Updated 22 May, 2013, 11:42 am IST
Microsoft Office 2013: First impressions
| by Karan Shah
Microsoft Corp.'s CEO Steve Ballmer recently unveiled the customer preview of the new Microsoft Office, optimised for Windows 8 and touch-based devices like tablets. This release features an intuitive design that works beautifully either with touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard across new Windows devices. The new Office is social and unlocks modern scenarios in reading, note-taking, meetings and communications, and will be delivered to subscribers through a cloud service. We decided to give it a quick try and here are our initial impressions on the widely used applications that form Office 2013.
Aesthetics and UI enhancements
Office 2013 is slick and buttery smooth. There hasn't been much change to the UI, with the same ribbons, options and enhancements still there, but there are a ton of new features that we have individually covered below. However, the overall aesthetics and user interface of this new version is simply beautiful – from the smooth refresh rate for the cursor and the lag-free, fluid scrolling to neat little subtle animations, everything feels buttery. The colour styles are well chosen, giving this new Office a very minimalistic yet professional look. Let’s have a look at the individual applications below.
Images in Word now come with live layout and alignment. What this indicates is that if you add an image to your text and move it around the page, your text automatically aligns itself based on where the image is placed, in real time. You also have a simple mark-up view that provides you with a clean, uncomplicated view of your document, but you still see markers where changes and comments have been made. You can click on the vertical bar on the left side of the text to see the changes. Or click the comment icon on the right to check out comments about the text. The read mode has got a neat little trick – all images can be expanded from the read view itself, giving you a uniform read in a single window.
Users can also add and play online videos inside their Word documents. You can also add pictures from Facebook, Flickr, and other online photo services without having to save them to your computer. Click Insert > Online Video to add a video to the document.
Image-only PDFs didn’t have as many editing options like we have seen with free online software, but PDFs with texts are now easy to edit and save. We’re not sure if this is a good thing, though; editing PDFs was always known to be a complicated process and this may just be an easy way out for those wanting to make changes in their PDF files.
Flash filling your data is now a part of Excel 2013. It’s really helpful for those working with insanely large numbers of spreadsheets with similar actions for particular rows and columns. For example, you start typing the first names of your email IDs which are in column 1 and the rest of the names are added automatically. Simple, yet saves a lot of time.
You can analyze data using live previews and Excel gives you a quick analytical chart in the column itself, showing you the differences between the different values. A recommended chart option in the Insert tab lets Excel recommend you charts based on the data you have entered. The look and feel of Excel may not be a complete overhaul from previous versions, but why fix something that’s not broken? With the new subtle animations and smooth transitions, the experience with Excel 2013 makes us like it even more.
Tags: Office 2013 hands on , Microsoft , Office 2013 first impressions , Office 15 hands on , Office 15 features , Office 2013 features , Office 15 first impressions , Office 15 review , Office 2013 review
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