Microsoft Office 2013 in Depth Preview
After 3 years from the release of Microsoft Office’s previous version, the new Office version is about to release and the timing seems perfect as Microsoft is about to reveal Windows 8 as well. Yesterday Redmond has revealed the latest edition of Microsoft Office 2013 which is also known as Office 15, currently it’s in the preview stage until the final version goes out for sale.
You must be thinking that there will be a minor updates in the Microsoft Office 2013 but it’s nothing like that now you can add easyYoutube emebeds in Word and perform many other operations quite easily also you can access your files from anywhere you want, how? Well the company is moving to towards subscription based model and all your Office files will be collected in your Microsoft ID. Once you signed up, you’ll be able to download numerous desktop applications to a limited number of devices and with Windows 8 your settings, SkyDrive files and the way you left your document will follow you on selected devices (This indicates that the files will be stored to the cloud by default). Microsoft doesn’t end up things here as they focus on making Office 2013 more tablet friendly, the arrangement of icons are more wider and easy to access in touch mode. Also you can view your Word and PowerPoint files in read-only mode which means you can easily view it on full-screen and can easily swipe it on your tablets just like an e-book. Beside this Microsoft has provided PDF editor and Presenter View in PowerPoint, we are going to share an in depth preview along with the screenshots just to give you a better idea.
How Do it Look Like?
If you are thinking Microsoft has completely changed Office look then this is not the case, the typical Microsoft Office Ribbon is still on the left top corner and you’ll feel like home in the first glance. All the application in Office 2013 such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and all other contain that Ribbon mark. As compare to that, Microsoft has made some changes in the User-Interface which are quite noticeable, when you start Office 2013, you’ll see username and Microsoft account photo on the top right corner, which reminds you of the cloud storage is now essential. By clicking on the photo you can define your account settings, change picture and can switch between the accounts as well.
Saving a file to cloud is not a new feature but saving the document directly to the SkyDrive (SkyDrive is coming soon as stated by Microsoft)for the first time saving is by default, which means it’s not yet saved on your Drive C:. Once you hit save the bottom bar shows the progress of saving process, confirming that your file is successfully saved to the cloud. Saving Office 2013 files directly to the cloud is only possible with the services owned by Microsoft such as SkyDrive and SharePoint but if you want to upload your files to Google Drive or any other cloud service than you have to do it from the outside.
As you are directly saving your files online, document sharing has become quite easy, now you can share any Office 2013 file with your friends by providing them a URL, simple click share and it provide you options “Get URL” or “Invite People”. With URL anyone can view the document in web browser even if they don’t have Office installed on their computer system, whereas by inviting people you can give them privileges to make changes in the document. Also with the sharing button you can share your files on social networks or email them as an attachment as well.
Another attractive feature is Resume Reading which allow you to continue reading or editing where you left it before, irrespective of the device you were reading on. Though Amazon’s Kindle has already offered this feature but in office it’s quite effective, as you can easily pick up your work where you left it, this feature is not supported by all the office apps but Word and PowerPoint.
Now if we consider picture inclusion in various Office apps, it’s quite easier to include pictures in the document, for instance Word is now configured with Facebook and Flickr, which means you can easily add pictures from their instead of downloading them but the only obstacle is that you need and internet connection.
Feel the Touch Mode
Microsoft has provided touch mode to make Office more finger friendly especially for tablet users. To activate this option click on the small arrow on the top left corner, the one you use to select the buttons to appear on the front and the ones you want to hide. Once you activate the touch, a circle with dotted line around it, will appear.
Once the option is activated, the Office look turned in to more of a Metro stimulated look with large and finger friendly icons, which seems quite delicate actually. Also with this options the spacing between the on-screen objects get widen and it reduce the possibility of taping on the wrong icon. Well, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden the objects on the screen become larger but somehow it definitely provides ease in terms of taping.
Other Visual Changes
Beside the touch mode Microsoft has focus on providing enhance visibility by sharpening up the icons to make them glossier and polished. Also Word and PowerPoint have better alignment guides, which become prominent while inserting table or adding video clips.
Along its sharp interface, you’ll notice animated transitions as well, slide of the screen by clicking on File tab and Excel charts growing in front of your eyes. As Microsoft representative mentioned earlier that they focus on providing effective visual feedback to the users. Well you might think, whether you need these kinds of transitions or not, but the animations are slick and the flow is quite smooth.
