Office 2013 Hits Consumer Preview
July 16, 2012 4:05 PM
Metro, cloud, and third party options are key improvements
Microsoft Corp.'s (
) star attraction is the
controversial massive revamp
of its Windows operating system franchise,
, set to air
But it today
a significant preview of its
key moneymaker -- the Office suite. Office 15 will be known as Office 2013 when it launches sometime later this year. The software just hit Consumer Preview, packed with features that reflect Microsoft shifting vision.
The user interface is relatively similar to
, but the Metro style, with hard edges, solid colors and pastel themes are there. Similar to the
changes to Windows Explorer
, this Metro UI makeover creeps up on you, rather than walloping you right away.
Office 365 Home Premium
subscription user can now install one-time use Office apps on an internet-connected client PC. Basically this allows you to migrate your license to whatever machine you want. For users in general, there's also direct access to cloud storage
Third Party Integration
Via logins you can access various accounts, such as your Facebook, Inc. (
) network profile or a Flickr account to ad pictures. Videos are now embeddable, as well, with support for YouTube, and other less popular alternatives. Excel also has a special data-driven scripting extension language codenamed Agaves, which will allow you to unify your spreadsheet data with online data.
There is a touch mode in the Consumer Preview, but its functionality is currently limited. When it touch mode, click elements enlarges them, offering an automatic workflow tool in addition to your standard gestures. Expect Microsoft to expand on this bare-bones implementation in upcoming builds.
can't quit search
, despite its monetary losses, and it's determined to find ways to productize it. One way is to integrate Bing results directly into the Office interface. You can now access Bing Search via the "Insert an Image" Ribbon widget, allowing for quicker grabs of internet images (because opening up the browser is so tough, we know).
Office 2013 may tread closer to traditionalism than Windows 8 on the surface, but digging deeper, all the key direction shifts for Microsoft are there. Expect beefier touch support in weeks to come, given Microsoft's deep commitment to
bleeding edge touch products
For now check out the Consumer Preview for yourself, available
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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