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Microsoft IT

First Look: Microsoft Office 2013 369 369

snydeq writes "Ever since the first beta editions of Windows 8 appeared, rumors have circulated over how Microsoft would revamp its other flagship consumer product, Office, to be all the more useful in the new OS. Would Office become touch-oriented and Metro-centric, to the exclusion of plain old Windows users? A first look at Office 2013 provides the short answer: No. 'Office 2013 has clearly been revised to work that much better in Windows 8 and on touch-centric devices, but the vast majority of its functionality remains in place. The changes made are mostly cosmetic — a way to bring the Metro look to Office for users of versions of Windows other than 8. Further, Office 2013 has been designed to integrate more closely with online storage and services (mainly Microsoft's), although those are thankfully optional and not mandatory.'"
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First Look: Microsoft Office 2013

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  • by Trashcan Romeo (2675341) on Monday July 16, 2012 @05:58PM (#40667027)
    Subscription model: HELL, No.
  • by LeanSystems (2513566) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:00PM (#40667037)
    New look and feel means that the IT department has to give each user training on the new interface. Usually just because a couple of the managers refuse to spend a few minutes to "play" with it and learn it themselves.

    It's funny that everytime I am asked to do Office training, 50% of the students are more skilled at Excel (acct. especially) and Outlook (admin asst. especially) than I am. So I am standing in front of a room baffeling the people that have no idea what a pivot table is, and looking like an idiot trying to explain it to the people that know it better than me.
  • Both ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesl (106902) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:00PM (#40667041)

    although those are thankfully optional and not mandatory

    One without the other would have been a disaster.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:08PM (#40667107) Journal

    I'm still using Office 2003 at work, and will for the forseeable future. Microsoft still provides a compatibility pack to read and write docx. What reason is there to upgrade?

  • The more I read... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:09PM (#40667109)
    ... the less I want.

    Anyone else long for the days when a word processor was for editing formatted text, a spreadsheet for mathematical calculations, and an email client sent and received emails?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:17PM (#40667173)

      No thank you.

      Call me crazy, but I kind-of like having a word processor that does grammatical checking, automatic table of contents, dynamically-created diagrams, templates for cover pages, and theme-based formatting when I paste in content from other sources.

      I actually like it that Word can talk to Access and Excel for merge operations, and even output to Outlook when I want to send out emails. And yes, I like that as a programmer I can use VBA to further extend the apps whenever I need to with a little bit of code hunting.

      Here's your typewriter. I'll take Office 2013.

      • by excelsior_gr (969383) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:01PM (#40667517)

        automatic table of contents, templates for cover pages

        Yawn. LaTeX. Plus, every humble ASCII-editor has spell-checking features. Except notepad.

        dynamically-created diagrams

        You mean like, dynamically created while the Fortran simulation runs in the background?

        theme-based formatting when I paste in content from other sources.

        You mean like when I press ctrl+V and freak out on the broken formatting that gets pasted together with my text? And like when I have to paste the text to an ASCII-editor to get rid of the formatting metadata and then ctrl+X/ctrl+V back to Word/Outlook to just paste some freakin' text?

        I like that as a programmer I can use VBA to further extend the apps whenever I need to with a little bit of code hunting.

        Ah, yes. I always rejoice when I see my VBA code broken after an Office update. I haven't touched that sluggish pile of crap called VBA for years. One of my students did and regretted within the week.

        Here's your typewriter. I'll take Office 2013.

        No I think I'll pass on both. I'll take VIM.

