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Daily App: Office Remote Might Be Perfect For The Job

Office Remote is the only remote control tool made by Microsoft specifically for Office.

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There are lots of ways to control a PC from a smartphone, but Office Remote for Windows Phone is the only one developed by Microsoft specifically for Office, and it's just the right tool for the job, provided the situation falls into a few narrow categories.

Office Remote runs on Windows Phone 8 and higher, and works only with Office 2013 for Windows. It does not work with earlier Office versions nor with Windows RT. The computer being controlled must have Bluetooth and the Microsoft Desktop Add-in installed, which also installs the .NET 4.5 Framework, if not already present.

Once all the required software is in place, the next step is to pair the device running Windows Phone with the PC (ours was already paired). When opening a document to be presented, we noticed that the Microsoft Desktop Add-in had inserted an "Office Remote" tab. We activated remote capabilities by clicking on this tab and selecting "Turn on" from the office Remote menu. We selected a PowerPoint document to present.

[Related: 10 Remote Control Apps You Can Use Right Now]

We launched the Office Remote app on the device, and the PowerPoint document we opened for presentation appeared. Tapping on its name brings up a thumbnail of the presentation along with oversized buttons for advancing slides and a smaller one for rewinding.

At the bottom are buttons for tiling the thumbnails, which provide direct access to any slide, speaker notes and a simulated laser pointer (shown) controlled using a fingertip. Other prompts on the remote include a slide counter and timer showing minutes and seconds. A recent update to the tool improves laser pointing and adds a next-slide preview feature and the ability to play and pause embedded audio and video files.

When controlling Excel files, Office Remote can scroll up and down and zoom in and out of the current spreadsheet, can change sheets by swiping on the device and displays any named object in a workbook.

In Word, Office Remote makes it easy to scroll up and down by page or line, zoom in and out and jump to headings and comments. If presenting documents made with Office 2013 is the stock in trade, then Office Remote is worth a try.

PUBLISHED JAN. 16, 2015

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