Software

Hands on with Office 2013

Windows 8 is not the only Microsoft product that is moving from a mouse-centric view of the world to one that embraces touch- and pen-driven actions as well — Microsoft's other cashcow, Office, has also received an interface touch-up.

We were given the opportunity to put Office 2013 through its paces during Microsoft's TechEd conference last week.

The hardware used was a Samsung Series 7 tablet that had Windows 8 Pro installed and packed an Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM.

But the most interesting aspect was the choice of input devices: a bluetooth keyboard and stylus were supplied.

This meant that any scrolling action needed to occur via the use of fingers, as it is not possible to move any viewpoint with the stylus. I would prefer that there was a way to scroll with a stylus by hitting one of the buttons, or adding a new one on the side, that enabled a scroll mode. Something like IE's scroll mode when the middle mouse button is depressed would be nice.

After a couple of hours with the device, and being questioned as to why I would want such a mode (presumably this has never occurred to the design teams at Microsoft or Samsung), I still believe that this is a major oversight at the worst, and a sheer annoyance at the very least.

Having to switch from pen-driven input to finger-driven input may only take a second of your time, but each second of movement adds up very quickly.

Maybe I do not grok finger- and pen-driven navigation yet, but it strikes me as strange that I can have the full range of input operations with a mouse or sole use of finger, but not sole use of a stylus.

Enough ranting; let's move on to the program at hand: Office 2013.

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Chris Duckett attended TechEd as a guest of Microsoft.

About

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

10 comments
jimmyhelu
jimmyhelu

It comes with a mail application built in, there will be a lot of free alternatives I have no doubt and most people have a web-interface to their email accounts as well.

ksaldutti
ksaldutti

If there is no classic office button and I have to eat and crap those ribbons for dummies then no I will stick with office 2003 as millions of other are.

Bruce Butler
Bruce Butler

As far as I'm concerned, they can take the ribbon and shove it where the sun don't shine! For my money the last GOOD version of office was Office 2003!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

has been there since it was introduced in the 2007 version.

Slayer_
Slayer_

If you don't like it, don't buy it, this strategy has worked before with Microsoft, Just look at Windows Vista.

stoneyh
stoneyh

Microsoft apparently made this product look washed out and limited so that their web based equivalents would be more, well.., Equivalent. Office has become such a mature, great looking and feature-rich product it is disappointing that Microsoft would diminish its quality and depth (while simultaneously raising prices) in an attempt to strong-arm a loyal customer base into the freaking "cloud".

reggaethecat
reggaethecat

I've been using Office 2013 and to be honest I hate it, the UI looks washed out and horrid. There are a couple of nice improvements in opening and saving files but nothing that will warrant the extra money Microsoft will try and squeeze out of you. What's your opinion on Windows 8 on a tablet?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

in the 1980s and 1990s about why you would want an email client as part of your office package. For handling mail, I use Thunderbird.