ‘Refer to a cell or range in a formula'

    Does anyone have the problem of not being able to refer to a cell in excel mobile, for example you wish to insert a cell reference into another cell
    EG when you are building a formula and you want to tap a cell and then appear your cell reference? Well my excel on an HTC diamond will not do it

    Nor will it refer to a cell from another work sheet, IM 100% that it is to do with predictive text (which I turned off however I’m have no luck)
    Thanks for any help

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