Microsoft Office 2013 Preview – First Look

It’s finally official, Microsoft Office 2013 has been announced and will probably release early next year. The last version of the world’s most used productivity was released 3 years ago and is starting to show it’s age. Microsoft’s new minimalism mantra introduced with the Metro interface is clearly visible in the upcoming Office 2013. It’s the biggest change to the Office suite ever. Everything is different yet strangely, familiar. The biggest change is probably the versions it will be available in. There’s the quintessential Office 2013 and there’s the new Office 365. Office 365 is basically the professional version of Office 2013 that will be subscription based instead of the usual single license retail version. Also, it will include a few more online services and will be more cloud based. Read on for more of the Office 2013 preview.

Microsoft Office 2013 Preview – What’s new?

Changes are both cosmetic (check out the new logo!) and internal. Office 2013 is finally making the leap to mobile devices and it will be available on tablets as well. Office 365 is the cloud based service, but even the desktop Office 2013 will be cloud integrated, although limited compared to the former. Now all documents will be linked across any Office 365 installations anywhere by linking your Microsoft Windows Live ID. By default, everything is stored on Microsoft’s SkyDrive. It makes transferring documents via portable storage media a thing of the past. Furthermore, even drafts of unfinished documents are saved periodically, so in case of a power outage or such the document is still safe! So what else is new? The Metro interface inevitably makes it’s way into Office 2013 and the UI is an extension of Microsoft’s new aesthetic. All the unnecessary tabs and buttons are now gone but the ribbon menu started with 2010 remains, although it can be hidden. The buttons are now more spaced out and have larger fonts, presumably for the touchscreen versions. Speaking of touchscreen differences, Microsoft has clearly designed the new Office with tablets and mobile devices in mind. A nice new feature is read mode, where users can turn a document into a book form to be viewed easily on mobile devices. However, documents cannot be edited and the book form is full screen.

Microsoft Office 2013 UI Now media integration and document sharing has also been made easier. YouTube videos can be directly embedded without having to actually save the clip and Flickr photos can be attached without any fuss too! Document sharing takes on a whole new meaning through SkyDrive, presentations and documents can be shared and edited with permissions by multiple people which is a great feature for teams and groups. Individual programs also get new features, like PowerPoint now has an option to show the  next slide in advance along with the present slide to the presenter while the screen facing the audience displays only the present slide. Excel gets a neat new feature called Flashfill that predicts data and fills cells automatically, for example formula calculations or templates in similar cells are predicted and filled automatically.

Microsoft Office 2013 Reading Mode

Last year, Microsoft bought out Skype and it will be integrated into the Office productivity network. Home Premium editions of Office will reportedly come with 60 Skype call minutes. This bodes well for the actual “productivity” in the namesake since video conferencing and on the fly editing are two extremely useful features. Microsoft also acquired a enterprise oriented social network called Yammer, so future integration with Office is definitely on the cards. Also, this time around, you will be able to view and edit PDF documents in Office itself. Apart from all the new features, Office is not much more….let’s say polished. There’s little visual flourishes, animations and effects even for mundane tasks like creating a table and it feels rather cool. Icons are also now glossy and overall almost everything has been changed to go with the new Metro look. We are pretty excited and really like this new interface. Installation is also now web based, so make sure you’re connected to the internet during installation.

Microsoft Office 2013 Preview – Editions and Requirements

As of now, no pricing details or release dates have been announced, but we do know the editions Office 365 will be coming out in:

  • Office 365 Home Premium: Includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher, 20 GB SkyDrive space and can be installed for 5 users.
  • Office 365 Small Business Preview: Adds “professional mail, shared documents and HD videoconferencing” to the previous edition and can be installed for 10 users.
  • Office 365 ProPlus Preview: Includes all of the above, adds InfoPath and Lync and can be installed for upto 25 users, 5 installations each.
  • Office 365 Enterprise Preview: Includes all of the above along with SharePoint online and Lync Online.

The system requirements are as follows:

  • 1 GHz Processor
  • 1 GB RAM for 32-bit OS and 2 GB RAM for 64-bit OS
  • 3.5 GB free space
  • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012

So there you have it, the next generation Microsoft Office 2013 preview. If you’re interested in trying out the consumer preview of Office 365,¬†click here to download it. Tough luck for Windows XP and Windows Vista users though, you can’t use Office 2013. You know what that means, it’s probably time for an upgrade! Please let us know your thoughts and comments below.

  1. sandip July 19, 2012
    • Rahul Gondane July 19, 2012
  2. vishal July 21, 2012
  3. Pavan Somu July 21, 2012
    • Rahul Gondane July 22, 2012

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