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I tried Microsoft Office on my Quest 3 and came away disappointed

Office is the go-to suite of tools for many people when it comes to documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Working on a small laptop screen may be difficult, but Microsoft collaborated with Meta to provide owners of the great new Quest 3 with a viable option to work in VR.

I previously attempted to get serious work done for a week with my Quest Pro and, more recently, as a laptop replacement with the speedier Quest 3. In each case, there were issues that could only be rectified by wirelessly connecting my VR headgear to a computer, thereby turning it into a display replacement.

I gave it another shot since that Microsoft offers official Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications on the Meta Quest Store to see how much I could do in my VR.

Word on Quest 3

Word is Microsoft’s industry-leading document editor, which has been improved over decades to provide all I could possible desire and more. The majority of that quality shows through in Quest 3, although some essential aspects are absent. Most importantly, I am unable to cut, copy, and paste text using hand-tracking. I tried again with a controller, but it again did not work.

Meta is not to blame for this situation. I can use the clipboard by holding down a button and selecting from the contextual pop-up menu when I access a social network page in the Quest browser. After numerous attempts, I briefly saw Word’s context menu, but it vanished before I could utilize it.

Because there are other ways to handle things in Word, I tried the Home menu, which has clipboard controls. I could copy but not paste since a popup required me to install an extension. In the Quest browser, this is not feasible, leaving only one option.

I finally gave up, shaking my head at Microsoft and Meta, and linked a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. These are not VR apps; rather, they are online apps that have not been fully transferred to the Quest 3.

The best method to perform serious work is still with a real keyboard. That simplified everything. I could copy with Ctrl-C and paste with Ctrl-V. Shifting while touching the arrow keys quickly selects text.

I have tried pairing a mouse, but the program ignores right clicks. When dragging to choose text, there is enough latency that keyboard selection is far more reliable. I see the gray highlight of Word at times, and the blue of the Quest browser at others. It’s almost as if the two systems are battling for dominance, which explains the latency.

I may accept text recommendations using a Bluetooth keyboard and pick spelling and grammatical changes with the arrow keys. Because the on-screen keyboard only displays letters, numbers, and symbols, adding convenience functions is difficult, if not impossible.

Text formatting, margin adjustments, and photo adding all operate as planned. I can type comfortably, so I gladly clacked away while appreciating the enormous virtual touchscreen at the ideal viewing height without looking below.

The Quest dock contains a button that allows you to transition to a larger window that looks further away. Even though my fingers seldom leave the keyboard, I prefer the touch option.

Microsoft Office

Since I was feeling a little happier with the process, I tried another long shot — printing. The File menu has a Print command, but my Quest 3 couldn’t connect to a printer. The only option was to open a PDF. I could save the PDF, but it would be just as easy to open the file on a phone or computer to print.

Excel on Quest 3

When I use Excel on a Quest 3, I can work in the mines of Moria.

Excel was far more tolerable. Copy and paste function without the need of Bluetooth devices. In a pop-up notice, I just had to grant clipboard access.

In Word, the same option should be accessible. I contacted Microsoft to raise notice of the clipboard problem. The response advised me to use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, but also mentioned that the developers will consider a future update to address this issue.

Everything I attempted in Excel worked, albeit it took more effort at times. Because right-clicks do not operate, extra trips to the toolbar and menus are required.

Microsoft Office

Selecting many cells using hand-tracking or a controller is simple, but with a mouse, it was curiously complex. I didn’t waste time attempting to print, but I did experiment with formatting, calculations, text style, and adding color to columns.

Excel is functional enough to be useful. It won’t replace my desktop computer and monitor, but the large virtual display is easier on the eyes than a laptop screen’s limited size.

PowerPoint on Quest 3

Microsoft Office

PowerPoint performs admirably in virtual reality. Inserting information and decorating it is more important than typing when creating a slideshow. After granting the program access, the clipboard functions properly, allowing me to cut and paste as needed.

Transitions and animations function normally. I can draw freehand and make remarks. However, hand-tracking in the app is sluggish, so it’s best to utilize prefabricated shapes or import drawings done elsewhere.

Presentation mode looks like a large, crisp projection screen on a dark background, a good simulation of a corporate or stage presentation.

I rarely use PowerPoint, but I did like it on the Quest 3.

Office for Quest 2 and Quest Pro

Microsoft Office programs do not need a Quest 3. The same applications function on Meta’s Quest 2 from 2020 and the Quest Pro from 2022. Because the Quest 3 has a significantly faster Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 CPU, some functionality may be slow on these older headsets.

The pop-up box for spelling and grammatical correction, for example, delayed somewhat on my Quest Pro but appeared normal on a Quest 3. Perhaps this is why Microsoft did not offer Office applications in 2022, when Meta released the work-focused Quest Pro.

Not ready for prime time

The Microsoft Office apps for the Meta Quest platform are just online programs with no discernible modifications for usage in virtual reality. I can obtain a similar experience by opening Microsoft 365 in the Quest browser, which was an option last year.

Actually, the browser version is superior since it allows me to utilize three windows with numerous tabs and any website. With the Office applications, each app has only one tabbed window.

Meta takes considerable attention in optimizing programs and designs for virtual reality. Microsoft does not appear to have made that attempt. It should be at least as nice as Office on an Android phone, but it isn’t.

In the future, I’d want to see Microsoft prioritize VR-specific controls, optimization, and testing. For the time being, I cannot suggest Microsoft Word on the Quest platform. Excel offers a superior implementation, although it is still inconvenient. PowerPoint works decently in VR, but presentation mode takes use of the enormous virtual screen.

If you want to use Microsoft Office on your Meta Quest 3, connect to a PC or Mac via Horizon Workrooms or Immersed so you can access the full feature set of these top productivity apps, take advantage of several large virtual screens, and use any input method you want: hands, controllers, keyboard, and mouse.

Achraf Grini
Achraf Grini
Hello This is AG. I am a Tech lover and I have long been a promoter and editor for a shopping company, I have followed smartphones and headphones and others. I covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.
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