Monday, November 18, 2013

Working Office Remote (No that kind of remote...). The new Windows Phone app and Office Add-in that lets you remote control PowerPoint/Word/Excel

Office News - Introducing Office Remote

Today we're excited to announce Office Remote, a new app from Microsoft Research that turns your Windows Phone 8 into a smart remote allowing you to interact with Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365 documents on your PC. The app gives you the ability to control Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from across the room, so you can walk around freely during presentations.  To learn more about how the Office Remote app came to be, go to the Inside Microsoft Research Blog and then check out the Windows Phone Store to download and give Office Remote a try!

Inside Microsoft Research - Advance Your Presentation with Your Phone


Making a business presentation can be daunting. Interaction with the audience might require you to change the flow of your presentation by jumping to a different section in your PowerPoint presentation. Or you might want to show supporting evidence in an Excel or Word document. Either you’ve faced these challenges or you’ve seen somebody else address them, but you know the drill.

With Office Remote, a collaboration between Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Office engineering team, you can manage such modern presentation flows from the palm of your hand.


This all can be yours, starting Nov. 18, when the app becomes available for download from the Windows Phone Store. All you need is a Windows Phone 8 device, Office 2013 (all versions except Office 2013 RT), a Bluetooth-enabled PC, and the installation of a desktop add-in for Office Remote on your PC, available on the download site. Once thus equipped, all you need for a flawless presentation is to open the Office document you want to project, pick up your phone, and begin your pitch.


Indeed, the app, operated via convenient, touch-based control, takes full advantage of existing projectors, large-screen televisions, and Lync-meeting connections. Your Windows devices talk to each other to make things easier for you. As a result, you can show what you want when you want.
In addition, these intelligently connected devices enable you to present one experience on your PC while simultaneously controlling what you’re presenting from your phone.
Van Hoof mentioned the highlights of the Office Remote capabilities above, but those are not the only scenarios the app enables. Consider:

  • PowerPoint: Large, easily accessible buttons on the phone enable you to start a presentation, advance slides forward or backward, view thumbnails and jump to a particular slide, access speaker cues while viewing the presentation time and the progress of slides, and deliver accurate, non-shaky direction with the on-screen laser pointer.
  • Excel: Simple gestures enable jumping not just between spreadsheets and graphs, but also among any named objects. Spreadsheets can be changed with a mere finger swipe, and navigation is available through rows or columns. In addition, you can use PivotTables or filters and change zoom levels, all with an Office Remote-equipped phone.
  • Word: Zoom control is available in this application, as well, and Word docs can be scrolled by screen or by line.

The research component of this project, by Edge and John Ransier, technical program manager, enables deeper understanding of real-world presentation practices. Such work fits squarely into Edge’s research vision.


Office Remote represents just the first deep exploration in the productivity space into the realm of what Bill Buxton of Microsoft Research refers to as a “diverse society of devices,” where you use not only the right device for the task at hand, but, potentially, also use multiple devices together to make it easier to achieve your goals.
With the app ready for download, now it’s your turn to refine the process. Users can provide feedback on the website, which also includes a forum to provide answers to users’ questions. Let your voice be heard, and help make the presentation process better than ever.

For me, this just worked. It was pretty awesome paging through my deck via my phone. And seeing being able to see my slide thumbnails on the phone too was cool. This might become the cool dude presentation tool...

Now, I want to see an easy for guys like me toolkit to help us build this kind of functionality into my Desktop and Modern apps.

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