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How to snag yourself a copy of Microsoft Office for iPad

Microsoft Office finally arrived for Apple's iPad on Thursday, allowing full access for Office 365 members, and limited preview capabilities for non-subscribers.

"Microsoft is focused on delivering the cloud for everyone, on every device. It's a unique approach that centres on people — enabling the devices you love, work with the services you love, and in a way that works for IT and developers," Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO, said in a statement.

Anyone with an iPad running iOS 7 and above can download the new Office apps, but you'll need an Office 365 subscription to actually get any real work done. Here's how to get started.

1. Office for iPad is available as four separate iOS apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. All four apps are free to download, and users can also read, view, and present documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for free.

2. I downloaded the Microsoft Word for iPad app to try it out. Upon launching the app, it asked me to sign in using a Microsoft or Office 365 account, or create a new account. I went with an account I'd created a while back.

3. Once I was signed in, the app asked me to either "Buy Office 365 Home" or "View for Free."

4. Selecting the Office 365 option presents a menu where you can purchase a one-year Office 365 subscription for £80, which provides access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more, and lets you access your Office 365 account on up to five devices (including your iPad). Interestingly, this goes through the App Store, which means Apple is getting a 30 per cent cut of every Office 365 subscription purchased via the app.

5. Subscriptions, which provide a free 30-day trial, can also be purchased on Microsoft's website. If you don't want to commit to a whole year, meanwhile, you can opt for a month-to-month payment of £7.99 for Office 365 Home Premium. Office for iPad is also compatible with Office 365 subscriptions for Small Business Premium, Midsize Business, E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government), Education A3 and A4, and ProPlus. The new Office 365 Personal will also qualify when it becomes available later this spring.

6. If you have an existing Office 365 account and don't need to purchase it through the iPad app, tap "Buy Office 365 Home" and then scroll to the bottom of the next menu, to where it says "I already have a subscription."

7. With a subscription, you can edit and create documents. Non-subscribers can still access all the content uploaded to their OneDrive account, as well as shared documents; you just can't make any changes to these documents without an Office 365 subscription. But for quick reviews, it's easy enough; I uploaded a small Word document to OneDrive on the web and it showed up on the iPad app seconds later, allowing me to download and view.

8. If you want to upgrade a free account to Office 365 at any time, click the "Activate" option at the bottom left of the main menu.

We'll have a full review of Office for iPad soon. Until then, check out our review of Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium to see if it's worth the investment, as well as our Office 365 for iPhone review.