by July 17, 2012 0 comments

Hiren Mehta

With Office 2013, Microsoft is eyeing to kill several
birds with one stone. Deep integration with the Cloud and taking
advantage of the features provided by Windows 8 are behind most of
the changes that you will see in Office 2013. According to a press
release, Office 2013, as speculated earlier, will work well with
touch as well as mouse-and-keyboard. It will also have solid
networking features.

Office 2013 and Windows 8: Better together

Inking: Use of a stylus will allow users to
produce documents using handwriting recognition and OCR,
with each other and control presentations, all in a familiar
of using the pencil and eraser to undo mistakes.

OneNote and Lync: As expected, are said to
draw heavily from Windows 8 since they are optimized for touch
features such as a radial menu (in OneNote).

Built-into Windows RT: The Home and Student
RT edition of Office 2013 will be pre-installed on WoA devices,
including Microsoft’s very own Surface.

Ascending in the air

  • SkyDrive – Users of Office Web Apps would
    be familiar with Skydrive, since that is where Office Web Apps
    stores documents. Thus, Office 2013 combined with Skydrive
    will deliver a ubiqituous experience across devices. Office on
    Windows Phone already supports offline editing and syncing for
    SkyDrive – Office 2013 will have this too.

  • Office on Demand – This is meant to be a
    paid enhancement to the free Office Web Apps, where
    subscribers can make use of Office applications without any
    loss of functionality (unlike what is currently available with
    Office Web Apps) using any Internet-connected Windows-based

  • New subscription services – Office 2013
    will be available as a Cloud-based subscription service.
    Subscribers also benefit from automatic future upgrades as
    well as services such as 60 Skype world minutes every month
    and extra 20 Gbs of SkyDrive storage. Subscribers receive
    multiple installs for everyone in the family and across their
    devices. For instance, when you download Office 2013’s preview
    right now, you get 5 allowed installs.

Contacts, Communication, Collaboration

Yammer: Along with Skype mentioned above,
Microsoft more recently acquired Yammer too, which is known in the
enterprise to deliver a secure, private social network for free,
out-of-the-box. Yammer can be integrated with other business
such as SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics.

Social updates: News about people, teams,
documents and sites are easy to acces in SharePoint. You can make
of image and video sharing as well as the sharing of Office

People Card. Taken to
be one
of the most positive aspects about Windows Phone, Office 2013
offer a one-stop-shop view about the people who matter to you,
including presence and contact information as well as
updates and activity from Facebook and LinkedIn.

Changing with the times

Reading and markup: The
mode of Word now adapts automatically to the screen size,
supporting well-known touch gestures such as zoom, page flip,

Meetings: PowerPoint
will have a new `Presenter View’ that privately shows your
and upcoming slides, presentation time, and speaker notes at a
glance. Lync 2013 will have multiparty HD video, similar to
Hangouts, with presentations, shared OneNote notebooks and a
whiteboard for collaborative brainstorming.

Super-sized touch-enabled displays: It
is now possible to have a more engaging and immersive experience
conducting meetings, presentations and lessons, both
face-to-face as
well as online, with multitouch and stylus-enabled displays from
Perceptive Pixel, another company which Microsoft bought

More details about features and pricing are
expected to
be announced after a few months. However, as far as Cloud
subscriptions are concerned, the following editions are planned:

Office 365 Home Premium – For
families and consumers.

Office 365 Small Business

For SMEs. This adds business-grade email, shared
calendars, website tools and HD web conferencing.

Office 365 ProPlus
enterprises. This offers the flexibility to deploy and manage in

can obtain the customer preview right now from
Please note that a Windows Live ID is needed to sign up for

it run on Win XP or Vista?

Microsoft launched a new blog titled `Office Next` a few days before
the press event. In the introductory post on this blog, PJ Hough,
Corporate Vice President of Program Management, Microsoft Office
Division, states that the new blog is meant for discussing the
improvements that their engineers make, the designs they choose and
the data and feedback that inform their decisions. Hough also shares
some of the feedback that was received from those who participated
in the technical preview.

It is confirmed now that the Office 15 preview does not run on
Windows XP as well as Windows Vista and hence is available only on
Windows 7 and 8. This is being seen as a step in the direction to
encourage existing desktop users to migrate to Windows 7 (and 8,
when it is released).

The Office division of Microsoft generated a revenue exceeding USD
22.2 billion out of nearly USD 70 billion of Microsoft as a whole in
2011, which is the highest for any division within Microsoft. Hence,
Office 2013 carries critical importance to Microsoft as a whole.

What tasks do you think will become easier/harder using touch screen
devices? Did you try the preview? If so, how was your experience?
Let us know!

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