28 February 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 Review - Part 2

Last week I posted about the new way to buy Office 2013.  If you missed it you can read it here.

Today I'm going to let you know about the main changes to Office 2013 as against the last version – 2010.  The features below are common to all the Office programs.  My next posts will detail the changes specific to the main three – Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Start Screens

Previous versions of Office programs started with a blank document ready to create; in Office 2013 each program has a colour-coded start screen—blue for Word, green for Excel, orange for PowerPoint, green for Publisher.

These start screens are where you can create a blank document, select a template, search online for templates, search for a document on SkyDrive, or open a recent document. 


Working with the Cloud

Office 2013 is designed to work easily with the cloud—specifically Microsoft’s SkyDrive.   If you use SkyDrive, your account details will appear in the top left corner of each of the program’s screens, as well as on their start screens.  When you save a document, worksheet, or presentation, the default option is to save to your SkyDrive account, but you can choose to save it to your computer.

If you use Dropbox, you’ll be familiar with using cloud based storage.  SkyDrive works in exactly the same way by creating a ‘virtual’ folder on your computer just like Dropbox.  The big benefit with SkyDrive over Dropbox is the amount of storage.  A standard account with SkyDrive gives you 7GB of free storage.  When you subscribe to Office 365 you get an extra 20GB.

If you do save your Office documents on SkyDrive, you’ll be able to access them from any device, via Office 2013 on a PC or tablet, or via the WebApps.  Another great feature if you are switching between devices, is that Word, Excel and PowerPoint will save the last location where you were working before you closed the program - down to the letter, cell, or image.  This means you can be editing a document on your computer at work, and you can open that same document on your tablet or computer at home, and the exact position you were at will be shown so you can pick up exactly where you left off. 


Work with a touchscreen

Office 2013 gives you the option of easily switching between using your mouse or a touchscreen.  The touch mode spreads the commands out so that it’s easier to use with your fingers on a touch screen. 

Free Trial

If you’d like to try Office 2013 free for one month, click here.  At the end of the month you can continue with a subscription of $12 each month, or you can just cancel the trial at the end of the month without cost.   Also, the trial won’t affect any earlier versions of Office on your computer. 

My next post in this series will be about the new features of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

If you’re already using Office 2013, or if you give the trial a go, please leave me a comment on your opinion of the programs.

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