Software

First look: Microsoft Office 2013

Word 2013 Options

The Word 2013 options menu is very similar to the options menu in 2010. This will be an interesting place to explore in the coming months.

All images by Mark Kaelin prepared for TechRepublic. All rights reserved.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

37 comments
Dr. Frumious Bandersnatch
Dr. Frumious Bandersnatch

Really no reason to change (I refuse to call it an "Upgrade") and the subscription option is totally out there. Could someone PLEASE replace Ballmar before all of Microsoft's products become unusable?

janitorman
janitorman

And, haven't they got rid of the "ribbon" thing yet? I haven't upgraded from 2003 because of it.

HarveyWright
HarveyWright

I was glancing over the comments and noticed that someone was having an issue with the Office 2013. I am not sure this is any help but: I installed Win 8 RC and Office 2013 seems to live well along side Office 2010 Pro using the 8 - RC. All my office icons look like Office 2013's but if I open Office 2013 I can load all my office 2010 things fine. I haven't tried to save in Office 2013 format then try to open them in 2010 (Word) but I was even able to build a dummy Excel worksheet in 2013 and it was readable and editable using 2010. I haven't tried any Macros yet. Not sure how things work on my Win 7 Pro, haven't tried it yet. The only thing that broke on Win 8 - RC was a couple of computer games that I don't play much everything else seem to work fine.

mdt1955
mdt1955

It occurs to me in viewing Mark's First Look images that behavior of apps between a classic desktop PC and a touch-centric device such as a tablet or AIO desktop with touch screen may be significantly different in the brave, new Windows 8 world. For example (and I may be wrong about this), it appears that Mark used a non-touch, standard PC to explore Office 2013. As a result, we have no "first look" of how screen gestures come into play. Perhaps editors should consider this in future First Look features.

8string
8string

This review is not a review at all. Just screenshots of an install. What I'm interested in is the difference between what I'm using now, which equates to the investment in training I've made, etc, and the benefits of moving everything to a new, unproven, interface. I don't see anything here, yet, that seems compelling at all. I've heard about 'social network' integration, but don't see any sign of it in your screenshots.

84web
84web

I moved from MS Office to OpenOffice and LibreOffice and never once regretted it . I am NOT liking window 8 so far. Some of us still use real computers and not pocket PC. Looks like I'll say goodby to the MS OS soon.

davidjbell
davidjbell

Each new version of Office has become more bloated and slow to load and use. I have licence rights on a group of PCs to upgrade from 2007 to 2010 but having upgraded one or two I have stopped as it takes a lifetime to install and runs like a dog on reasonable XP PCs. I dread what 2013 might be like. Also will Outlook 2013 stop hanging as my 2007 still does; I'm not hopeful.

hjs1951
hjs1951

What is its purpose?

TK182
TK182

I would definitely like a better look at OneNote. So far things look great but are there enough major changes to make users want to upgrade?

abcsal
abcsal

where can we get the preview copy of ms office 2013. I installed win 8 prview and want to preview office 8 with it.

rpatton
rpatton

From what i can see access is amon the missing. Is it being considered a developers tool now. I do a load of work with that progrma nad i am even reluctatnt to load Office 2010 with all of the issues that exist for conversion of access 2007 to Access 2010. Only Bill and God know what convolutions are next for the program!

vsmith1
vsmith1

I still don't see much really new from Off2010. The question about SDI and MDI is key, after all these years I cannot understand why there is such a difference between the components of Office. I wonder whether Recent Documents will improve as often it does not show all recent documents. The small and unlabelled and often obscure icons used in the Ribbon seem no better, the ribbon I find takes up too much screen for having it constantly on display. I bet that on a smaller screen tablet that will be even more so. As for all Caps for the menu items - and coloured menus - I don't see the benefit and certainly will not be consistent across the whole platform. I wonder if they have improved the Zoom features in PowerPoint - like the Zoom control for the outline window to be consistent with the main display zoom control; like identical table controls in PowerPoint as in Word, etc. And please, please can we make Visio more consistent!!!

