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April 10, 2021

How to create a complete Microsoft experience on Android

Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform can also efficiently be dead at this factor, however, do not depression: You can still get an extremely good Microsoft revel in on your cellular device. You simply ought to appear to an unlikely bedfellow.

With Windows Phone (a.Ok.A. Windows 10 Mobile) out of the picture, Microsoft is devoting an ever-growing amount of strength to developing its personal mini-platform inside Google’s Android atmosphere. And given Android’s great flexibility and customization ability, that opens the door to some pretty compelling possibilities.

With the right set of apps, in truth, you can essentially create a Windows-centric surrounding on any Android device — with the whole lot of the offerings you like to the phone-to-PC concord you crave.

Here are the substances and the steps to get started.  Home display
The middle of your Android setup is your own home display — and the app that’ll flip it into a hub on your Microsoft-Android revel in is the aptly named Microsoft Launcher.

On the floor, Microsoft Launcher has the equal varieties of functions you may locate in different Android launchers — the everyday equipment for customizing your private home display screen’s look, growing gesture-based shortcuts, and so on. But beyond that, it provides a healthy dose of Microsoft into the mixture, with Bing-powered seek (via default), one-faucet access to Cortana, and distinguished placement of endorsed Microsoft apps.

To the left of the principal home screen panel, meanwhile, sits Microsoft’s take on the Google Feed — a card-based series containing gadgets which include information, climate, agenda data, and brief glances at your notes, duties, and current documents from the ideal Microsoft offerings. You may even ship a file directly from there to your PC and feature it pop up immediately the use of the incorporated “Continue on PC” option, furnished your laptop has the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update established.

Microsoft Launcher on Android JR Raphael / IDG
The Microsoft Launcher’s primary domestic display panel and feed.
Missing the Windows Phone look? Try SquareHome 2. The launcher — which isn’t always definitely advanced by means of Microsoft — emulates the tile-centric “Metro UI” from the Windows Phone platform. You’ll sacrifice the tight integration with Microsoft services provided by means of the reputable Microsoft Launcher, however in case your telephone’s interface is a pinnacle priority, you may just be glad about the tradeoff (even supposing handiest for an occasional bit of weekend nostalgia).

SquareHome 2 Windows Phone launcher JR Raphael / IDG
A flavor of Windows Phone on Android via the SquareHome 2 launcher.
Notifications and sports
For full PC-to-telephone synchronization, you will need to make sure to hyperlink your Android phone to Windows by means of following the stairs within the Phone section of your computer’s Windows 10 settings (assuming you have got the Fall Creators Update). You’ll additionally need to get the standalone Android Cortana app, which has plenty of overlap with the Microsoft Launcher, however, presents a chain of controls in its settings that’ll allow your telephone’s notifications appear for your PC. That’ll permit you to acquire and reply to texts and even see missed calls right from the Windows 10 Action Center.

There’s extra to come on this the front, too: Microsoft is on the brink of freeing a brand new Windows update it really is anticipated to feature a slew of sparkling PC-to-phone connectivity features. A thing known as Timeline will shop snapshots of your development in exceptional apps and then allow you to pick up precisely where you left off on different devices — starting in your desktop after which transferring for your smartphone, for example, or vice versa. Another expected detail would create a cloud clipboard that’d let you copy text on one tool and then paste it on every other.

That update, believed to be dubbed “Spring Creators Update,” is predicted to arrive by means of April.

Download Microsoft Edge. The cross-platform browser will give you a decidedly Microsoft-like framework for internet browsing — one which’ll be relatively steady out of your mobile device on your computing device computer.

Like the launcher, Edge makes it clean to move content among your phone and PC (assuming, once more, that your laptop has the Fall Creators Update). Beyond that, it robotically syncs your records, favorites, and reading list — a built-in gadget for saving articles to read later — so you can seamlessly circulate between extraordinary devices.

