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Android Support for Office 365

Although you might think that a Windows Mobile device is needed in order to use Office 365, that couldn't be further from the truth. We decided to test Office 365 on a number of mobile phones to see how it worked with the respective operating systems/browsers. In this article, we examine how an Android-based phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note, measured up when working with the SharePoint components.

At first log on to the Office 365 Portal, the Android-based phone showed the Welcome Screen and a variety of options, one of which is All Site Content. When All Site Content is tapped, a screen that is divided into three sections appears:

  • Company Configured SharePoint components
  • Document libraries
  • SharePoint subsites Navigation components - Site Home, Search and Log Out

The first two sections shown are dependent on what had been configured in SharePoint. For example, the main site had been configured to display graphically:

Announcements, Calendar, Links, SharePoint Site Officers and Tasks, the mobile version displayed these in text format as shown in the photograph on the left. The middle section displayed was the default Office 365 setup.

The phone's stylus was used to tap on the various options shown in the list and the Android OS responded well when viewing the Announcements, Calendar, Links, SharePoint Site Officers and Tasks.

One important benefit of using mobile phones is the ability to quickly see and collaborate on important documents without the need to carry a bulky, heavy laptop. When the shared documents option was tapped, a list of documents was displayed.

In the photograph, there were too many documents to be shown in the screen. To locate a specific document, users can scroll through the documents or use a filter mechanism which appears before the list of documents. Using the filter option, a user can search for:

  • specific documents
  • all documents that contain a specific word or
  • documents with a specific extension such as .xlsx

At the end of the document list, there are five navigation options:

Detailed View - Displays all content with date created and document author name.

All Site Content - Displays a list of all SharePoint configured components.

My Site - Displays a list of components for the user's personal setup.

Search - Enables a user to search different parts of the site for a specific document.

Home - Returns the user to the initial logon screen.

Search is more powerful than the Filter option, as it enables the user to select which part of the Office 365 site should be searched. When the results are returned, the Search option will display the first line of the content and ask whether the search should be narrowed down for a specific type of content (e.g. all Excel, all Word or all PowerPoint). Tapping any content with the stylus allowed the content to be viewed.

From a navigation and usage perspective, Android was more than capable of using the SharePoint capabilities of Office 365. In further articles, we will see how Android-based phones cope with viewing and editing using the various Office 365 Web Apps.