Friday, July 27, 2012

First Look at Microsoft Office 2013

It’s been nearly three years since software giant Microsoft advanced us technically with their software. Now they’re back with the preview of their latest version: Microsoft Office 2013.

The Microsoft Office 2013, also commonly referred to as Office 2013, follows the Microsoft Office 2010. As of July 16, 2012, it’s available for download.

The updated version of Microsoft Office 2013 means enhanced features in the following capacities:
  • Revamped interface based on the Metro App 
  • Additional capabilities with applications 
  • Better integration with the cloud 
  • Compatibility with tablets and touch devices
Here’s a breakdown of each of these enhancements:

Revamped Interface Based on the Metro App

The new interface for Microsoft Office 2013 is based on the Metro App – although it still runs on the desktop. Thus, expect a cleaner look minus the cluttered one associated with past user interfaces.

Additional Capabilities with Applications

Users who use PowerPoint to create presentations will now have more templates to choose from along with more transition effects. With the help of Bing’s image search function, graphics from the internet can now be easily inserted into PowerPoint. OneNote now allows you to capture screens and save them to your notebook. With automatic syncing to SkyDrive now being possible, OneNote is now accessible on other computers.

Excel has new a Quick Analysis tool. This new feature gives users suggestions on how to handle the data they’ve entered. For instance, Excel can suggest which chart will be best for your data, your formatting options, formulas you might be interested in inserting, and more. No more do you have to guess the right options for creating charts and tables – Office 2013 helps you!

Outlook’s Navigation Pane has been upgraded to take up less space in this latest Office version. Other improvements to Outlook include being able to search all folders and mail accounts in one single search. If you recall in previous Office versions, you had to search through all folders and mailboxes.

Microsoft Office 2013 enables you to peek at any of your Outlook features – thanks to the new "peek" feature installed in the navigation bar. Simply move your mouse over whatever you feature you want to view and a readable size of a thumbnail of what’s in it will appear. For example, if you move your mouse over an email, you can see what’s in it – minus it taking over the entire screen.

Word is essential in creating typed documents, and Office 13 only makes it even more so. This updated version of Word includes the ability to edit PDFs in Word – an impossible task in past versions of Word.

Microsoft even changed its Office Ribbon. The newest version looks flat with gray text on its command tabs. Clicking on the tab makes the text turn blue. Turned on by default, you can now make the Office Ribbon disappear. Simply click the full-screen icon, which is in the top upper right corner of the screen. Doing this leaves you with a screen showing only the content area – a plus for anyone easily distracted by Word’s interface.

Better Integration with the Cloud

Cloud users, rejoice. Similar to Windows 8, the Office 13 integrates with the cloud. After all, its new features are built around SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud-based storage service.

Direct links to SkyDrive are embedded in Microsoft Office 2013; thus, you can open any document on SkyDrive from inside any Office app with ease. Just as easily, you can save any document to SkyDrive.

It’s important to remember that files aren’t saved automatically from your local computer to SkyDrive. It’s up to you to save it on SkyDrive. Otherwise saving a document locally on your computer without saving it on SkyDrive disables you to open the document on another computer via SkyDrive.

Compatibility with Tablets and Touch Devices

Microsoft upped its effectiveness by making Microsoft Office 2013 usable to other electronic devices beyond the computer. Office 2013 is touch-enabled on phones and tablets. The only thing is the Office Ribbon must be in default (turned on) in order to touch commands.

When Office 2013 detects you’re in an area requiring text input, an on-screen keyboard will pop up. Don’t worry; this won’t be a nuisance. This screen only pops up at appropriate times.

Since Office 2013 has crossed over to other electronic devices, Microsoft decided to make it easier to view documents by creating Read Mode. With Read Mode, you can read horizontally – suitable for tablets.

The Availability of Microsoft Office 13

Microsoft Office 2013 is currently available only as a Customer Preview and is expected to be available late 2012 early 2013.

Overall, this is what you can expect from Microsoft Office 2013. With enhanced features that make our daily computing lives better, it’s basically a step in the right direction for Microsoft and most importantly, its daily users.

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