Wow! Microsoft may be the next Big Thing with Office 2013
By Dexter Duncan
After playing with Windows 8 and Office 2013, I feel we are on the verge of a huge productivity improvement for businesses. You can download Office 2013 preview for yourselves and experience the difference. It is easy to “roll-back” to previous release if needed.
This is perhaps the first time in a long time where hundreds if not thousands of small changes to existing product are gathered in a single product release to produce a major difference.
Office 2013 includes common packages as:
– Microsoft Word
– Microsoft Excel
– Microsoft PowerPoint
– Microsoft Outlook (for e-mail and calendars)
What are the changes that make it worthwhile? The short answer is, there are hundreds of small changes that make the overall experience enjoyable. A few of the high value ones are listed below.
1) Easy to back-up your data.
Office 2013 works in “the cloud” and/or on premise, with free off premise storage using Microsoft’s SkyDrive. There is also a cloud version of Office 2013 called Office 365 which I will cover Office 365 in a future article. The synching feature on SkyDrive means you will always have access to your files no matter where you are. If your PC gets stolen or dies, your most recent versions should be accessible on the SkyDrive from any PC.
2) Built in social media.
Adding quick peeks and ease of plugging in social media into documents and Outlook of a variety of social media is included out of the box. YouTube is easier to embed in presentations and documents; LinkedIn plugs into outlook to give you a preview of the person you are sending mail to; Facebook is more integrated and embedding Flicker makes it easier to grab your photos.
3) Ease of sharing.
In addition to above social media sharing, Office 2013 makes it easier to share and co-edit documents and share your calendar. For documents, you send a link from SkyDrive (or SharePoint) and viewing or editing is much easier. Everyone is working with the latest version. (I aim to cover SharePoint 2013 as a separate topic later in the year.) For calendars, your calendar can be made viewable for others.
4) Ease of analyzing data through automation.
Accountants and number crunchers will love the new ability to automatically find a pattern in your Excel spreadsheet (called Flash Fill). If you repeatedly do the same thing, Excel understands and does the work for you by “auto-completing the remaining data”. There are also cool new functions of quick analysis by automatically recommending pivot tables or charts based on the spreadsheet data.
5) Useful Word document features and slicker PowerPoint presentations.
One of my favorite features is the ability for Microsoft word to open and edit PDF files. (Having to use a different program for PDF files is a pain!) In addition to this, you can also zoom on tables, charts, images or videos with a click of a mouse (or tap of a finger on tablets). Word also saves your position by “bookmarking” your last visited place in the document. Folks that insert tables, charts and pictures into documents will find the automatic alignment of text very easy to use.
With PowerPoint 2013, you no longer have to fiddle with the projector to get the right settings. The presentation mode has many more options to make it easier for your pitch to go well, including a timer, notes, zoom function and ability to quickly “look-ahead” and find slides – all hidden from the audience.
There are lots of other features such as background colour matching to your inserted photo and a local weather bar in Outlook, so I encourage you to download a free preview for upto 5 PCs in your office.
Microsoft has not released pricing for Office 2013, but you can bet the marketing machine will publish profusely once they are ready. Marketing and release of their new mobile technologies are the only missing ingredients to make Office 2013 a phenomenal success.
Get a free pre-view on up to 5 of your office computers by going to http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en
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About the author: Dexter Duncan is a Manager at Empower IT Solutions. Contact Dexter at dd@EmpowerIT.com.au
- 18 June 2012, Microsoft Announcement on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ervY6As5OcI&feature=related