Call it Office 13, Office 15, Office 2013, The New Office, Office 365, or just plain Office. I know many are confused as to what they will call the latest version of this popular productivity software. Many people who are still stuck to Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 may wonder what is in store for them once they make the leap to the new service.
Enough with the Clicks! Just touch me!
The first thing you would need to know about the new software is that this is optimized for Windows 8. The Metro style ribbons and large touch friendly interface will work well on a device that will no longer rely solely on the i nput of a mouse. That said, the mouse input is still there and operates just like the previous versions. While there have been touch screen PCs before, there was no touch based gestures then, unlike what we will experience from now on.
Hop on and ride the Cloud!
The online features that have been introduced since Microsoft Office 2010 are back on the new Office 2013. It seems the tech world is intent at making cloud computing the future of everything. Microsoft Office can now sync and link with popular social networks, such as Facebook and Google+. SkyDrive will be your dear friend on the road if you plan to run on Microsoft’s integrated systems of PC, Tablet and Phone using the unified Windows 8.
A marketplace built for the Office
The new Microsoft Office involves new “App store”. Many meet these news with raised eyebrows wondering why productivity software like Office would need an app store. The first impression to that Office 2013 will not have everything you used to have in it, and would require you to pay more to get more services. This may or may not be the case, but as Microsoft explains it, they plan to add more features and add-ons to the already full powered Office 13. It still does not answer the fear, but rest assured that we will keep an eye out for it.
Can you write the letter W?
It would seem that actual writing will make a comeback, as the new Office provides the ability called “Inking” which allows the user to write using a stylus in their creation of documents and presentations. Those of us who simply hate to write manually will find this feature rather useless, although there might be people who might use it simply for the novelty of the idea. In my honest opinion, there is still no substitute for the trusty Keyboard when making large presentations and documents. Still, this will be a handy feature for presentations that require illustrations directly made from Microsoft Office.
Lync up with me
Microsoft added a new feature called Lync which, along with the new version of One note, will be the touch-centric apps focused on Windows 8 touch system. Lync allows you to link up with your friends, family and office mates to collaborate on projects or simply communicate. The integration of Skype is an indication that they want to replace the need for instant messenger clients and keep everything work related focused on the new Office.
Did you change your hair?
Many of the changes to the Microsoft Office programs are mainly aesthetic. They simply optimized existing options and links to work well with tablet sized screens and touch input with the exception of Lync and One Note, which look like they were designed for Windows 8. While there are still plenty of things that they added, the familiarity experienced on first usage is the main selling point of their products which businesses all over the world prefer. The functional changes include optimizations as well as internet based functions such as the weather widget available on Outlook as well as an all new reading mode for quick review of you documents. It is certain that you will not get lost in this version of Microsoft Office as most of the stuff you know and love is here to stay for now.
When will my XP get it?
I know that people like saying never say never, but this really is a NEVER moment. Microsoft plans to retire the XP operating system soon and just maintain Windows 7 and Windows 8 support. Yes, there is also no Vista support. I bet that if they could, they would only support Windows 8 and nothing more. Microsoft has been keen about moving everyone to Windows 8 to be able to complete their grand plan of full integration between Windows powered devices.
So now what?
It is entirely up to you whether you are planning to move on to the new Microsoft Office 2013. Unless you plan to move on to a touch PC or tablet, there is not much sense in jumping the gun right now. Some would argue that the design does not look well for Windows 7, so it would only be necessary to update to the new one if you are planning to move on to Windows 8. This makes sense, as the overall aesthetic changes matches more with the Windows 8 Metro style compared to the Windows 7 Aero.
Image sources: geeky-gadgets.com, pcmag.com, news.cnet.com, cultofmac.com, slashgear.com