by Tolu Agunbiade
Microsoft has made changes to the Office Suite with Office 2013 getting major facelifts. Unlike previous upgrades – Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 – where changes were subtle, Office 2013 comes with very noticeable upgrades (especially for someone like me who upgraded from Office 2007.)
The new design is obviously inspired by the Metro scheme for Windows 8, and the whole interface has a lot of white to give a pleasant and clutter free feel. In Office 2013, there is an evident focus on ease of collaboration between users and cloud storage – during the setup process, I was prompted to sign in with my Windows Live ID. This allows you to save documents to SkyDrive, which means you can access your documents from different internet-connected devices. From the account screen of the applications, you can also add Connected Services such as Flickr, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
The suite is available for download from Microsoft and can be installed alongside an existing Office installation (I currently run both Office 2007 and Office 2013, although I haven’t had cause to use Office 2007 since my latest upgrade.)
Here is a quick run through of the key applications I use most often on Office 2013 – Word, Excel and PowerPoint:
The new interface in Word 2013 makes it easier to focus on what you are writing. There is even an editable Read Mode that further declutters the screen.
It is helpful that the new collaborative comments and editing system allows users to add comments, respond to them on shared documents via SkyDrive, edit the documents, and mark comments as done.
More useful for me is that I could open and edit PDF documents from within Word 2013 and save the changes as a PDF file or reformat them as Word documents.
When it comes to multimedia, one can insert and view online pictures and online videos using the insert option. The pictures and videos can be gotten from Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Bing or another other online source.
Aside the design improvement made to Excel 2013, there are three features that stood out. The first is the Quick Analysis tool that allows you convert data into a chart or table. The second is the Flash Fill, this recognizes data patterns and helps you auto fill the rest of your data. And the third, depending on the type of data you enter, Excel 2013 recommends the chart that best suits your data.
In case you are having a hard time trying to decide what type of excel sheet to create, the variety of templates give you options to guide you in setting up and designing your work sheet.
Combining features from both Word and Excel, you can insert online media and adjust the appearance of graphs and charts in PowerPoint 2013. But that is not all. There is a Presenter View that has been refined to enhance your presentations and wow your audience. You can also turn presentations into MP4 videos as well as WMV files to play music in the background.
IN A NUTSHELL
There are a number of improvements that make creating, editing, reading and sharing documents easier and quicker on Office 2013. It seems Microsoft is going all out to ensure that users get a modern Office feel. There are some things I really liked about Office 2013, like:
– How you can pick up from where you left off when you reopen a document
– The integration with the cloud, giving you access to your documents on any internet enabled device
– All that white space!
…and the cost is one major thing I don’t like about the Office 2013. The basic Office Home and Student edition that has Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote costs $140 (approximately N20,000).
For the basic Office Suite users like me and for the ones who use it more extensively (users of OneNote, Access, Visio, Project, etc.), let’s know how Office 2013 is working for you.
We are giving out a couple of product keys for the full edition of Office 2013. Follow @OTEKBITS and #MSOffice2013 for more updates over the coming day.
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