Code named “Office 15,” Microsoft unveiled a new addition to its family of Office products – Office 13 at an event in San Francisco. The customer preview version is available for free download for end users to try and test it on Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs. Once out of the testing phase, the product will be released for consumers to buy and will be made available in three editions – Office 365 Home Premium, Small Business Premium, and ProPlus.
The new Office 13 is designed and customized heavily based on the upcoming OS from Microsoft – Windows 8. Microsoft claims the Office 13 to be a “modern” version of the Office family, which is currently used by billions of users all over the globe. The product is integrated with a lot of new features, including cloud integration features, which is tightly integrated with SkyDrive enabling users to collaborate and carry their documents anywhere, and can be accessed from any smart device.
Along with the cloud integration, Microsoft has made Office 2013 social media friendly with the addition of social media tools, including Skype and Yammer, which it has acquired for $8.5 billion and $1.2 billion respectively. One notable thing about Skype integration is that Office subscribers will get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month.
Microsoft Office 2013 Features
Enhanced For Touch Devices
Office 2013 is not only designed to work best with Windows 8, but has been also heavily enhanced for touch devices. This is means that Office 2013 will work flawlessly on ARM-based Windows 8 devices including the PC-tablet Microsoft Surface. Microsoft says that Office 2013 responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse.
The pinch gesture or zoom can be done by simply swiping your fingers across the screen. Office 2013 is designed to recognize your handwritten emails, and convert them automatically to text. You can also use a stylus to create new documents, take notes, use as a laser pointer while presenting, and essentially access all of the features with it.
Microsoft has been heavily pushing its cloud service SkyDrive with more features. It has been integrating SkyDrive with all its currently existing products, and also incorporating it in its upcoming products. Once you’re singed signed in with your SkyDrive account, all your documents, templates, and settings can be synced across multiple devices which have Office 2013 installed.
That said, Office 2013 will remember the last paragraph read in a Word document, or the last slide viewed in a PowerPoint presentation. When users have some unfinished work left, or has not completed reviewing a document, they can continue reading and editing it on their Windows Phone 8 devices without any hassle.
John Jendrezak, partner group program manager in Office says, “We know that people work online and offline – internet connectivity should never be a barrier to productivity. These beliefs underlie our work in connecting Office to the cloud and shape our philosophy for the entire release.”
Real time collaboration is something that is much talked about in today’s world. Office 2013 offers collaboration features with which you can easily track the changes that each person makes. Thanks to the new addition called simple mark-up review.
When a document has been edited by another person, a red vertical line is placed towards the left margin, indicating that changes have been made. Clicking the vertical line will reveal you both the edit changes and the comments added by the person who edited it.
Edit PDF Files & Other Cool Features
One of the most significant feature in Office 2013 is you can edit PDF files. That is, with Office 2013, you can import a PDF directly into Word, edit it as a Word doc, and then save it as either a Word doc or a PDF. With that, you can retain the original formatting in the PDF, including the headers and footnotes. You can also embed a PDF in a word document.
Yet another cool feature that Microsoft has added in the Office 2013 is the ability to connect to online tool and integrate them with your documents. For instance, you can use Microsoft’s search engine Bing to search media content like videos within Word itself, and embed the HTML code for that media content in your document.
You can easily embed your online photo collection in your document, if you linked your SkyDrive account to your Flickr account, or any other photo sharing site that supports SkyDrive linking.
Adding screenshots is a lot easier from an app running on your Windows 8 PC. All you need to do is navigate to Insert and select Screenshot. In the window that opens up, thumbnails of every window that is open on your desktop will be visible. Simply click on the desired thumbnail and it will be inserted in your document.
Like the previous versions, you can select a media and move it around the document. However, in Office 2013, when you move the media in the document, the text automatically formats and rearranges itself around it in real time.
It is interesting to note that all of the above mentioned features can be done without you having to leave Office 2013.
Office 2013 Editions
The complete features and price of the Microsoft Office 213 will be announced in the fall. However, Ballmer has revealed that Office 2013 will ship in three different edition, each higher edition offering better features than the lower editions.
- Office 365 Home Premium – this edition is useful and is designed for families and consumers. Some of its services include an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month.
- Office 365 Small Business Premium – as the name says, it is designed for small businesses and organizations. It includes business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD web conferencing.
- Office 365 ProPlus – the highest in the editions and comprises of all the features Office 2013 has to offer. It is designed for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities and the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.
Download Office 2013 Consumer Preview
You can find more features of Microsoft Office 2013 on this page. In our next post, we will come up with a detailed review and analysis of Office 2013 with better screen shots.
Microsoft has made the consumer preview version of Office 2013 available for downloads the day it announced it. Office 2013 can be downloaded from here. In order to download it, you will have to sign in using your Hotmail, or Windows Live account.
In case you want the direct download links, then here it is: