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First Look: Microsoft Office 2013 369

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-peek dept.
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 masternerdguy (2468142) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:03PM (#40667059)
      Everybody knows the new metro interface will vastly increase productivity. Soon we will stop having to use keyboards and we can all live in the Star Trek future of colorful touch panels for everything! Multi tasking is sooooo 20th century.
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        I don't know how they steer that big ship with just a few buttons on an okudagram. For that matter I don't see how Picard does any work on his little PADD. It doesn't have a keyboard so how does he enter anything?

      • Actually the problem with Office 2013 is it does not play nice with Metro at all. [arstechnica.com]

        This looks very Windows 7 ish with corporate oriented features as a way to yank these corps off of XP. Obviously this version requires Windows 7 & 8. You may hate Windows, but many people love Office and it looks like a decent upgrade for the corps with its social integration and sharing features.

      • As long as my colorful touch panel has MX cherry blue buckling spring switches, I'm ok with that. Oh, wait, that doesn't work? Never mind. I'll take the quaint keyboard, please.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Subscription model: HELL, No.

      Metro Look is windows (ha!) dressing. Subscription would doom Office to the scrap heap of history.

      • by xeoron (639412)
        One of my problems with Metro, visually, is that everything is flat looking... so I think Metro lack dressing.
        • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:52PM (#40668641)

          it lacks common sense too. Windows 8, Metro, latest Xbox dashboard, and now Office 13 - all huge fails. I don't know what the frak is happening to software these days but it's making me take a hard look at whether it's worth dealing with the technical issues of linux.

          Windows 7 is decent, though I much prefer the control panel of XP - too many things you can't do in Win7 or have been buried (like repairing the connection when you're not connected... freaking genius troubleshooting that you need to connect to a network). Still running FF3.6 since the UI in the rest of the browsers out there drive me up the wall. Still running Office 2003 due to stupid freaking ribbons.

          Apple: "There's no option for that"
          Microsoft: "There used to be an option for that"
          Linux: "There's an option for that, go code"
          Google: "There's an option for that, it'll cost every stitch of privacy"
          Mozilla: "Me too! (Not Responding)"

    • Wow. The Metro look is jarring when you first see it. The Office suite was never a model for great UI, but it certainly had somewhat of a visual "brand". At a glance you could always tell that you were using an Office product. Looking at the screenshots of Word, Powerpoint, and Excel without this brand is shocking. Excel might be the most shocking.

      It is kind of like they are trying to pull a reverse-Apple: Apple provides gradients, shadows, reflection, and texture. Maybe Windows decided that they
      • It's not really Metro. Removing 3D and glass everywhere and making it all look dull and flat does not make it Metro.

      • and I just made friends with the Ribbon interface and finally found everything again..... Why Microsoft? Why?
  • 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.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday July 16, 2012 @07:09PM (#40667573) Journal
      Seems like your org need to reassess how it does user training... why aren't the trainees separated according to (1) their needs and (2) their competencies and then trained appropriately?

      And why in the world is training being conducted in front of a room full of people? Might as well record a demo and distribute it. Training on software use should be done in small groups if you want it to be effective.

      I don't think your experience is indicative of problems with MS Office (though those problems DO exist), but more with how businesses handle training.
    • by s73v3r (963317)

      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.

      Sounds like they've just got the wrong person doing the training. If they know it better than you, why aren't they assisting with the training?

    • IT department giving new user training? Holy hell you are doing it totally wrong.

        As an Education Technologist, let me be the first to tell you that IT is the last people that should be training users.

  • 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?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LurkerXXX (667952)

        Which are pretty much worthless to 99% of users. For most folks, 2003 will do everything they need.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Jumplists, ribbon and skydrive integration are worthless

          Out of touch neckbeard status confirmed.

        • by RatBastard (949) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:59PM (#40667501) Homepage

          Are you kidding? Office 97 was more than I ever needed. WordPad with a spell checker is more word processor than most Word users need.

          • Mod this up. Word has a thousand and two features - the average user probably uses 5 - cut, copy, paste, save, undo.
            I look forward to job listings next year requiring 5 years experience with Office 2013

          • by jbolden (176878)

            Maybe more than most /. users need, but they are light office productivity users. Look at the people who live in Excel or Word. They definitely use advanced features. Many of them use VBA scripts or 3rd party add-ons because the built in functionality isn't enough.

      • by loufoque (1400831) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:49PM (#40667415)

        You realize than most of those new features are "revamped user interface", except for 2007 which added a new file format?

      • by bertok (226922)

        That's great, but this time, have they gotten around to fixing any of the bugs & quirks from the older versions that we've all learned to love to hate?

        I mean seriously, it's 2012 already, and in Word 2010 SP1 I still struggle with issues like these:

        - Can't use a font with a PostScript outline and export to PDF. Because of a ~7 year old buy in Word, it gets converted to a bitmap! MOST third-party fonts have PostScript outlines, including practically all of the Adobe Pro fonts. Printing to a "PDF Printer"

    • by davydagger (2566757) on Monday July 16, 2012 @06:15PM (#40667155)
      none. This year they put a 12 on it.

      just a reminder libreoffice runs docx too. Unless you use an INSANE amount of formating, or have really special needs, libreoffice runs faster and works better.

      https://www.libreoffice.org - LibreOffice
      • Simple tables and bullet points on my resume will not work right with the margins if I do not use Office. I even recreated my resume from scratch and it has the same problem. In a business your reputation is on the line if your documents look like crap. If you are a consultant and you send something that doesn't even look right you are fired immediately! I am paying this guy $60 an hour and he can't even use a margin?!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Unless you use an INSANE amount of formating, or have really special needs, libreoffice runs faster and works better.

        Well, you'd certainly have to have special needs to find LibreOffice a suitable replacement for MS Office.

        And you'd also have to not mind the fact that it looks like a bloody day-old abortion, and works about as well.

      • by maugle (1369813)

        Just a reminder libreoffice runs docx too. Unless you use an INSANE amount of formating, or have really special needs, libreoffice runs faster and works better.

        Well, sadly that's not quite the case, especially with long documents produced by people not used to writing long documents. Case in point: my dad tried to open a docx from one of his students. The student apparently couldn't figure out automating the table of contents, so he kept the page numbering consistent by... inserting a freaking manual page break at the end of every page. In a 200-page document.

        When that monstrosity was opened in LibreOffice, small differences in font size/rendering/whatever c

      • by michael_cain (66650) on Monday July 16, 2012 @10:38PM (#40668845) Journal
        Excel is more of a problem. For too much of the world, Excel is the default numerical computation platform because it can be assumed to be available. I'm not saying that Excel is a good platform, just that an enormous amount of the world uses it. And the Windows version has things that neither LibreOffice nor Office for Mac support consistently; eg, Solver and VBA. When Finance and the budget office say that their models and tracking tools require the Windows version of Excel, the decision about the company's standard spreadsheet and word processor has been made.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "What reason is there to upgrade?"

      Heretic!

      Don't you know Change is Progress?

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      I got you beat. I'm still using Office 97. I wonder what employers think when I send-out my resume and the little popup says, "Converting from Word97"? (shrug). I refuse to buy Microsoft again. If Office 97 refuses to run on some future Win8 or Win9, then I will just switch to freebie software like LibreOffice.

    • by antdude (79039)

      I still use Office 2000 SR-3/with all updates and its compatibilty pack at home in an old, updated Windows XP Pro. SP3. I rarely use Office unlike at work (2007). I also have LibreOffice at home and work as a backup too. :)

  • 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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

      • 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 b

    • 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)

        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

      • 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?

    • Sure. Welcome to the 1980's. It is called a firewall [wikipedia.org]
    • Considering they just announced this thing today, I doubt there will be anything official on group policies for a while. If I was a betting man I would say that there would be some mechanism to turn SkyDrive off. Maybe it would happen automatically when connected to a SharePoint server.
  • 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.

    • I suspect the Fortune 500 company I work for will contentedly continue using Office 2003 on Windows XP.
      • We are less than 2 years away from XP going EOL.

        The time to start planning for that transition, especially at such a large company, was yesterday.

        • My guess is his employer will just pay the $400k yearly maintenance contract and hope their SSDs wont fail due to the lack of trim.

          Wont these employers do not see is CRM dynamics, salesforce, and other online business social companies popping up and integrating with Office. You can manage and share documents with people in other companies utilizing these services with Office 2013 with the cloud.

          That is a boast in productivity right there. But the cost accountants only see costs and not opportunity costs and

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          Are some bits going to rust off or something? Software doesn't wear out.
          • If they aren't connected to the Internet, fine.

            He didn't provide more details, but I'm assuming the worst in this case. :)

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > 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.

      So, they've included their own, incompatible take on Dropbox? Which we've been using for 4 years?

      • by Vancorps (746090)
        Why would it be incompatible? Both products synchronize with a local file store,nothing says you couldn't run both services with the same file store.
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      Whats more likley to happen is that everyone using XP and office 2003 will continue to do so, whats the point of new computers, new operating systems and retraining eeryone on a new office interface when the shit you have has been doing fine for the last decade?

    • by humanrev (2606607)

      Why'd you link to Neowin.net? That place is a cesspool of Microsoft fanboys (particularly thenetavenger - oh my God is he up himself). Sure the info is valid but another site would have been less... grating.

  • 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)

    I just started to get used to the ribbon interface

    • 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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