What's New in Microsoft Office 13?

Category: Software

Windows 8 is not the only radically different product coming from Microsoft. The company’s cash cow productivity suite is also getting a major revamp. Here are some of the new features you’ll find in Office 13...

Office 13: Do You Feel Lucky?

Microsoft Office 13 is slated for release this fall, along with Windows 8. But the ubiquitous office suite featuring Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access won't have the same look and feel as the Office 2010 that's currently in use. What will it look like? You can sign up for a preview of Office 2013 and see for yourself.

After the software is released, there will be two ways to obtain Office 13. You can buy it in a box for installation on a single PC, as usual. Or, you can rent it via an Office 365 subscription, paying a monthly fee that includes licenses for up to five devices. (See my related article What is Microsoft Office 365? for more about the online version of Office.) Office 365 will sync all of your data across all of your devices. Save your files to SkyDrive and they, too, will be synced to every device. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Microsoft Office 13

All Office apps are getting the Metro treatment, with simplified user interfaces that are optimized for touch screens. Early reviews indicate that the touch interface is more difficult than the traditional mouse-and-keyboard method, but apparently we’re expected to get used to that on tablets and smartphones. For more about Windows 8 and the Metro interface, see Windows 8: Will You Be Pleasantly Surprised?

Only Windows 7 and 8 will support Office 13; users of earlier Windows versions will have to stick with older versions of Office or upgrade to one of these operating systems. Office 13 will support third-party apps for the first time. One such app allows you to plot a Bing map in an email message, which could be helpful when trying to arrange a meeting.

Social networks are integrated into Office 13. You can connect LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and share Office documents to your contacts or your pages on those services. You can also share documents in live-collaboration or presentation modes.

More New Features in Office 13

Each module of Office 13 gains a number of new features, as well. Word can now import, edit, and save PDF documents. You can also embed online images and videos into Word documents, and a reader can play embedded videos. A system of gridlines will let you place objects anywhere in a document and text will flow around them. The Track Changes feature has been streamlined and cleaned up to make tracking revisions easier. Automatic bookmarking saves your place in a document and returns there when you re-open it on any device.

Excel has gotten easier for spreadsheet novices. Its new Flash fill feature recognizes patterns and automatically fills columns for you. Excel can also recommend a Pivot Table and chart for your data tables with a Quick Analysis button.

PowerPoint now has a presenter preview mode. While the audience sees only the slideshow, the presenter can look at thumbnails of all the slides and select which one to show next. An alignment grid similar to Word’s makes slide creation easier.

A lot more is new in Office 13. You can read all about it here and sign up for a preview of this new version.

Microsoft seems to be throwing all of the latest buzzwords into Office: mobile, sharing, social, cloud, Metro, etc. While some of these features may be useful to power users, it remains to be seen whether Office 13 will drive widespread adoption of the Windows 8 paradigm. With Google Docs and so many other good alternatives (see Free and Paid Microsoft Office Alternatives) Microsoft seems to be taking a rather large gamble on their future with the dual release of a new operating system and office suite, both with radical interface changes.

Are you the type to jump on every new release of Office, will you stick with what you have now, or will you go with one of the many free Office alternatives? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "What's New in Microsoft Office 13?"

Posted by:

Mark Madere
18 Jul 2012

I'm blown away by many of the new features of Office "Lucky 13" you listed in your article. I like the idea of accessing my docs in the cloud from up to 5 different devices - all perfectly synced. Currently, I attach a doc to an e-mail using web mail so I can access it from any computer. Gets to be a pain having to save changes to a local PC and then re-email it so I can access it from another computer. (I guess I could use Dropbox to do this without all the craziness - thanks for the suggestion.)

Editing PDFs and embedding online images and videos into Word documents is also awesome. And connecting with Social Media Sites - WOW!

Now I'll have to wait several months after the release before I buy into it so the "early adopters" can get all the bugs worked out.

Posted by:

18 Jul 2012

I am afraid I lost interest in updating to the latest MS Word version when Microsoft brought in its fiendishly difficult visual icons.

As a full-time translator, I need shortcuts and hot keys plus software that will work with my favourite word completion software, search-and-replace macros and translation memories. Why bother forking out a fortune and learning harder routines when MS Word 97 plus online utilities for docx to doc conversions do the job? I am sure I am not the only one to think like this. By the way, SoftMaker's Word-compatible product is not only reasonably priced but also does a much better job at handling text boxes and images. It also provides export to PDF, a feature MS has only now deigned to offer.

Posted by:

Ron Green
18 Jul 2012

Having dumped Microsoft's Office platform for the always reliable Google Apps, I can't think of any reason to buy Microsoft's new suite of OS and Office.....too late to the game Microsoft. BobRankin's great article and a recent Wall Street Journal summarize the reasons of why not to use Microsoft. Thanks for the article, Bob!

Posted by:

18 Jul 2012

I need to upgrade my laptop soon, and have decided to wait for W8 op sys. I will not get Office 13 until bugs are out. Will content myself with Libre freeware for a while. Will upgrade after about a year.

Posted by:

Tony Sheffield
19 Jul 2012

Not impressed with the hype around MS products. As far as I'm concerned, Office 2003 and XP was fine - I find no benefit in the new system and software.
Cloud saving is all very well when you've got unlimited web access and high speed. In South Africa, my ISP increased my MONTHLY allowance from 2GB to 10GB, while giving we the the slow transfer rate of 384kb. Even watching something on U-tube at the lowest setting means watch one second, wait ten (or more) seconds for the next tranche to load.
We can only dream of the high speed low cost services that you have.

Posted by:

19 Jul 2012

Sounds like typical Microsucks bloatware to me...

Posted by:

19 Jul 2012

Judging by the video it looks like they've integrated Skype into it as well. Although the new interface looks interesting, it looks like we're back to going down multiple layers of menus to get at features, an approach I thought they had abandoned with version 2007. And now, just when most people have probably gotten used to those new menubars, we're back to the old way of doing it. They're taking an enormous risk here as you suggest, Bob. Has Microsoft lost it's way?

Posted by:

20 Jul 2012

I was persuaded to replace my iPhone 3 with a Lumia running windows 7.5, which seems to have been a precursor to Windows 8. As a logical rather than visual person, I found Windows 7.5 so unpleasant, confusing and uncertain that I actually sold the Lumia at a considerable loss & returned to the iPhone. When the iPhone 5 is released I will buy a 4S on ebay, and I will remain on Windows 7 as long as possible. How I mourn XP!

Posted by:

20 Jul 2012

I'm a mac user and so not familiar with any microsoft operating system. But I've been using Microsoft Office since 2009 and I don't think, there is any real alternative to it. Microsoft Office is a great program and I love it.

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