Microsoft Office 2013 review

Like Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8, the new Office suite of office productivity apps taps heavily into the cloud to deliver some of its most impressive new features. By leveraging the cloud, you can access, edit, share, and collaborate on documents with colleagues, family, and friends wherever you are - in the office, at home, or on the go. And Office achieves that by storing Office documents on SkyDrive (or SharePoint, for business users).

It's not just documents that you can store on the cloud; the whole Office is on the cloud. When you sign in to your Microsoft account, you'll find settings, templates, and even the custom dictionary, just the way you left them.

The new Office is more touch friendly than ever too, since it's designed from the start to work closely with touch-enabled devices like tablets and smartphones. Because your documents and settings roam with you, you can now easily create a Word document on your work PC, edit it on your Windows Phone during the commute, and finish it off via Office Web Apps at home. Regardless of the device you use, formatting and styles are preserved.

While the new Office runs well on a Windows 7 PC, you get the best experience when it's on a Windows 8 device. For one, Windows 8 has support for a wide variety of input devices and linking tools - keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, stylus - you name it. With neat little touches like suggestions when you mistype a word and keyboard layout that automatically adjusts to the language you choose, Windows 8 rids many of the annoyances associated with a touchscreen keyboard. All the new Office apps also have a Touch Mode which spaces controls a bit further from one another so that it's easier to hit the desired touch targets.

Expectedly, to keep you with the new 'Modern' style interface that we now see in Windows 8, the new Office is also getting interface makeover. Across the board, we see a flatter and less cluttered user interface, compared to previous versions of Office with their interplay of colors and shadows. Indeed, by keeping the styling simple (or 'less chrome', in Microsoft's own words), it allows users to focus better on the real tasks at hand.

Which Office Suite should you get?

The new Office comes in a number of editions to suit individual, home, educational, and business needs. Office 2013 is your traditional desktop software with a perpetual license. With a Microsoft account, you can still enjoy the conveniences of a cloud-connected Office, such as online document storage and sharing. Office 365, on the other hand, offers the new Office as a paid subscription service. Microsoft is also offering a new Home Premium plan for families. This plan allows Office to be used on up to five computers, and five mobile devices. Office 365 is also available in business, education, and government editions.

For ARM-based devices that run Windows RT, there's Office Home & Student 2013 RT, which consists of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. While it touts complete document compatibility, due to security, and battery life considerations, certain features (support for macros, add-ins features that rely on ActiveX) have to be omitted. However, this edition of Office comes free - it comes pre-installed when you buy a Windows RT device, such as the Samsung Ativ Tab.

Lastly, Microsoft-hosted versions of Office server products such as Exchange, SharePoint, Project, and Lync are available as part of Office 365 for businesses. They can be also be deployed on-premised, or as a combination of both in a hybrid deployment.

Office 365 Home Premium

Suffice it to say, you should choose an Office package that best suits your needs. However, for home users, the $138 per year Office Office 365 Home Premium subscription plan looks to be a very attractive proposition. And this becomes even more so as Microsoft makes the licensing terms of the locally installed, perpetually-licenced versions of Office Home & Student 2013, Office Homes & Business 2013, Office Standard 2013, and Office Professional 2013 touch, and increases their prices by at least 10% compared to their predecessors.

In addiction to using Office (PC users get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Outlook, Access and Publisher; Mac users don't have OneNote, Access, and Publisher) on up to five computers shared among users in a household, Home Premium also lands the subscriber and additional 20GB of SkyDrive storage (you already have 7GB from your Microsoft account), and 60 minutes worth of Skype talk time every month. Also, Office 365 is always kept up to date automatically with the latest features and services; you even get to reassign the five devices any time you want.

Another great feature that only Office 365 subscribers get is Office on Demand. Need to run Excel on a friend's Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC that doesn't have the app installed? Just stream the application over. When you close the app, it'll be removed from the PC.

Office 365 Home Premium offers the best value if you have a household of five. Consider this: Even if you were to subscribe it for five years for $690, you still save more than getting five copies of Office Home & Student 2013 for $945 (at $189 per copy). And remember, you don't get Outlook, Publisher, and Access in Office Home and Student 2013, so it's advantage to Office 365 if you use any of these apps.

Now, if you are currently a college or university student, you're eligible (after a verification process) for Office 365 University that's available as a 4-year subscription.
Microsoft Office 2013 review Microsoft Office 2013 review Reviewed by Echo on 3:55:00 PM Rating: 5


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