The Consumer Preview version for Microsoft’s upcoming Office 2013 suite is already available for you to try out. The new software is going to be available in three different versions: Office 365 Home Premium, Small Business Premium and ProPlus. The look of the new suite is entirely different in comparison to previous versions, adopting the styling of the Metro interface. Microsoft says that Office 2013 has an intuitive design which will work smoothly with the keyboard, mouse, stylus and touch.
There were some rumors about the likelihood of removing the ribbon interface from Office 2013 but this has been carried over from the older Office versions. The user will still have the option of increasing the available screen to use on the devices that have a smaller display, such as a tablet. It is important to mention that the new version of Office is going to automatically save all the documents on SkyDrive.
Since Microsoft has recently bought Skype and Yammer recently, it’s no wonder that Office 2013 comes with support for Skype for VoIP communication, along with Yammer for your social networking needs. Those who subscribe to Office will be able to utilize 60 minutes per month of Skype world minutes, while Yammer has been integrated with Microsoft Dynamics and SharePoint.
All of the upcoming ARM-based Windows 8-running devices will come with Office home and Student 2013 RT, containing the updated versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. All of these goodies will come as standard on the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet.
Office 2013 promises to get you started faster than before since the new Start will assist the user into creating new documents quicker, while the list of available templates will be quite large. The user can also get to see a list consisting of the last viewed documents. The new Office suite has been redesigned for Windows 8-running desktop PCs and tablets, being able to respond to the touch as naturally as it does when using a keyboard and mouse.
Since it offers support for touch, the user will have the capability of swiping his finger across the screen or pinching and zooming for reading documents and also presentations. Another useful feature is converting a handwritten e-mail to text, while the stylus can be used during the presentations as a laser pointer.
Two completely redesigned applications for Office 2013 are Lync and OneNote. Lync comes with several basic features such as instant messaging, video conferencing and Voice Over IP. There are also some advanced features of OneNote like sharing files, finding out if other users are working on the same document, as well as obtaining contact list from Microsoft Exchange Sever or another local directory service. OneNote is a useful note-taking solution that adopts a “radial” UI that provides ribbon-like commands at your disposal only when you really need them. With OneNote the user can include Office documents, video files, web links and other type of media straight into the notes.
Last but not least, just as important is the Read Mode. When it’s activated it will automatically adjust for small and large screens, giving the user the ability of zooming in and out of content, viewing revision marks, streaming videos within documents and using touch for turning the pages.