    • by idji (984038) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:30PM (#40667279)
      No, because I work in an organisation with 1000 people around the world, and my Microsoft email client tells me who is sitting at their desk right now, has one click-desktop sharing, conferencing, file sharing, tasks, goals, sales tasks, decisions, votes, and still works when i have little or no internet. It is a cockpit for daily work and efficiency. (and I can program a plugin to do anything else that I find that I need) . When my laptop gets toasted, I have zero data loss and I get it all back as it was with 1-click, and while windows is being reinstalled I still have access to almost everything over any browser/smartphone. Did I mention that all my Russian, Greek, Arabic and Chinese mails all render properly? My word processor and my email client use the same richtext/html editor. Sure I can install 15 pieces of software to do that, but not throughout the entire organisation. MS-Office is installed & enterprise-licensed in 1 click, and with another click synchronized from the server.
      • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:24PM (#40667681)

        ok, but you still have days where a word processor is for editing formatted text, a spreadsheet for mathematical calculations, even if your mail client is a "groupware application"

        Outlook was always a bit shit at HTML messages though, especially when replying without that stupid blue indent bar on the left, and failed at formatting mails with internet-standard > markers. Pity that. And how bullet formatting can be a bit wonky at times with almost impossible ways to fix them without deleting and starting again, not to mention the odd table formatting craziness that can quickly spiral out of control.

        Mind you, I'm with you on all that 1-click ease-of-use. I use Google Docs too, it's great :)

      • by KhabaLox (1906148) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:49PM (#40667891)

        You're shilling, but you're not completely full of shit.*

        my Microsoft email client tells me who is sitting at their desk right now

        I find that useful, but at my job it appears to be tied to Lync. Co-workers who don't use Lync appear offline. But perhaps other installs of Exchange provide the same functionality.

        has one click-desktop sharing, conferencing, file sharing, tasks, goals, sales tasks, decisions, votes, and still works when i have little or no internet.

        OK, this sounds like bullshit. How do I with one-click do any of those things? And how do I share my desktop when I have not internet?

        It is a cockpit for daily work and efficiency.

        Maybe, but meh. So I use my inbox to as a to-do list, big whoop.

        When my laptop gets toasted, I have zero data loss and I get it all back as it was with 1-click,

        Really? How? Office doesn't force me to save on the network, or even on SharePoint**. And I'm not aware of any Office backup solution that has one click restore. Where is this feature.

        and while windows is being reinstalled I still have access to almost everything over any browser/smartphone.

        I can't edit word docs or spreadsheets effectively on a smartphone. I use Office 2010, not Google Docs, so I can't access my files through a browser.

        Did I mention that all my Russian, Greek, Arabic and Chinese mails all render properly?

        This may be true. I know it handles all the accents in French well enough. I don't read any of those other languages, so not a big selling point for me at least.

        Sure I can install 15 pieces of software to do that, but not throughout the entire organisation. MS-Office is installed & enterprise-licensed in 1 click, and with another click synchronized from the server.

        Again with the one-click claim. Now, the intranet-based upgrade from 2007 to 2010 was one click I believe, but every time I've installed MS software (and most other software) there's always been multiple clicks. And this is how it should be. Not everyone person should have exactly the same install.

        *I take it back. You are full of shit. Only the first thing you mention is useful and mostly true, and (at least in my experience) comes from a non-Office product.

        **Don't get me started on SP. IT was supposed to upgrade our site to 2010 and none of the files or permissions came over. Perhaps not a flaw of SP, but I have my suspicions.

  • by joelsherrill (132624) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:12PM (#40667127) Homepage

    Easy integration with Skydrive sounds really cool until you think about this inside any organization which doesn't want its files stored on a public cloud. Can this be disabled across an enterprise install easily? Can it be switched to an organization's private cloud?

  • My theory (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:15PM (#40667159)

    Microsoft is going to replace the hated "Ribbon" with a more-hated "Bow".

    On the downside it will require untying to get at the menu item you want. On the bright side it will be configured as a Moebius strip, so if you don't find the menu item your looking for you can just keep clicking and you'll eventually get there.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:15PM (#40667165) Homepage

    I'm sure that he, along with other good staunch conservatives, would be unhappy with a Metro-centric interface, because it's only a short step from that to some sort of Cross-Platform interface, and from there it could end up completely Homogenous and involve multiple machines.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:16PM (#40667171) Journal

    Arstechnica has a more comprehensive review [arstechnica.com].