bjluedeke
bjluedeke

In Office 2010, Word is a single document interface while Excel is a multi document interface. Did this carry through to 2013 or did they introduce more consistency? Single is nice for dual monitors when you want to do a side-by-side comparison because you can more easily maximize both windows. Multi is nice because it reduces clutter. I think It would be optimum if you could choose, just like you can with tabs in current internet browsers. Implementing tabs would greatly enhance an MDI. You could more easily see what files you have open and quickly select the tab to move between them. How about if you could tear off a tab and turn it into an SDI or drag and drop to return it to an MDI? Wouldn't that be awesome! If that capability was introduced into Office 2013, I'd consider an upgrade.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It doesn't look like this preview can be downloaded, either the suite as a whole or the five components individually. The MS preview is nothing but text and screen shots. Previous versions of Office have also included a variety of minor but often useful tools as part of the suite. I wonder what will be dropped or added? I miss the Document Imaging tool from the 2007 version.

iain
iain

I just had a problem uninstalling Ofice 2013 preview. It dosen't seem to live alongside Office 2010 on Windows 7 Pro 64bit very well and was causing me no end of problems with a particular application that uses Word - and which had defaulted to Word 2013 - which failed to open! I tried using the uninstall from Control Panel/Add and Remove Programs but that just hung (on item 2 of 5) for over an hour with nothing happening. As luck would have it, I had a restore from a few days before I installed Office 2013 and therefore mnage to eliminate all traces! I would definately advise making a restore point before doing anything!

theempire2001
theempire2001

I was a little worried they'd change the interface completely to fit in the the whole Metro thing but it looks a lot like a blockier version of 2010 so I'm not particularly bothered. I'll probably upgrade to it once I can get a good deal.

chuckchuck
chuckchuck

Subject says it all . . . I have no logical reason to upgrade.

Gisabun
Gisabun

More Metro crap. Microsoft is turning "square". :-)

emerald5468
emerald5468

I installed it on Windows 7 and love it. I like the sleek look, but still trying to find all the new features to use in all the MS Office programs offered in 2013 version.

SirWizard
SirWizard

Some novice-level users apparently like the ribbon, though it's hard for me to imagine why. If Microsoft had provided the option to use EITHER the (fully customizable) Office 2003 toolbars/menus interface or the bulky, illogical (and crippled) ribbon, I'd have purchased the 2007 and 2010 upgrades. So would have a huge number of other users. They are incredibly stupid at Microsoft, crippling the user interface and their sales at the same time. They should take a cue from another Washington State business: I can go with friends to Starbucks, and although I don't like coffee, they will sell me tea or hot chocolate, and everybody is happy.

Marshwiggle
Marshwiggle

... only I'm still using Office 2K, the FIRST time MS turned Word into a single-document interface. When the MDI returned w/ Office XP (2002), I decided that I was NOT going to pay for an upgrade just to get back a feature that I had in Office 97. Now I see from one of the other comments that the SDI came back w/ Office 2010. Microsoft: Talk to your users. They will tell you what needs fixing ... and what doesn't.

emerald5468
emerald5468

I have no problem using Office 2013 and Office 2010 on Wind 7 Pro. I am able to save in Office 2013 and open in 2010 with no problem. Macros work well too.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

That's the chat / video calling utility in Office.

emerald5468
emerald5468

When I downloaded the 2013 preview, it came with Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. I haven't had any problems with the programs - so far...

