Add handwritten notes in Polaris Office on Galaxy Note devices

Sometimes only so much explaining can be done with text on the screen. Adding a handwritten drawing or diagram can help pull together and solidify an idea. This is especially true when you're following along on a document that was given to you, like a business plan or notes for a class.

Polaris Office works with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF files. When using this app on a Galaxy Note series device, you can use the included S Pen to draw directly in your documents. Here's how:

First, open a document or presentation in Polaris … Read more

Pirate trolling and WWDC scholarships: The Week in Downloads

Every week, we compile the best new reviews, products, and features from the software catalog and blog, package them up in a tidy little newsletter, and e-mail it out to all of our lovely subscribers.

If you are a registered CNET member, you can sign up for the newsletter yourself (it's listed as "CNET Software Dispatch" under "Software News and Reviews"), or check back every Tuesday to read our latest roundup.

Top Download News and Features

Microsoft launches a public beta for its new Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 Game … Read more

Microsoft turns Forbes magazines into Wi-Fi hot spots

I have always believed that the old and the new can coexist with extreme joy.

Microsoft appears to believe this too.

In a promotion that melds the dying world of magazines with the living world of Wi-Fi, select copies of Forbes are enjoying a Wi-Fi router, which oozes 15 days of free Wi-Fi through T-Mobile.

This fetching gift was first noticed by someone on the Slickdeals forum -- handle BigMacG4 -- who wondered whether anyone else had been fortunate enough to be gifted this way.… Read more

Open Office to PDF Converter 1.0 Review

PDF files are much easier to send and read than your standard Open Office files. This app claims to convert your Office files into PDFs, but it does the bare minimum to live up to that name. In fact, Open Office to PDF Creator seems much more like a basic file viewer than anything else.

Most of Open Office to PDF Creator's navigation buttons are clouded by ads that take up the top and bottom of the screen. That really doesn't matter, since you can do most of the converting right from your file menu. Converting .odt files … Read more

Office Reader - .doc .ppt .xls 1.03 Review

If you're on a mission to have a fully mobile office, this app might seem like the answer to your quest. It offers to help you read Microsoft Office documents from any smartphone or tablet, but sadly, Office Reader is a massive disappointment as it offers limited functionality and is ad-infested.

This app only works with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but instead of letting you read the documents in their native format, Office Reader has to convert them to PDFs to display them. If you have a bigger file, that leads to a very long conversion process. It also … Read more

New Chrome extension can open Office docs

Direct browser support for Microsoft Office documents is coming in fits and spurts to Chrome. Google's latest effort is a portly extension for Chrome beta.

If you're running Google Chrome Beta on Windows or Mac, you can now install the Chrome Office Viewer. It will allow you to open links to Office files directly in the browser, a feature that was first announced with the Chromebook Pixel.

However, you're limited right now to merely viewing the files. To edit, you'll have to upload the file to Google Drive, or open it in Microsoft Office or another … Read more

Azure, Yammer help shape next-gen Microsoft Office

In a break from the past, Microsoft's Office team has begun working much more closely with other groups, especially the Windows Azure, SQL Server, and Windows Intune teams -- all of which are part of another business unit, Microsoft's Server and Tools Business.

"Before, we had to land in very complementary dates," explained Jeff Teper, corporate vice president of Office Servers and Services. "But now, if Azure has a new feature, we can say we'd like to do work around it." With services, "there's no magic date when a computer has … Read more

How Microsoft is shifting the Office trains into high gear

Microsoft's Office team has run like clockwork for at least the past decade. The 5,000 or so Office engineers delivered a new version of Office every two and a half to three years without fail.

But these days, two or three years between new product releases is considered an eternity. While it's all well and good for the trains to run on time, the trains need to run a lot faster. In addition, the various Office client, server, and services trains don't all need to be on the same schedule these days.

Microsoft's Office team … Read more

Microsoft's Q3 profits up despite PC market slump

In spite of declining PC sales and cautious chipmakers, Microsoft fared well in the third quarter.

The software giant reported third quarter revenue of $20.49 billion or 72 cents a share, missing analyst expectations on revenue by a fraction. Operating income was $7.61 billion while net income stood at $6.06 billion.

Wall Street expected Microsoft to report third quarter earnings of 68 cents a share on revenue of $20.5 billion. 

It's a bottom-line win, and a top-line loss.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said … Read more

SpeakText for Office FREE 20.0 Review

At first glance, SpeakText for Office FREE seems like a redundant app. It uses text-to-speech technology to read what is onscreen, either in the original language or translated. Of course, the iPad and iPhone come with text-to- speech software, so what purpose does this app have beyond centralizing it into a single space? For the most part, the text-to-speech functions are efficient, but the restrictions with the free version and high cost of the upgrade lessen this app's usefulness.

The free version of SpeakText for Office has limitations on the number of sentences you can have spoken or translated. … Read more