How is Office for iPad Licensed?

Some questions are flying around the net at the moment. Is Office for iPad free? How do I buy Microsoft Office for iPad? Which Office 365 plans include Office for iPad? Let’s answer them all here.


Is Office for iPad Free?

Yes, but ..

This is what we would call Free-mium software. You can quite happily download Microsoft Office for iPad from iTunes without paying a penny. And the four products will allow you to view/present your documents … and nothing more.

To create or edit content you will need to pay for a suitable Office 365 plan, which you can buy online or in a retail store (basically a key code).

How do I buy Microsoft Office for iPad?

You will need to buy a suitable Office 365 plan. Right now, those plans allow for 5 installs on PCs & Macs, and 5 installs on tablets. A new Personal plan will allow for 1 install – I don’t know the precise details but I suspects one install on PC/Mac and one on tablet.

Which Office 365 plans include Office for iPad?

As stated by Microsoft, the plans are:

  • Office 365 Home
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office 365 Midsize Business
  • Office 365 E3 (Enterprise and Government)
  • Office 365 E4 (Enterprise and Government)
  • Office 365 Education A3
  • Office 365 Education A4
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 University
  • Office 365 Personal – when it becomes available later this spring

Basically, if the Office 365 plan includes Office for install on PC/Mac, then it includes Office for iPad. Microsoft has been hinting this since Office 365 was launched. Most of the Microsoft media talked about the following text from the plans comparisons site back then, suggesting that touch versions of Office for cross-platforms was coming:


So my advice: if there’s any chance that your users/customers will require office on cross platform devices, then buy an M plan (medium biz) or an E3/E4 plan (larger biz or fully featured). Or choose the appropriate education plan or consumer plan for those markets.

BTW, the education plans are REALLY attractive to institutions now. Associate with and talk to a cloud distributor to learn more.

Note that if you did buy an E1 plan then you can upgrade to an E3 or E4 plan. If you bought Small Business then you have lots of options.


I was talking with the Office 365 licensing guru of Ireland, Nicole Sheridan of MicroWarehouse, tonight about this topic and she corrected me on something. Customers can only upgrade their plan if they bought direct (MOSPA). Upgrades are not available via other channels.


If you obtain your Office for iPad licensing via a non-commercial plan, i.e. Home or Personal, then you may not use that license for commercial work. Doing so is a breach of the terms of licensing (you need a  license upgrade). BTW CIOs, this is impossible to audit.

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