Microsoft’s OneDrive is built into Windows 10 — and with a couple of taps, it can be built into your Android tool, too. Grab the OneDrive app and have easy continually-synced get right of entry to in your documents, no matter wherein you may roam.

Office apps
Microsoft’s Office apps on Android have come to a long manner. These days, the Android versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are absolutely featured, polished and first-rate to use. Plus, if you’re already dwelling in Microsoft’s universe, they’ll give you a totally regular revel in with your desktop-primarily based software and assist you to work in your documents from any tool without the want for conversions or adjustments.

(Note that you’ll need an active Office 365 subscription so that you can utilize all of the apps’ features — and to use them in any respect for modifying on any large-screen cellular gadgets.)

Don’t neglect, too, that Outlook and OneNote are both available on Android. If you are using both software on your Windows computer, you may probably admire having it on your Android cellphone.

Assistant (anywhere)
Cortana is part of Microsoft’s Android launcher, however, a launcher is relevant only whilst you’re on your real home display screen. With a quick go to for your device’s settings, you could set Cortana to function your tool’s default assistant — and accordingly be available via the same systemwide instructions normally occupied by means of Google Assistant (which include pressing and maintaining your Home key, on many Android gadgets).

Start by starting the Apps section of your machine settings, then scrolling down till you notice the line categorized “Default apps.” (You would possibly first tap a line categorized “Advanced” to get that to appear.) Tap “Assist & voice input,” then tap “Assist app” and pick out Cortana — the only with a microphone in its icon — from the list.

And there you’ve got it: Microsoft’s soft-voiced digital lady will be at your beck and get in touch with, wherever and each time you want her.

Microsoft Cortana on Android JR Raphael / IDG
With a couple brief adjustments, Cortana let you anywhere in Android.
Want to use Cortana by default without installing the Microsoft Launcher? Make positive you have the standalone Microsoft Cortana app mounted, then comply with the same steps defined above, however, pick the Cortana with a circle in its icon. The standalone Cortana app also has alternatives for creating a floating Cortana button that’ll seem on your own home screen and lock display, ought to such possibilities intrigue you.

Got a current Samsung Galaxy cellphone? If you want to remap that silly Bixby button so it’s going to pull up Cortana, try the third-birthday party Bixby Button Remapper app. It’s unfastened with an elective $2.99 in-app improve that’ll let you hold the button from being pressed via the accident at the same time as your smartphone’s to your pocket.

Make your lifestyles a bit simpler and permit your smartphone function the important thing on your Windows 10 computer with the Microsoft Authenticator app. The authenticator can act as a regular two-factor authentication code generator, however, it additionally has the potential to will let you keep away from coming into your Microsoft password totally and rather authorize access to your pc really by way of unlocking your smartphone and approving a notification.

The feature is to be had most effective for non-public Microsoft money owed.

Other odds and ends
The apps and methods above are the most massive portions of the Microsoft-Android puzzle, however, Microsoft has a handful of other noteworthy offerings that is probably really worth you’re whilst:

Use Microsoft Photos at home? Microsoft’s Photos Companion presents a manner to switch pics and movies out of your phone directly to your PC using Wi-Fi.
If you discover yourself needing to scan physical files or whiteboards regularly, Microsoft’s Office Lens app is up to the undertaking. It’ll crop and easy up such snapshots and shop ’em as PDFs, Word documents, or PowerPoint documents — in OneNote or OneDrive or even simply in your device’s own local storage.

Craig Bowen

Certified alcohol practitioner. Professional writer. Pop culture fanatic. Student. Explorer. Music scholar. Lifelong creator. Managed a small team developing strategies for puppets in Suffolk, NY. Spent high school summers building toy soldiers in Africa. Spent the better part of the 90's getting my feet wet with magma in Africa. Practiced in the art of writing about heroin in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Earned praised for my work lecturing about bagpipes in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Spent several months working on heroin for farmers.

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