A couple of days ago, Microsoft Announced the upcoming release of their Office 2013 and Office 365 products and while I am not much of a fan of Microsoft Products, MS Office is one of those things that is very hard to get away from. So I fired up my Windows VM and started down the path to look and see if the new Cloud Ready Office is all that it is cracked up to be. Sure some of you may be saying, this new Office ever 2 or 3 years is getting sickening…and I would at times agree because there is not enough of a change usually to warrant it being called a new Version…2013…is not like the past!
The Customer Preview is completely FREE and can be installed on up to 5 Computers from www.office.com/preview.
I could not believe how quickly the new Office was ready to open up and use, I remember past iterations taking hours to install but this Office 365 Preview was up and ready in less than 5 minutes as I only needed to enter my Live.com ID and Accept the Terms of Service.
The Preview comes with the newest Versions of Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word and One Note.
MS Access 2013
As the most under used piece of the Office Family but one that I have always enjoyed tremendously building and manipulating Data to be more useful. The layout and functions of Access 2013 was easy to get used to but the going “old school” with the look of the Ribbon was an interesting choice.
MS Excel 2013
The workhorse of the Modern Enterprise has been Excel. Since it over ran Lotus 123 decades ago every department from Accounting to Sales and from Marketing to Manufacturing leverages the power of Spreadsheet Data manipulation. While I did not dive into the creation of any Macros or special formatting…catching on to the new layout was not a foreign as making the move from Office 2003 to Office 2007 was.
MS Outlook 2013
The Email Client of choice (or at least by availability) for many of us at work has been Outlook for years. But the feel of Outlook in the past few iterations of MS Office have left it looking a little left out of the wonders of the new Office Suite. That has changed dramatically with Outlook 2013. I will dive into this one in a later post but, this is not your old Email Program that is for sure!
MS OneNote 2013
In all honesty, I still don’t get the point of OneNote! Ok so there is times that you don’t need to have a Word Doc to jot things down…sure the is a the Clipboard options…but really? Now maybe with the Touch Screen enabled actions for the Oct 6 release of Windows 8 this will actually have some relevance but it got a facelift and is included.
MS PowerPoint 2013
Death by PowerPoint never worked so smoothly for those of us tasked with the building of a presentation. The style and functionality is still there, and it well just works. It displayed all of my previous PPT files without a problem and renders exactly how I would like. That is important to remember that while there is lots of extras under the hood of the 2013 model…I have not found any issues yet that would create a “version control issue” like past releases.
MS Publisher 2013
Desktop Publishing for the masses. This is the program that enabled every person to become a graphic designer and produce “master pieces” of Digital and Print Marketing. The reality is…it is solid, it does what it does well…but in the hands of the wrong person…it is still very dangerous. All the features and functions from my days of assisting my mother in her Printing Business are still there and many new features have been added but I have been removed from this world long enough not to pretend to be an expert anymore.
MS Word 2013
What can you say. You need to write a Letter or a Proposal…well you will use Word. 90% of the advanced features will once again not be used in this version but like its other brothers and sisters in the 2013 Suite…it looks nice, functions the way it should and has some interesting new features built in.
So overall…with just a top level look at the new Suite…I would say that if the Office 365 offering that I tried is priced right, works correctly and is built with the same usual standards, it might just be worth it. The direct connection to the 1000’s of templates right from the home screen of each Application is a nice touch and the Social Connections and Sky Drive Interface could be real win.
Now if they can bring 2013 to the iPad and Android Tablets…along with the tight integration with Windows 8…then say good night Apple and Google. The KING of the ENTERPRISE is not yet ready to retire!
Chris J Powell