Microsoft Office 2013 Installation
Installing Microsoft office 2013 is not as simple as the old Office installation. First of all you need to sign in your Microsoft/Windows Live ID, wait for a while until the set up start and then download Office to your selected device. Faster internet connection and you’ll be done in no time. Now considering the hardware specifications, you need 3.5GB of disk space and x86 or x64 system, minimum processor requirement is 1GHz or higher. DirectX10 graphics are required and it work smoothly with resolution 1024×576. According to Microsoft recommendation, you need 1GB of RAM for 32-bit Operating System (OS) and 2GB of RAM for 64-bit OS.
Note: Microsoft Office 2013 only work with Windows 7 and Windows 8 Preview version, it doesn’t work with Vista or Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Microsoft Office Word 2013
How it Look Like?
Starting the Word for the first time, you’ll feel the difference in the layout. On the left pane it shows the recent documents, while in rest of the area it display various templates and of course, a blank document will be on the top corner so that you don’t have to search it out. Once you move on to blank document, you’ll notice a Design tab is added in the tab section, using which you can save all your designs at one place. You can add things like paragraph spacing choose fonts, themes and add watermarks to the documents. Also now Microsoft provide an ease in order to modify selected text, such as highlight the text and on mouse over, it display several options to change font, color and other formatting tools become handy as well.
One of the most attractive features of Office 2013 is “Tracking Changes”. While tracking changes, you’ll able to see changes along with comments and the noise display red lines, which indicates the comment and in order to edit it simply click on the line and the thread will expand, all those comments will continue to follow alongside the document and all the comments appeared as single conversation, previously there was a single comment bubble for single user, even if the multiple users are commenting on the same issue. Beside this you can lock your changes, which means if anyone wants to track changes he/she need to enter the password.
Live Layout and Video Addition
Adding video in the document is now pretty easy; with Office 2013 you can insert clips directly from YouTube, Bing Video or any other website as long as you have HTML embed code. Click insert tab in the Ribbon, Click “Online Video”, you can paste the code of the video or can search on YouTube to get one. When you hit search, the results will appear in a small pop-up, it’s not a browser window, the pop-up will appear within the Word containing small thumbnails and on mouse-over you’ll see the title of the video and the duration as well. Also you can preview the video before adding it in to the document so that you can make sure; the video clip is the right one.
Once you have inserted the video, you can easily resize it, drag the corners and adjust it; also you can select the layout as well, for instance adding it on the right of the text, in the middle or on the left. You can either view video within the Word or can open it in a browser, depending on the video restrictions.
Another exciting feature is called Live Layout, in which text automatically wrap around the video, chart or anything else you include in the text. This feature works quite smoothly and it happens in the real time as you start dragging the video or other content.
The previous Word allow users to save documents in PDF files but to convert PDF file in to a Word document required additional software but now with Microsoft Office Word 2013 you can open PDF file in word and can edit it like a regular word document. We have opened a PDF file in to Word, edit it, and save it in PDF (provide options to save in Word or PDF format) and view it in Windows Reader. So that’s one of the most useful feature added in Office 2013.
This is the feature added especially for tablet users, now you can read your Word documents in a reading mode a full-screen, read-only preview which gives a feeling of reading an e-book on a tablet. To activate read mode, click on the View tab and Choose “Read Mode”. (Read mode is also available in PowerPoint)
Once you activate the Read Mode it takes over the whole screen except Windows taskbar. In Read Mode you can scroll pages side by side, also you can change it to scroll down, or with the help of arrows on the left and the right you can turn the page but as on a tablet simply swipe it. Beside this you can adjust the color of the text, by default its black-on-white but you can switch to white on black as well.
Along these features it provides Object Zoom feature, using which you can zoom in to the photos or tables within the text, all you have to do is double click or tap it; also you can search a particular word or a term.
It’s another exciting feature added by Microsoft, it recognizes the data patterns and fill in the blank cells according to the pattern you are working on. For instance if you are preparing a spreadsheet, providing the details on what days different departments acquire the conference room, if marketing department is using it on Friday, it automatically assign Thursday to the other respective department.
Initially you have to enter some data and then go to Data tab, Press Flash Fill button to fill in the rest fields. In sample spreadsheet Microsoft provide a demonstration, they added company email address along with “First Name” and “Last Name”, after entering two names the Excel filled in the rest automatically. But this option works on limited patterns as it doesn’t understand the value of “Yes” or “No” but hopefully in future Excel would be able to understand that.