JJFitz
JJFitz

As an IT Director, I do not allow Microsoft Access on user desktops. The typical user does not know how to design or when to use relational tables. When they crash or get so messed up that the user can no longer use them, they put in a Help Desk request to "fix it". There is often no documentation and no consistent naming convention for files, tables and fields which makes it impossible to "fix". Instead of fixing their mess, I sit with the users, figure out their needs and build a better database in SQL or set up what they usually need, a spreadsheet.

bjluedeke
bjluedeke

Following the link below in the "How to open Excel 2010 files in their own window", the comments on that article pointed to an Office Add-in, called Office Tab. I haven't tried it out yet, but it appears to do what I described above with regards to the tabbed functionality in Office. Not sure if you can tear a tab off and drop one on. There is a free version available for download with limited functionality. http://www.extendoffice.com/download/office-tab-free-edition.html You can download a full version for a 30 day trial. For $25, it will be nice to have at home, but it would be nicer if Microsoft would just include this functionality with Office 2013.

SirWizard
SirWizard

If I could have my neat, logical, FULLY customizable toolbars and menus from Office 2003 grafted onto a later version, I might consider the Office versions after 2003 to be an upgrade. But with the hideous, illogical, inconsistent, space-wasting ribbon and the graphically non-customizable Less-Slow-Access Toolbar, I'll stay with my superbly functional 2003. Plus, I still have my installation media that I can transfer to a new or different machine whenever necessary. By the way, I'm not an occasional user--I'm a tech writer who must power-use my office applications all day long. And to pre-empt anyone who claims I'm too lazy to learn where commands have been moved, that is not the issue. It's 4 clicks in 2007/2010/2013 where 1 did the job in 2003, and where old commands just aren't there anymore. And the other issues I've already mentioned.

fjp
fjp

Still using 2000 here (and XP, of course) :-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

One I see you didn't mention is the creation of a database that benefits a single user person. Usually that person is a lower level supervisor or manager, who creates the DB himself, then inflicts the poorly constructed forms on multiple subordinates. Said supervisor rarely has the skills to create a useful, effective tool, and he and the users spend more time troubleshooting than actually analyzing the data gathered. Eventually the creator leaves, the employees celebrate, and the database is quickly abandoned. I too quit installing Access by default, somewhere around the 2003 version. It's more prone to misuse than even PowerPoint.

bjluedeke
bjluedeke

I too lamented the loss of the toolbars, especially the ability to create toolbars, which I used for programs from time to time. Office 2010 is better than 2007 in the sense that it allows you to customize the ribbon, but it's just not the same. At the risk of sounding like a commercial for software, seeing that I've already promoted another one of their products below (Office Tab), have you seen this add-in that brings back the toolbars to Office? http://www.addintools.com/index.html I have not tried it, so I cannot give my opinion on it, but you can download it and trial it for free for 15 days. After that, it's $29.50 to buy (volume licensing available). There is a version for 2007 and 2010 and beyond. While you are there, check out Office Tab! I'd highly recommend it. It makes Office behave how it should because it makes all of the apps have multi-document inerface through the use of tabs. So much better for quickly moving between open files.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The one who leaves the company with no explanation of how his database is supposed to work. You held on for one more version. I canned it at Office 2000.

SirWizard
SirWizard

Addintools is almost there, but still misses my most crucial UI feature, customization. For all of Office 2003's faults, it has robust customization. Create your own toolbars, populate toolbar buttons with any command / macro / style / font / control / whatever, and customize the graphics on the buttons as desired. For example, on my widescreen monitor, I keep my Word toolbars at a short two rows high (very efficient on real estate), but I have more than 160 buttons, and there's still room for another couple dozen. I have single-click access to every command, font, and style that I might use frequently, or even infrequently, along with macros galore. All of them are in plain sight all the time and showing all their status information all the time. Compare with The Ribbon, where, if I am using commands on the Insert tab, I can't tell whether the current paragraph is formatted to "Keep with next" or not. And compare with Addintools. Can I paste unformatted text easily? It's not easier than clicking my macro-linked Paste Unformatted toolbar button, which is right after the Paste button but has a green gradient clipboard instead of a yellow one. By the way, my Excel toolbars and other Office 2003 apps have customized toolbars, too. When Addintools includes customization capabilities, or if Microsoft provides an interface that I can select to be either The Ribbon OR toolbars & menus, I'll make the change to 2010. But not to 2013 with its goofy licensing.