I bought my first iPad with the aim of editing my Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations on it – perhaps even meaning that I could jettison my laptop in the process. However, I was surprised to learn that there isn’t yet an official Microsoft Office app for it. Fortunately, there are a number of third party apps, and, Microsoft is planning to launch its own Office iOS app shortly. The original and long-expected iOS version of Microsoft Office may be released, according to a report by the Verge, at the end of February or in early March 2013. A Microsoft spokesperson told the Verge, "Office will work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android." Office Mobile will be free for iOS devices, and will let you view documents on your device if you have a Microsoft account. However, to edit them you have to subscribe to Microsoft’s own Office 365 cloud service. It'll be compatible with Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents, and you'll be able to subscribe to it from within the apps. The famous blogger Eric Eckel says that we are living in a cloud-centric world where users are juggling multiple devices and working on the same files using all of them so the compatibility is the glue that makes it all work. So, of course, millions of us are waiting for the Microsoft Office App for iOS to arrive! Currently, there are lots of applications which allow users to create, edit and delete their Office documents, either for a certain amount of money, or for free. If you search for “Microsoft Office” in the App Store you’ll find several worthy apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, OneNote, Lync, Office Mobile and Documents. Here are just a few options that are now available in the App Store, as we wait for Microsoft Office for iOS to arrive: OneNote One app that has been launched by Microsoft is OneNote, which is available in just the USA and the UK. You can take notes with it, but if you want to read or edit Office documents, you need another app. It is a basic application, and is suitable for capturing ideas and notes and sorting out your to do list which you can then synchronize with your laptop. Lync Another app produced by Microsoft is Lync, which is suitable for businesses and organizations. This app helps you to stay connected, communicate, and conference while you are in the move. Quickoffice Pro In comparison with OneNote, this app allows you to open and edit .doc and .docx Word documents. Quickoffice is linked with cloud services, so you can redeem files from SharePoint. Documents To Go This complex app permits you to create, edit and read Microsoft Office documents, in the Microsoft formats used from 2008 onwards. You can read PDF documents too, and synchronize your files from your iPhone, iPod or iPad to your Mac or PC laptop. CloudOn The most famous and used app is CloudOn. I found it a while ago, in my attempt to find a suitable Microsoft Office App. I tested it and then I forgot about it. But when I received an email from iTunes at the end of December, announcing the release of the latest version of the app, I decided to give it a proper go. It supports the iPhone, the iPod touch, the iPad and the iPad mini and it permits you to create, open, read, write and edit Office documents. You can use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and you can access images with Adobe Reader and File Viewer, or any type of file, including PDF, JPG, PNG and GIF. All the documents will be automatically saved, so you won’t lose any data. You can store your saved documents in Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. A new feature of this app is FileSpace – this way you can track a particular file, see real-time updates and add notes with other details. And best of all, you can use it for free! As CloudOn CEO Milind Gadekar says, “next era of mobile productivity is just getting started”. With these fantastic apps already available, the new Microsoft Office iOS app will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd!