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.

Microsoft-Office

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 Czech Product Manager: Office for iOS and Android Set for March 2013

While speaking to Czech site IHNED, Microsoft product manager Petr Bobek has apparently confirmed that native Office apps on iOS and Android will be released, starting in March of 2013.

The Verge has translated a press release from Microsoft’s Czech Republic team that basically states that in addition to Windows, Office 2013 will also be available on Windows Phone, Windows RT, OS X, Android, iOS, and, interestingly enough, Symbian. The press release also points out that Office 2013 will be made available to businesses in December, with a consumer launch set for the end of February. Finally, it also mentions that a new version of the Office Web Apps is on the way.

A US Microsoft spokesperson refused to verify this completely, vaguely stating that the company is yet to announce retail availability for the new Office. They also pointed out that the company previously stated that Office Mobile will work across Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

iOS and Android present a huge opportunity to the Office team to further grow their business. I’ve witnessed many in my Twitter timeline question why these apps haven’t already been released on the two major mobile platforms.

There have been countless rumors in the past of Microsoft developing Office apps for iPhone, so it’s nice to see that it may finally be coming to fruition relatively soon.

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.

Tutorial: Use Word 2013 to Edit Your Blog

Office 2013 sports some pretty nifty features. One them is the ability to edit your blog directly using Word 2013. In this tutorial, I will show you how you can create a short blog post, insert embedded video, and save it as a draft on your WordPress website. Let’s get Started!

Word 2013 Splash Screen

When you first open Word 2013, you are presented with some gorgeous templates to help you get started. Pictured below, you can see that I am choosing the template called “Blog post”.

Blog Template
Select the Blog Template to get started.

The first time you open the “Blog post” template, it will ask you information about your blog’s URL, as well as username and password. Once you get that out of the way, you can start typing as I have below. Notice that I have typed “A Day at the Races” in the title section of the blog post. Below that you can see that I am typing about an experience I had with my son that weekend. You will also notice that some of the text is underlined in blue. This denotes that I have made that text a hyperlink. All I had to do was highlight the text and click the button at the top that looks like a little globe and is labeled “Hyperlink”. Things were moving along pretty smoothly until I decided I wanted to use this great new feature that Word 2013 is touting, which is the ability to embed videos. However, when I clicked the “Insert” tab, it was nowhere to be found, hence the giant red question mark I put in the picture.

Missing Embed
Notice we’re missing the embed video button.

Well, I decided to do a little digging. It hadn’t been that long ago that I did a tutorial on how to add buttons to the quick access toolbar in 2010, and fortunately Word 2013 sports that bar as well. If you look at the picture below, you will see where I clicked the downward pointing arrow on the quick access toolbar. I then selected “More Commands” from the bottom of the menu.

Quick Access Toolbar
Add Commands to Quick Access Toolbar

Next, I knew that I wanted to insert a video. By default, the “Popular Commands” category is chosen in the selection area. I clicked the dropdown arrow and chose the “Insert Tab” category because I suspected this is where I would find the insert video command I was looking for.

Insert Tab
Insert Tab

Under the “Insert Tab” heading was listed the option “Online Video”. I selected that video, clicked the “Add” button to move it to the right column of the dialog box. Lastly, I clicked OK at the bottom.

Now, I was in business. Circled in the picture below, you can see the “Online Video” button on the quick access toolbar. I clicked that and it opened the dialog box you see below. I simply had to copy the embed code from my YouTube video and paste it into the box to the right of the field that says “From a Video Embed Code”. You will also see circled in red to the right, the button that you need to click to insert the video.

Embed Video
Embed Video

Pictured below, you can now see I have my YouTube video embedded in the body of my blog post. To the right of that, you see a little box that says “Layout Options”. This is where you make the video box bigger and configure how it aligns with the text.

Layout Options
Layout Options

The last thing I want to do is save this post as a draft on my main blog so I can see how well it transfers over. I click on the “Blog Post” tab, then under the “Publish” button I click the downward pointing arrow, and select “Publish as Draft”. The reason I am doing it as a draft is so I can make final edits on my blog host.

Save As Draft
Save as Draft

If you look in the image below, you can see where my post was successfully published to my WordPress blog. Well, almost everything successfully published. Unfortunately, I found a nice little bug in this feature. The video didn’t actually transfer. For some reason, during the act of publishing, my video was converted into a PNG file. So basically, it’s now just a picture. This may explain why the insert video link was missing in the blog template to begin with, but I feel like this is a big flop if Microsoft didn’t consider the fact that some would want to publish videos to their blogs. Be mindful however, that the video works great embedded in the Word document. It just didn’t carry over.

WordPress Screenshot

I sent a note to Microsoft regarding the bug, but have yet to hear back. I will be sure to update if I do hear from Microsoft. You can notify Microsoft of bugs in any of the Office 2013 Consumer Preview apps by clicking the frown face in the upper right corner of the programs. Honestly, I like the ability that Microsoft Word 2013 gives me in the blog template. Unfortunately, it’s not perfect.

How To Uninstall Office 2013 Consumer Preview

Microsoft revealed the newest version of Office; which is available as a free download (Office 2013 Offline Installer Download). Office 2013 is a souped up version of and uses the Metro interface.

Also Read: Office 2013 Review | Office 2013 Screenshot Tour

While Office 2013 can work simultaneously with earlier versions of Office including Office 2010, there might be reasons where you might want to uninstall it. Uninstalling Office 2013 is pretty simple, however, with Office 2013, Microsoft introduced a new feature where they restrict a single install to 5 computers. So you will also have to deactivate a PC online when you uninstall Office 2013 from your PC.

Deactivate Office 2013 - 365 Online

The first step in uninstalling Office 2013 is to go to https://officepreview.microsoft.com/en-us/MyAccount.aspx (this link will change for future versions) and sign in with your account. Once you have done that, click on the Deactivate link next to the PC you are uninstalling Office 2013. Deactivating the PC will allow  you to install Office 2013 on another PC.

Uninstall Office 2013 365

After you have deactivated the PC, you can open Control Panel -> Programs -> Uninstall a program and look for an entry named “Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium Preview” and click on the “Uninstall” button.

Confirm Uninstall for Office 2013 365

Once you have done that, a new dialog will pop up asking you whether you want to really uninstall the product. Click on the “Uninstall” button in that dialog to perform the uninstallation.

After the uninstallation has been complete, you can check if your older Office products work or run the Repair tool accompanying that product to fix the errors.

Office 2013 Review

Microsoft recently announced the newest addition to its family of office products called Office 2013. At the moment, it is being made available as a “Consumer Preview” and can be downloaded for free (see: Office 2013 screenshot tour). I took a shot at downloading the preview and would like to share my thoughts on it so far.

Ease of Download and Installation

I found the download and installation process to be extremely easy. Pictured below, you can see what the Consumer Preview website looks like when you go to download it. All you have to do is click sign up and it will take you through the steps. Office 2013 is all designed around the Microsoft ID so you will have to use an existing login like your Hotmail account, or create a new one to get the download. Keep in mind that only users with Windows 7 and Windows 8 can download Office 2013. The installation was really quick. I was up and using Word in less than 10 minutes.

Office 2013

 

User Interface

The user interface is visually stunning. I give them credit for not veering too far away from the ribbon interface that we’re all used to, but they did incorporate the Metro UI look which will be the standard in all of Microsoft’s Windows 8 products. Pictured below, you can see what the Excel 2013 window looks like. If you look in the top right corner you will see your online Microsoft profile, an ever present reminder that with Office 2013 you are always connected. You can also put Office 2013 in “Touch Mode” to optimize it for use with tablets and touch screen PC’s.

Excel User Interface

Features and Functionality

I have a decent PC, but it certainly isn’t cutting edge. I am running a Windows 7 OS with an Intel i5 processor. That being said, I find Office 2013 to be extremely responsive. For instance, when I clicked Microsoft Publisher 2013, it took 3 seconds to be up and running on my screen. That was the first time too! Whatever they did to take the bloat out of the startup experience, it’s a good thing.

As far as features go, there are a few new ones worth mentioning, and I think they are good additions to the Office family. The first one I will mention is Microsoft Word’s ability to open and edit PDF files. This works very well. If you look at the screenshot below, you will see that my PDF resume shows up as an available document in the Word dialog box. I was able to open and edit a PDF with ease. It was as smooth as silk.

Word Opens PDF

Excel 2013 sports a new feature called “Flash Fill” which I think is really useful. If you look below, you can see an example where someone wanted to split first and last names. In column B they began typing a first name then hit ctrl+E and the “Flash Fill” Feature knows the pattern that you want all of the first names from column A. This is a very useful feature and will save time.

Excel Flash Fill

The last thing I want to mention is the availability of the cloud. All of your files can follow you around if you take advantage of Microsoft’s Skydrive with Office 2013. You can use Office 2013 with up to 5 different devices. This also means that you can access all your files from those devices by saving them to you Skydrive. It really shows up just like any other folder would in your Office programs. Saving to it is a breeze.

Bottom Line

Everything that I have seen of Microsoft Office 2013 so far is a 5 star rating in my opinion. However, because they have only made this available to Windows 7 and 8 users, I am rating it with 4 stars. I am sure there may be technical reasons behind this decision, but I suspect that it is mostly a financial one. Office 2013 is worth the look and if you’re still using 2003, then I would definitely recommend it for the features and the speed. Keep checking back with us because I will be adding tutorials very soon so you can see more of the great features this new Office 2013 provides. You may also want to read some of the other great articles which go into more detail about the new features of Office 2013 at http://techie-buzz.com/tag/office-2013/.

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: Office As A Service

 

On Monday, July 16th, Microsoft made the next version of Office available for public preview. Dubbed Office 365 Preview, it introduces new versions of the desktop apps, new subscription plans in the Office 365 stable of services and most crucially, enables technology to literally serve Office as a service.

One of the features introduced in Office 2010 was “click-to-run” which allowed a customer to click on an installer on the web and install the product on demand. Microsoft has taken that one step further, and improved it in such a way that the “on demand” version of using the software is in fact the default. Of course you can get it fully locally installed, but there are many advantages of running it on demand.

First of all, by running it on demand, you can take advantage of roaming profiles which let a user sign in to any PC and use exactly the products they care about and most importantly, have all their application settings show up automatically.

Secondly, because only the applications you care about are installed, it uses lesser space on the PC. This is a huge benefit these days where thin and light PCs (not to mention, tablets and phones) tend to have smaller SSDs than earlier PCs with large hard drives.

Finally, this feature will come in handy when we get used to changing devices more frequently than we typically do with PCs. Imagine trying to get a new PC in the state you typically want – it involves installing Office and applying various patches. This won’t be needed anymore. You refresh your PC and simply go to your Office 365 account to get the latest version of the applications you care about. A side benefit of this (and perhaps, it is a sign of things to come that the product is actually referred to as Office even though the marketing term will be Office 2013) is that customers will enjoy the latest and the greatest versions of the software any time they use the applications.

All these are user-facing benefits of an on demand Office. There is a huge benefit for Microsoft too. They can finally get hundreds of millions of customers’ credit cards on file, and ensure a steady stream of revenue for Office as opposed to getting a chunk of revenue at once. With the Office Store coming soon, where apps will be available to supplement/enhance Office usage, having those credit cards on file will help in luring developers.

Office is already a huge cash cow for Microsoft, and with all these benefits for users as well as Microsoft with the on demand features, the next version promises to continue its streak.

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