Available for both the Android and iOS versions of Dropbox, the integration between Office and Dropbox apps taps into the partnership announced in November of this year between the two companies. The latest feature allows Dropbox users to edit Office files right from the app. It also lets users running the mobile version of Office to directly access their Dropbox files, as explained in this Dropbox post.
Before this new partnership, user’s of Microsoft’s mobile apps could only store and access their files via OneDrive, Microsoft’s personal cloud-based storage service. Now the new merge opens up options for Dropbox users who don’t have OneDrive accounts. The partnership benefits users, but it also benefits Dropbox and Microsoft by expanding the number of potential users they can gain.
Before, Office mobile app users were unable to edit documents without a $6.99/month Office 365 subscription. Since their new partnership with Dropbox, Microsoft has changed the rules a bit so that users can create and perform basic editing tasks in the mobile apps for free.
For anyone who uses Dropbox and Microsoft Office on their Android or iOS device, this is how it works:
- First, make sure you’re running the latest version of Dropbox. If you’re operating on iOS, make sure your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are all up to date; for Android, make sure you have the latest version of Microsoft Office Mobile.
- Launch Dropbox on your mobile device and open any Microsoft Office file.
- The first time you open an Office file, Dropbox will point out a new Edit icon that will let you open the file in its native office app. Tap the icon.
- Dropbox will ask you if you want to open the file with its native app. Tap the name of the Office app.
- Next, you’re asked to grant permission for the corresponding app to access your Dropbox files and folder. When you tap the allow link the file will open in its native Office app.
- Now you can view and edit the file. Once you’ve finished editing, tap the Back button to exit the app and go back to Dropbox. You should see the changes you made in Dropbox.
There is a catch though. All of this works nice and smoothly for personal accounts (my own test run went great) but if you want to edit Office files using Dropbox for Business you’ll need one of the following Office 365 accounts:
- Business Premium
If you need more information about how to edit your Office files with Dropbox, check out this help page.