- Editor's Rating
Microsoft Office has long been the gold standard for productivity suites, and Office 2013 continues that trend with new features designed to help users work more efficiently and effectively. Microsoft Office 2013 is undoubtedly a cornerstone to Microsoft Windows 8 (and one reason many users and enterprises still stick with Windows). As such, it has been tweaked and slightly redesigned to better reflect the new Microsoft Windows Metro aesthetic, and also given a “touch mode” that makes Office a bit more finger friendly for the tablet crowd.
Also new to Office 13 is a focus on the cloud for storage and collaboration, including SkyDrive, Flickr, YouTube, and LinkedIn. This was a necessity, seeing as Office now has real competition from other cloud-based services, including Google Docs.
Here’s the skinny on the most popular Office programs:
Word definitely retains much of the Metro interface, as well as the love-or-hate-it Ribbon. We happen to love it for larger screens, but it’s easily collapsible for smaller. Embedded image and video support is greatly improved, including for online media, as is document formatting with said elements. Native PDF editing is also new, and very welcome, as is new collaboration functionality that allows sharing to users with or without Word.
Microsoft really smoothed out Excel, turning it into an unwieldy spreadsheet program to what TabletPCReview calls an “active participant.” How? By getting much smarter. Excel can now detect patterns and analyze data, all while making helpful suggestions — and they really are helpful. Clippy this is not. Autofill suggestions are typically spot on, and a “Quick Analysis” button provides formatting help for charts, tables, and sparklines. Using Excel has been a chore in the past, but now it’s not so bad.
Outlook remains relatively unchanged (what ain’t broke…), though it does feature greater social media integration, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Hotmail (owned by Microsoft, remember) info. “Peeks” is a fun new addition that lets users preview calendar and contact info without switching screens. Also fun and useful is the addition of weather and forecast info in the Outlook calendar.
PowerPoint has finally embraced the widescreen and now standard slides sport the 16:9 aspect ratio. They can be switched back to 4:3 easily, however. PowerPoint steals some of the best new features in Word 2013 and Excel 2013 with layout assistance, better online media support, more collaboration features, and chart assistance and creation options.
Taken as a whole, Office 2013 works great on a tablet, or at least the 11.6-inch Samsung Series 7 Slate we tested it on. The apps are easily navigated via finger swipe and tap, and they are both nimble and intelligent. For more detail on the changes, read the full Microsoft Office 2013 review on TabletPCReview.