In order to added Charts and PivotTables, Excel provides several suggestions which are quite intelligent as well. Such as we try to build a chart to insert employee data along with their health insurance, the recommended PivotTable come up with the suggestions “employee count by department” and a “count of insured Vs uninsured workers”, which was quite right. Likewise the Recommended Charts feature represents the similar idea but in the form of pretty and attractive bar graph.
This feature allows you to figure out specific data on the basis of timeline, for instance if a spreadsheet contains sales data from previous 5 years you can easily locate the data of 2011 with the help of Timeline Slicer.
This feature provides in depth analysis of your data, for instance if provide several formatting options, using which you can highlight the data for quick review.
From the presenter point of view, Microsoft PowerPoint “Presenter View” has much to offer despite of animated transitions. Firstly you don’t have to adjust your screen while connecting your system to the projector, it automatically fit to the screen once connected, this way you don’t have to work things out in front of your audience.
Now once you are ready to present, you’ll be happy to see the new Presenter View hit Alt+F5 and you are in Presentation view, along with you presentation, it display your helping notes and the time elapsed. Beside this you can enlarge text and pinch the slider to see the full slide panel, so that if you want to skip any slide, you can easily move on to the next one without scrolling it. Similarly if someone from the audience asks a question and you are not yet at the slide, you can easily rearrange it. None of these changes will be visible to the audience.
In addition to that you can add various shapes, customize them and can add colors to the images. Besides this, adding an audio file is now easy, you can add background music in your presentation and now Microsoft provides support for different audio formats as well, such as .MP4.
How it Look Like?
Outlook comes with new look and a refreshing glaze, in Outlook 2013 the options are quite visible, you can only see the flags when you mouse-over next to the message. Also there is a weather bar on the top of the calendar, you can change the location but it display one location at a time. On the other hand and if you were drafting an email and left it in the middle, it shows the DRAFT button in red color just to remind you.
Microsoft has provide a Peek option, which display calendar, to-do list and appointments, to locate the option check out the lower left corner. By taking pointer to the Calendar it gives you the details regarding your schedule or if you have any appointment.
This theme appears to be smoother and full of information, you can check-out several options without switching pages which is great and time saving as well. While reading an email you can check out different people history, locate People on the bottom pane, also you’ll be able to check their social networking activities, so far it is integrated with Facebook and LinkedIn.
This social networking feature is highly useful if you are connected with your friends on Facebook, you can see their updates and communicate with them as well, whereas in LinkedIn it’s not quite effective unless you are highly active on it.
Microsoft has also improved the integration between Outlook and SharePoint now you can easily share information with your team without leaving Outlook and if you are interested in editing, you have to open up the respective Office app. You can drag and drop documents in the Docs folder (SharePoint) it will automatically share it to the team’s site.
OneNote is quite improved and useful; you can easily integrate it with Outlook Calendar, also it provides full-screen view, improved table tools, auto-save and enhances scribbling.
For businessmen Microsoft offer several useful applications some brief details are given below:
Lync: Microsoft’s messaging and Video chatting client can display up to five video streams at once and the active speaker will be promoted to the top. If more than five people are speaking, you can set the priority in Lync to display the video stream you want.
Publisher: With this feature you can compile all your pictures to a single canvas, making it easy for you to access the desire images out of many. Also you can add text, shape and apply different effects on the pictures as far as mailing is concern you can have URL of your work and can send it to the people to view it in the browser just like a document.
Visio: Office’s standalone diagram creator gets updated shapes, as well as easier workflows for creating organizational charts and tweaking diagrams. Microsoft has also revised the app so that if you change shapes, you won’t affect the entire diagram layout you’ve been working on.
Versions and Subscription Plans
This time Microsoft has provide few versions with easy subscription plan:
Office 365 Home Premium: Single user can install it on five devices and he get an extra 20GB of SkyDrive storage along with PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook, OneNote and Access including Publisher.
Office 365 Small Business Premium: Can be provided up to 10 users, with five installations each along with “Professional mail”, shared documents and HD video conferencing.
Office 365 ProPlus: Can be allowed to 25 users (5 installations for each), along with PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Access, InfoPath, Published and Lync.
Office 365 Enterprise: Along with above mention applications, this version includes SharePoint online and Lync Online.