Microsoft Office 2013 review: Designed for tablets, but great for everyone

I in truth like the new Microsoft Office 2013, flush knowing there are several free productiveness suites available out there. I would n’t blame you for asking why you would pay for it when you could get a comparable set of office tools from Google Docs and respective early services for a fortune less or even free. But after using Office 365 Home premium on both a pill and a desktop personal computer for the survive few days, I can tell you that there are plenty of reasons to trade up. A note about terminology : there are an enormous number of versions of the Microsoft Office suite available across the home and business categories. You can purchase and download standalone versions with either Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 ( $ 139 ) or Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013 ( $ 219 ). There are extra versions with bulk price for small and large businesses. But what Microsoft is banking on are the subscription services that have a few more perks, such as endless upgrades as they become available, and still offer most of the like downloadable software. These are Office 365 Home Premium ( $ 99.99 per class ) and Office 365 Small Business Premium ( $ 150 per year ). There ‘s besides a big deal for current students, Office 365 University at alone about $ 40 per year ( with a minimal biennial subscription ). The price breakdown and naming conventions are highly confuse, but ZDNet ‘s Mary Jo Foley tries to make sense of it all here. Update: Microsoft announced on March 6, 2013 it has changed the license for stand-alone versions of Office 2013. At launching, if you bought Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 or Home and Business 2013, you would be able to use the cortege on merely one computer, for the life sentence of that computer. After apprehensible grumbling from users about the restrictive license, Microsoft has changed it to allow users to transfer Office 2013 to another computer once every 90 days. This way, if you need to buy a new computer, you ‘ll now be able to transfer Office 2013, where before you would need to buy another copy. CNET Blog Network generator Lance Whitney has more data about Microsoft ‘s license changes here.

With all that said, what I ‘m reviewing hera is Office 365 Home Premium, and I decidedly like what I see — particularly when I can put it on five machines for $ 100 per year. For starters it ‘s available wherever you are, on whatever device you ‘re using at the time. With fully touch-screen digest, the stallion cortege has been reinvented to work with Windows 8-driven tablets and smartphones, making much of the work flow a lot easier than before regardless of the hardware you ‘re using. Along with a redesign interface, all of these things come together to make the best agency so far. Office as a subscription
As I said above, the cloud-connected Office 365 suite comes in freestanding versions for dwelling and business, with the home version available today and the business version available at the end of February. You can get one of the desktop standalone versions of the new Office, but I do n’t think it ‘s the best room to experience Office. With today ‘s spill, it ‘s clear Microsoft would prefer you sign up for the subscription because the standalone versions wo n’t receive all the upgrades over time that you would get with Office 365 Home Premium. In fact, with a subscription plan, Microsoft says you ‘ll never have to buy another new version of Office again. But whether you choose to pay one time for the new Office or sign up for a subscription to Office 365, you ‘ll largely get the accurate lapp know I ‘m writing about hera. It ‘s lone later, when Office gets upgraded again, that the standalone versions will become outdated.
so why should you get the new Office ? In a word : public toilet. I ‘m not barely talking about the appliance of continuing to use what you ‘ve used before — I ‘m talking about the cortege itself. What Microsoft has done in this latest version is make Office available on a tablet running Windows 8 and, in converting the countless productivity tools to support touch screens, the company had to make most actions merely one click ( or tap ) away. so while it has streamlined the suite out of necessity for Windows 8 and use on tablets, it ‘s now easier to use than ever before careless of the hardware you ‘re using it on. It ‘s important to note that the software works evenly adenine well if you ‘re running Windows 7, but does not work with earlier versions of Windows. Setting up a subscription for the Mac version will lone let you install Office 2011 on five Macs, with updates to the Mac version coming in the next year. In other words, Mac users will see no improvement right now. On Windows, Microsoft lets you install Office 365 on five unlike computers with your single subscription, each with its own customizable experience that is tied to each Microsoft account. This means you could be creating a PowerPoint display in one room on your report, while your daughter writes an essay in another on hers, and each of you can give the Office apps personalized themes, and each will see the most holocene documents tied to your personal account. All of your work is attached to your Microsoft explanation and backed up to Microsoft ‘s SkyDrive, so you ‘ll be able to access your function anywhere. You can already get 7GB of distance on SkyDrive now for complimentary, but with these Office 365 Home Premium subscription plans you get an extra 20GB. The features that set Office 365 apart from most loose offerings are the consolidation between the apps in the cortege and an enormous collection of premade templates to fulfill about any productivity want. The templates all have a polished and professional spirit so you ‘ll waste about no prison term creating documents from strike. The cortege of apps works seamlessly together — and with Microsoft ‘s services — making collaboration, sharing, and communications much easier. Installation
Installing Office is the lapp whether you bought a standalone copy or signed up for the subscription — it begins with a quick trip to Simply enter the product key you received from the retailer ( Microsoft, Amazon, or any of several others ) and follow the bit-by-bit action from there. You ‘ll then download the digital copies of the software in the suite to use straight off your hard campaign.
The Ribbon is inactive here and offers a wealth of tools across each yellow journalism as it detects the most common uses for the content you have selected. But if you do n’t like the Ribbon, you now have the option to hide it and bring it back only when you need it . Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET The interface
The interface across the stallion cortege of applications has been reinvented, by and large for the better. First off, the Ribbon, which disappointed many users when it first appeared in Office 2007, remains region of the newly Office. But before you start grumbling, consider that Microsoft has made it optional this time about. therefore now you can show or hide the exhaustive collections of tools across every tab, and decide how a lot or how little you want to use them. In my inspection of Office 2010 I liked the Ribbon, but I ‘ve heard enough from users who disagree to know that Microsoft has made a wise change.
aside from the Ribbon, the interface is exchangeable but much simpler than it was in Office 2010 and earlier. newly added starting signal pages for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel avail you get to holocene documents attached to your account and new templates immediately upon launch. two-dimensional buttons and enough of whiten space make the interface search less crowded. other interface tweaks are tablet-focused such as the radial menu in OneNote that express options ( like sharing, research, and soar tools ) in a circle around the area you press. The general feel of the cortege is more streamline and more cloud-integrated, and the new start pages for the core apps will be specially useful for those looking at the same documents on several devices. The new Presenter View in PowerPoint shows you the next chute in the presentation on the correct and offers tools ( like a virtual laser pointer ) and your notes on the leave then you constantly know what ‘s coming up following . Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

The software
The main core apps of the suite have all been updated with the new look and several raw features that can be used with touch-screen tablets, desktop computers, and smartphones. In Office 365 Home Premium you get all the most-used Office software including Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher.
Microsoft has made using Office 2013 a smoother have all around, which is discernible not fair in the interface, but with tweaks to the apps that will make getting things done easy. As an example, a new Read Mode in Word lets you flip through documents on a pad as if turning pages in a book, and offers lone the features that help you with common reading actions such as controls for defining words, translations, and searching the Web. But flashier features that have been added in the new adaptation of Word let you view television right within documents ( with an on-line association ), making Word documents much more utilitarian as a presentation creature. There are besides other time-savers like the option to collapse sections of a text file to get them out of the way while take, and a seafaring acid that lets you know at a glance where you are in the document. Some of these options probably just seem like common sense, but what Microsoft has done has made many complex actions in earlier versions of the suite require alone a couple of clicks or taps in Office 2013. Whether you ‘re creating a newsletter, a booklet, or a birthday calling card, Publisher has a short ton of templates to help you along . Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET The major composition is that the most utilitarian features are only a chatter ( or tap ) away. In Excel, for example, you have the Quick Analysis Lens that lets you click a modest check to view several recommended ways of visualizing highlighted data in a spreadsheet. From here it only takes one more click to apply formatting, create a Sparkline, or add a graph or table. Suppose you have been working on a presentation in one theme in PowerPoint, but want to give it a new look. With merely a couple of clicks, you can change themes ( and flip through variants of themes ) and your content will move to fit the new stylus. PowerPoint besides offers a fresh Presenter horizon that lets you interact with and look at your presentation with add notes, and perform actions like promptly switching slides, all behind the scenes. Outlook has time-savers as well, with a newly have called Peeks that lets you peek at your schedule or a particular appointment without the interruption of leaving a message window. You besides have sociable connectors that show things like Facebook status if you ‘re connected to a contact through Facebook adenine well. All of these promptly features add appliance and cut out steps you would have had to perform in earlier versions of Microsoft Office. Along with the tweaks and improvements to the more long-familiar Office software, Office 2013 gives you a means to distribute your work in Publisher, and a manner to create custom databases ( with little database experience ) in Access. publisher makes it easy to gather and lay out your content for use in brochures, fliers, calendars, and posters. You can cursorily import images and click-and-drag to move them approximately to find the perfect expect. The app comes with stylistic effects for textbook, and you can add soft shadows and reflections to give your stick out a more master feel. When you ‘re finished, Publisher besides makes it slowly to take your work to any print workshop, with standards-compliant layouts and common double file formats that do n’t require extra software on the part of the denounce. With Access, you get brawny database tools that you wo n’t need extensive education to use. You can create complex customer touch lists, or function premade project management tools, and Access already has the templates ready so you about never need to start from scratch. Like all of the software in the Office 365 Home Premium cortege, Access provides you with respective coarse starting points, leaving it up to you to fill in the blanks with your content and data. By making the new Office cook for touch screens, Microsoft streamlined many of the most common tasks to require lone a copulate of clicks. One of the new features of Excel is the ability to highlight data, and have the software recommend the best graph or graph to represent that datum . Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET Office in the clouds
Though you can only use Office 365 with a subscription on five machines, another modern sport called Office on Demand will come in handy whenever you ‘re off from your selected devices. This have lets you download a full copy of the software you need ( such as Word or Excel ) on any personal computer running Windows 7 or by and by, and shows you your late documents good as you ‘d see them at home. When you ‘re finished making changes or edits to a document, you can close the application and it is removed from the personal computer you ‘re working on.
Office 365 Home Premium tries to cover all the bases for personal productivity, and in my tests it did an admirable problem. With the focus on making the suite available on Windows 8 tablets, the company made many actions easier across the suite out of necessity, and so it ‘s easier to use in general, careless of the type of device you are working on.

The subscription-based service might be hard to swallow for some, but there ‘s constantly the standalone Office 2013 download. The only trouble is, if you do n’t subscribe you wo n’t get all the bang-up swarm features like Office on Demand, and you ‘ll miss out on major updates to the software as time goes on. obviously, Microsoft would love to get you paying regularly for your Office suite, but it remains to be seen if people will get on display panel with the subscription-based model. The question ( much like with the plunge of Windows 8 ) is how people will receive the newfangled interface, and whether users will embrace the touch-screen engineering. Are we going to see a tide in Windows 8 tablets purchased as a solution, or will people ignore the new technical school and adhere with their desktops ? fortunately, Office works well on both touch-screen and desktop computers, so it ‘s not a decision you ‘ll need to make right away. The other burning question is whether consumers will opt for the streamlined experience of Office or choose to use a suite such as Google Docs for loose. Office is a better overall have, but it ‘s no secret that money can be the decide component for many people. From what I ‘ve seen, this newfangled version is Microsoft ‘s best Office suite however for dwelling users, if the company can convince people to discard the free-to-play options for a more polish, integrated, cloud-friendly, and streamlined experience .

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