Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has unveiled the latest version of Office suite, it’s main selling point is that it is touch ready, therefore can be utilized on mobile devices, cloud computing and social networking. Microsoft Office, used by more than a billion people and running on around 90 per cent of business PCs, is the single largest component of Microsoft’s revenue, bringing in more than $15billion per year for the company.
Speaking in San Francisco, Steve Ballmer pronounced Office 2013 as the firm’s “most ambitious release to date”.
A reoccurring theme throughout the presentation was how the office software has amended and adapted to keep pace with changing technology.
This all sounds very promising from Microsoft; However, do they practice what they preach? The short of it is yes, Office 2013 is fully touch-ready, as is Windows 8, the company’s latest operating system, and its new tablet computer, Surface, which is expected to be available in October.
Steve Ballmer went on to say “new touchscreen controls made the software a good match for tablets” many analysts agree with this statement, citing the power of office gives Microsoft its best chance of gaining a genuine foothold in the post pc market and may even knock Apple’s iPad off the top spot.
Ballmer was quoted saying user-experience is designed to be more “immersive; “visceral” and “multimedia-rich” compared to earlier versions of Office, this seems the case: Microsoft Word, Outlook, Power Point and Excel are all responsive to touch screen technology, furthermore, controls – taps, swipes, and pinch-and-zoom can be used within documents, files and presentations.
The standout features of Office 2013 which are not available in Office 2010 version are:
- Documents, slides, and presentations can be marked up on mobile screens, drawn on, highlighted or annotated with a digital pen, stylus or even a finger.
- Skype, which Microsoft purchased for $8.5bn in 2011, and Yammer, a social network for businesses which Microsoft purchased on the 25th of June, are being inserted into Office: live, multi-party conversations and meetings can be created with Skype video and accessed within Word, PowerPoint, or Outlook.
- New “People Cards” include an individual’s digital “presence” – a photo, options to email, instant message, phone or video chat, and activity feeds from the social networks Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Skydrive automatically saves and syncs all Office documents in an online, cloud-based storage service. This makes files and content created in Office available on demand across computing devices.
- You can now import a PDF directly into Word, edit it as a Word document, and then save it as either a Word document or a PDF. Not only do imported files retain all of the original documents’ formatting–including headers, columns, and footnotes–but elements such as tables and graphics can be edited in Word as such. Import a PDF file containing a table, for example, and you can edit the table just as though you had created it in Word from scratch. You can also embed a PDF file in a Word document.
- Another key feature is the ability to connect to online resources and bring them inside your documents. For example, you can use Bing to search the Web for videos, without leaving Word, and then embed the HTML code for that video in your document.