Microsoft Office 2013 Launched with Cloud Integration

We have already written a fair amount about Microsoft Office 2013, including an in-depth review. However, until now, the latest iteration of one of Microsoft’s biggest money-spinners was available only to a select group of users. That changes today with the public release of Office 2013.


Office 2013 is a significant step forward for Microsoft in more ways than one. The biggest change is not in the product itself, but in how it is sold. In an attempt to counter the threat possessed by Google Apps and other similar cloud based productivity suites, Microsoft is offering a subscription model for Office. Office 365 Home Premium, as the cloud service is being called, will cost home users $10 per month. Users will have the flexibility to turn it off any time they feel like. Alternatively, users can also signup for an annual account, and get access for $100. Office 365 includes all the popular Office tools including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. Additionally, it also comes with 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage and 60 minutes of Skype calls per month. On top of this, the subscription model offers allows access to Office apps on 5 PCs or Macs. If cloud is not your thing, you can purchase individual Office apps for $110, or purchase the Office Home & Student for $140, Office Home and Business for $220, and Office Professional for $400. Each of these installations are restricted to a single PC.

In terms of features, the biggest talking points include support for touch, roaming profiles with documents, dictionaries, and settings being automatically stored in the cloud, and full PDF editing. Check out this list for a brief quick overview of what’s new in Office 2013.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Updated for MacBook Pro Retina Display

Today has been a day filled with new update releases. Apple released iOS 6 to the public today and OS X 10.8.2. Microsoft also released Office for Mac 2011 version 14.2., which adds support for the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro released in June. This update makes text more crisp and all key areas of the interface sharper than ever, Microsoft said in a post in its official Office for Mac blog. The update should be available via AutoUpdate.

We’re happy to announce that Office for Mac 2011 (version 14.2.4) now supports Retina display for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Text everywhere is incredibly crisp and all key areas of the interface are now sharper than ever. We hope you enjoy this fantastic software experience!

In addition, the new update brought a number of enhancements for Outlook including calendar event reminders, Mountain Lion compatibility for signatures, and fixes for several other issues. Microsoft also promised that its team is “going back to work on even more great features” for Office for Mac.


Microsoft Wants You To Subscribe To Office 2013

Microsoft’s plans to offer Office 2013 as part of Office 365 have been known for quite a while; how the products will be priced and offered was still unknown. Yesterday, Microsoft shared their strategy for getting Office 2013 to the users and Microsoft has prepared itself for a new connected and multi-PC environment. As mobile apps and web apps have started giving Office some competition and drastically change user habits, Microsoft had to come up with a new model to keep Office’s prices down for existing customers and attracting new ones.

Microsoft is probably among the first companies to offer a largely used product to a non-enterprise customer through the Software as a Service model. The subscription method brings with it a baggage of terms and conditions, what you can and cannot do; it’s complicated. Microsoft on their part has done a lot to un-complicate this part; here’s how:

(I’m using the chart by The Verge, since it’s one of the simplest I’ve come across.)

The thing about this chart as pointed out by veteran Ed Bott is, Microsoft has made it very uneconomical for users to buy the traditional boxed packages. Here’s why:

Traditional Box pack: (Home & Student–No Outlook)

1 license: $140 (3 years cost=$420)

Also, Microsoft no longer offers the buy 1 pack & use on 3 devices, which means for 3 years: 3×420=$1,260

Subscription: (There is no Home & Student, but Home & Student Premium)

1 subscription gives you 5 licenses with SkyDrive Premium, Outlook, Skype benefits at $99/year. So for 3 years, all this comes at $300 for 5 PCs.

Opting for the standalone boxes now makes no sense at all. Most of users get Office bundled with Windows on our new PCs, I believe OEMs will start offering 1 year free subscriptions with new PCs which might reduce licensing costs for OEMs and ensure customers stick to Office 2013.

Microsoft Pushes New Updates for Office 2013

Microsoft recently released the consumer preview new version of Office; back on July 16th as a consumer preview. Office 2013 has a metro UI which is similar to what has (See: Office 2013 Screenshot Tour) and has several new features including tight cloud integration (Read: Office 2013 Features).

Also Read: Use Word 2013 to Edit Your Blog

Office 2013 Update

However, less than a moth later, Microsoft has now released an update to Office 2013 which updates the version to 15.0.4128.1019 from the earlier version 15.0.4128.1014. However, there is no change log available for the update and I am still trying out figure out the changes in this release.

If you have not yet tried out Office 2013, you can download a free consumer preview version of Office 2013 or also use direct download links for Office 2013 to download it for your PC.

Microsoft Office 2013 Complete Features

Microsoft recently unveiled the consumer preview of the company’s next-generation office suite. We have already shared the download link of Office 2013 consumer preview in our previous post. This software will be released in three editions – Office 365 Home Premium, Small Business Premium and ProPlus. The Microsoft Office 2013 sports a fresh new look, heavily inspired by the Metro interface. According to Microsoft, the Office 2013 features an intuitive design that works beautifully with touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard across new Windows devices, including tablets.