    Also they were kind enough to divide the new features by individual product. Word is here [arstechnica.com], so is excel [arstechnica.com], outlook [arstechnica.com], as well as powerpoint [arstechnica.com].

    I just briefly went through them but the general improvements is that you can share documents with your coworkers with its cloud add ons as well as import and export your work documents with integrated skydrive from your work/home pcs. For individual programs, Excel has a new intellisense that works in cells so you can select commonly used names and formulas with a transparent window that wont obstruct your data. MS calls this ghosting. Outlook has Bing and map integration for directions and travel data as well as having a multiview pane so you do not have to close the calendar to view your todo list for example. Word, well I didn't see anything worthwhile except for some extra formatting options for brochures and other material and a souped up track it list where you can even do text messages in them for things like "Bob redo these figures - boss". Does this mean they are axing MS Publisher? They seem to be covering the same functionality. There is some other stuff that I will read later because it is detailed.

    What is clear is this is surprisingly strongly aimed at corporations. MS is getting back to its strength as a groupware product that ties to corporate infrastructure.
    The ones who still are holding on to IE 6/8, XP, and Office 2k3. College students or home users will not see that much improvement. Also Neowin mentioned MS is killing both Vista and XP support [neowin.net] with Office 2013. This office suite is aimed to get those corporations dragging their feet with Windows 7.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:31PM (#40667285) Homepage Journal

    Now THAT'S productive. Because having to juggle Open Office, Office 2003 and 2007 aren't enough. Now we need a UI for an Office suite that purports to not require any physical input at all.

  • Enh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:38PM (#40667319) Journal

    Still using Office 2000. I still don't see any reason to upgrade. It's Office, not heart surgery.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:44PM (#40667357)

    The only thing they need to do to improve office at this point is purge the blasphemy of the ribbon UI abomination and restore good pure drop down menu's to their righteous glory.

  • Formatting? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:17PM (#40667631)
    Will this be the first office to have a good formatting engine in place. Features such as auto numbering, auto bullets and the rest, are they all going to work? I say this after fighting with office 2007 and 2010 today as the auto numbering system completely corrupted my document. Office doesn't need any more cosmetic updates, it doesn't need any more ribbons, any more hidden menus or any more flash. What office needs is to be redesigned at its core, features like its formatting system need to redesigned to work. Features like it's grammar and spell check engine need to be worked on, if Microsoft tries hard they might be able to release a document system as good or better then Libre Office, but I doubt it!
  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:29PM (#40667723)

    I just started to get used to the ribbon interface

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday July 16, 2012 @08:04PM (#40668005) Journal

      It's still Ribbon. When it says "Metro", it really just means that the ribbon is now completely flat with no gradients, and all icons are flat as well. There don't seem to be any functional differences in how it works, except for this thing called "touch mode" (a toggle in Quick Access bar) which just makes all Ribbon buttons larger - and by default it's off (I dunno, maybe it tries to detect if touchscreen is present - I didn't try it on a tablet).

  • Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Monday July 16, 2012 @08:41PM (#40668227) Journal
    Because MS is almost totally balkanised. The OS group had a come to Jesus moment (facilitated by some visits from Their Owners) and came up with Metro / Win8 etc. The rest of the company is thinking "WTF?" So when it came time for the new Office, rather than implement The New Wave of MS OS garbage, they're sticking to the product plans that have been in place since the Clinton Administration. "Steady as she goes - the Office division will weather this storm... The OS team will get its telephony ass kicked by Apple. Apple's going to stop making serious computers, anyway, go back to developing for serious computers, and churn out the same old shite we've been peddling since the President of Sierra Leone, Valentine Strasser, was deposed by the chief of defence, Julius Bio. Then, we'll be back to the same old same old and own the world for another day."

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