Microsoft Office 2013: An Inside Look

Microsoft Office 2013: An Inside Look

Microsoft Office 365 and Office 2013 have some great new features, including a user interface that makes the venerable productivity suite very usable on tablets.Microsoft, which announced Office 2013 Monday, also said it now will focus its development efforts on Office 365, the suite’s cloud-based edition, which first launched a year ago.

It appears on first look that Microsoft has managed to make the software more powerful without subjecting experienced users to a whole new learning curve. Using Office 365 (streamed to a client from the web) won’t feel any different from using Office 2013 installed on that device. Here’s a quick look at some of the most interesting new features in Microsoft Office 2013. Let’s start with Office 2012.

The Office 365/Office 2013 Launchpad

This is the jump-off point for an Office 365/Office 2013 Customer Preview installation. Once you’ve signed in, you can download and install Office 2013 customer preview to a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC or tablet. If you’d like to check out Microsoft’s Office 2013 Customer Preview, here’s where you can download the software.

Office 2013: Create a New File

You can create a new Word document, Excel workbook, PowerPoint presentation, or OneNote notebook by creating the appropriate new file from within your SkyDrive account.

Word 2013: New Simple Markup View

Word 2013 has a much improved markup view. The red vertical line in the left margin (marked by the red arrow) indicates that changes have been made to this document. The word balloon in the right-hand column (marked by the green arrow) indicates that someone has entered a comment about this paragraph.

Word 2013: Collaborating on a Word Document

The red vertical line indicating a change turns gray when you click on it, and the change marks are in the document revealed.

Word 2013: Viewing Comments Only

If you prefer, you can read just the embedded comments (see the red arrow) without revealing all the edit changes.

Word 2013: Live Layout Mode

Using the live layout and alignment guides in Word 2013, you can move images and video windows around the document and watch the text automatically reflow around the windows in real time as you move them.

Word 2013: Read Mode

Word 2013’s new “read” mode enables you to collapse paragraphs after you’ve read them. Just click on the gray triangle in the left-hand margin. (See the result in the next slide.)

Word 2013: Read Mode with a Collapsed Paragraph

Click on the gray triangle in “read” mode, and the text beneath the heading will collapse into the header to make room for more text. Click it a second time to explode it back out again.

Word 2013: PDF Reflow

You can open PDF documents in Word, edit them as Word documents, and then resave them as either a Word document or a PDF. You can also embed a PDF file inside a Word file.

Word 2013: Import and Edit PDFs

Open a PDF inside Word 2013, and Word’s new PDF reflow tool will identify and convert all of the document’s style elements–including tables, graphics, headers, footnotes, columns–so that you can edit them within Word 2013.

Word 2013: Embed Video in a Document

It’s easy to embed video inside your Word document. You can even search the web for videos without leaving Word–using Bing, of course.

Word 2013: Embed and Play Video

Once you’ve found a video, simply past the embed HTML code into Word 2013 and the video will play from right within your document.

Word 2013: New Read Mode

Word 2013’s Read mode hides the menus you don’t need and adds navigational tools such as these left and right arrows for flipping through pages.

Excel 2013: Excel Flash Fill

Take an element of data that you’ve entered into one column type it into a second column, and Excel will predict that you intend to do that for every value in that column (see next slide).

Excel 2013: Excel Flash Fill Result

After predicting what data you intend to put in the second column (see previous slide), Excel will offer to automatically fill that column with the relevant values.

Excel 2013: Excel Quick Analysis

Select a range of data, and Excel 2013’s new Quick Analysis tool will automatically suggest some conditional formatting choices that will make the information easier to understand.

Excel 2013: Excel Quick Analysis Result

In this example, conditional formatting highlights upward and downward trends in sales numbers by company using icons and shading.

Excel 2013: Chart Recommendations

Excel 2013 can also automatically recommend a variety of charts to make your data stand out.

Excel 2013: More Chart Features

Excel 2013’s new Quick Analysis tool will automatically suggest the most appropriate types of graphs–bar, pie, scatter, and so on–based on the data set that you’ve selected.

Outlook 2013: User Interface

Outlook 2013 looks to have undergone some of the fewest changes of all the programs in the office suite, at least on the surface.

Outlook 2013: Mail-Handling Rules

The ability to define rules that manage how email is handled remains from previous versions of Office.

OneNote 2013: Opening OneNote Screen

Microsoft describes OneNote as “a digital notebook that holds your photos, pictures, web pages, and media.” The program enables you to link all this media together, so you don’t need to search for it.

OneNote 2013: Outlook to OneNote

Outlook 2013 can be linked to OneNote 2013.

OneNote 2013: Hide the Ribbon

The ability to hide Office 2013’s ribbon menu will be particularly useful on OneNote, since you might use the app on your phone, tablet, and notebook PC in addition to your desktop machine.

PowerPoint 2013: SharePoint 2013

People collaborating on PowerPoint presentations can take advantage of Microsoft’s SharePoint service.


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