Earlier, it was rumored that Microsoft will remove the ribbon interface from Office 2013. However, the ribbon interface is carried over from the older version of Office. Microsoft also allows you to hide the ribbon to increase the real estate on devices with smaller displays such as tablets. The new Microsoft Office 2013 automatically saves all your documents on SkyDrive.

In the last 12 months, Microsoft has acquired Skype and Yammer for $8.5 billion and $1.2 billion respectively. Now, the company has integrated the new Office with Skype for VoIP communication and Yammer for social networking. Office subscribers will get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month. Microsoft has integrated Yammer with SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics. The software giant will include the Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including the recently announced Microsoft Surface. Check out the complete features after the break.

Microsoft Office 2013 Features:

  • Optimized for touch:
    The new Office 2013 has been redesigned for Windows 8 desktop PCs and tablets. It responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. You can also swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. On the other hand, you can use a stylus to create document, take notes and access all of the features. It also converts your handwritten email responses to text. The stylus can also be used as a laser pointer when presenting.
  • Getting started in seconds:
    The new Start helps you to create a new document more quickly with amazing new templates as well as a list of your recently viewed documents.
  • Office roams with you:
    You can get all your applications, recent documents, custom dictionary and setting, just by signing in to your account from any device. Office 2013 automatically saves all your documents in the cloud on SkyDrive. Your documents are also available offline and sync when you reconnect.
  • Create and edit PDF content:
    With the new Microsoft Office Word, you can not only view PDF content, but you can also create and edit them.
  • Get better insights:
    Microsoft Office Excel comes with the new Quick Analysis Lens, Recommended Charts and Chart Animations which helps you to get better judgement of your data.
  • Work together more easily:
    The new Office 2012 helps you simplify group projects and assignments with easy access to shared documents, comments and recent changes.
  • New Windows 8 applications:
    OneNote and Lync are the first Windows 8 style applications for Office 2013. The Microsoft Office OneNote comes with a new radial menu which makes it easy to access all of its features with your finger.
  • Store notes and information in one place:
    Microsoft Office OneNote takes digital note-taking to the next level. It lets you capture and organize notes, pictures, webpages, voice memos and other media. You can not only take notes from your regular keyboard, but you can also take notes using touch and stylus.
  • Stay connected:
    You can easily stay connected by follow people, teams, documents and sites in SharePoint. You can also view and embed pictures, videos and Office content in your activity feeds.
  • Office on demand:
    With a subscription, you can access Office even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured applications to an Internet-connected Windows-based PC. Subscribers also receive extra SkyDrive storage along with multiple installs for everyone in the family and across their devices.
  • Reading and markup:
    Microsoft Office Word comes with the Read Mode that automatically adjusts for large and small screens. It allows you to zoom in and out of content, stream videos within documents, view revision marks and use touch to turn pages.
  • Meetings and presentations:
    PowerPoint features a new Presenter View that privately shows your current and upcoming slides, presentation time and speaker notes in a single glance. You can also zoom, mark up and navigate your slides with touch and stylus while presenting.
  • People Card:
    The People Card comes with an integrated view of your contacts everywhere in Office. It includes presence information along with pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

Microsoft has also announced three new Office 365 subscriptions – Office 365 Home Premium, Small Business Premium and ProPlus. Home Premium is designed for families and consumers, which includes an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month. Small Business Premium includes business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD web conferencing. ProPlus is designed for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities.

If you haven’t installed the consumer preview of the Microsoft Office 2013 yet, then just head over to this page. In the meantime, check out the Office 2013 preview screenshot tour here.

Office 2013 Preview Screenshot Tour

Microsoft just announced the consumer preview of Office 2013/Office 365 (Download Office 2013 Consumer Preview) which includes a new metro interface and also several other interesting new features and changes which you can read about in our Office 2013 features post.

While Office 2013 is designed keeping and the new Metro UI, that Microsoft has been using for most of its products, in mind, it will also work on and . However, if you are someone like me,  you might now like the Metro interface on Windows 7.

I was able to download the Office 2013 preview and use it for an hour or so. Office 2013 preview has Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2013, Outlook 2013, OneNote 2013, Access 2013 and Publisher 2013 included in the bundle. While not much has changed since the earlier announcement of Office 15, here is a screenshot tour of the new Office 2013.

New Splash Screens

All Office 2013 products sport a new splash screen which goes follows the standards of the Metro UI.

PowerPoint 2013 Splash Screen Outlook 2013 Splash Screen

OneNote 2013 Splash Screen Excel 2013 Splash Screen

Word 2013 Splash Screen

New Microsoft Office Logo Surfaces

Apple’s WWDC announcements weren’t the only fun things in consumer tech today. Before Tim Cook took stage, Damaster writing for LiveSide leaked the new logo for Microsoft Office. Since everything in Microsoft’s world is going Metro, the Office logo is getting the same treatment. Like the Windows 8 logo, the new Office logo will face the left and is quite different from the previous logo—a straightened single square, instead of intertwined four, with a tapering edge.

Damaster also confirmed the Metro UI for Office Web Apps to complement the new Hotmail UI. If Hotmail and Office Web Apps are being Metro-fied, we should expect SkyDrive getting a new interface. A few screenshots to compare the Metro UI as it has progressed:

Word Office 15 Technical Preview (courtesy Paul Thurrott)

Word in Office 15 Beta (courtesy Paul Thurrott)

Word in Office Web Apps

We will keep you updated about the Office 15 Beta release and what’s in it.

Microsoft Office Apps Released On Symbian

One of the key features in Windows Phone that Microsoft often brags about are the Office apps — or rather, the Office hub — which provides a pretty solid mobile Office experience. There has been much discussion (and rumor) lately about how Microsoft needs to bring the Office suite to iOS, and while they are yet to do so, they are introducing it to a slightly less major player in the mobile ecosystem: Symbian.

Yes, Nokia’s mobile OS which really should be retired in lieu of Windows Phone will be receiving the full Office Mobile app. Starting today, the Nokia 701, Nokia 700, Nokia 603, Nokia E7, Nokia X7, Nokia C7, Nokia Oro, and Nokia C6-01 will receive the Office suite, which can be obtained via the Nokia Software Update tool on your phone, or the Nokia Suite on the PC.

While you probably won’t be typing up entire essays, or creating complete presentations from scratch on your Symbian device, it’s always good to have Office in your pocket for quick adjustments on the go. And, Microsoft touts that, as they developed the apps, the experience and functionality is as close as it can be to the PC. For example, in Word, you can save or send documents while preserving tables, SmartArt and charts, and you can use pinch/zoom to easily navigate through your document.

And in PowerPoint, you can edit presentation text and speaker notes, and use the Outline view to browse slides. Finally, in Excel, you can create charts, insert formulas, and view charts on your device. Through Office Mobile, you’ll also get a single view to documents, whether stored locally, as email attachments, or on a SharePoint server.

So, if you are still using Symbian, this is pretty good news for you.

Office 15: Upcoming Features We Know


At the Windows 8 Consumer Preview launch event, Microsoft talked about their next Office version, codenamed Office 15. Steven Sinofsky gave us a preview of the product and while the company isn’t talking about the product just yet, a limited test trial is underway. Tom Warren at The Verge has gathered a lot of information about the upcoming Office suite and here’s a list of features we know so far:

  • Bundled Metro versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote on WOA (Windows on ARM) devices
  • Touch Mode for the Office suite
  • Reading Mode in Word (with Resume Reading function that bookmarks where you were last time on the document)
  • Object Zoom (click to zoom into images, charts etc.)
  • Expand and Collapse (hide contents of a paragraph)
  • Insert pictures from Facebook, Flickr
  • Embed and view videos from within Word
  • Open and read PDF like Word files (at least that’s what I understand from Tom’s post)
  • Weather bar in Outlook
  • Broadcast Word documents online (like PowerPoint presentations in Office 2010)
  • Quick Analysis Lens for visualizing data
  • Flash Fill to work with spreadsheets formatting
  • Better Excel and PowerPoint love-making while working with charts
  • Peeks—quick look at schedule, tasks, and contacts
  • Auto updating and viewing of Visio and Excel files within a OneNote notebook
To some these might appear as inconsequential additions, but features like the weather bar, better collaboration, enhancements in working with media, and the touch interface are additions that the Office suite needs. Bundling Office 15 with WOA is probably the single best decision made by Microsoft to sell their tablets.

Microsoft Office 15 Beta Planned for January 2012

Microsoft-Office-15The next generation of Microsoft Office, titled Office 15, is expected to be released towards the end of next year. However, we should be able to get our first taste of Office 15 a lot sooner than that. If WinRumours sources are correct, then the first technical preview will be released in early January at the CES, followed by a public beta towards the end of the same month.

We have been tracking the development of Office 15 for more than a year. However, we still have very little concrete information about Microsoft’s market leading productivity suite. Microsoft is widely expected to adopt the new Metro interface, which has already impressed us in Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8. Office 15 should also play better with touchscreen devices like tablets. Earlier in the year, screenshots of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook leaked out, followed by a M2 build. The leaked build included a new tile-based gallery app called Moorea that is showcased below.

The first beta of Windows 8 is also expected to be released at the next CES. Windows 8 will be Microsoft’s first operating system that has been designed from the ground up to work in multiple form factors and even multiple hardware architectures. Office 15 has the potential to become one of Windows 8’s biggest unique selling points as far as tablets are concerned. However, the million dollar question is, can Microsoft successfully make a traditional desktop app like Office usable and intuitive on smaller resolution touchscreen tablets? Come January, we should have the answer.