Microsoft revealed the next version of its Office suite. CEO Steve Ballmer describes it’s as the “most ambitious” release of Office we have done”.
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook apps have been redesigned to work with a touch interface and the Metro design for Windows 8. While Office 2010’s ‘ribbon’ interface remains, it is tucked away, sliding into view when tapped or clicked. Otherwise, the applications look much more stripped down, with menus spaced out to make them easier to access on a tablet screen with your finger.
The suite lets you save documents directly to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage system, giving you access to files anywhere there’s a web connection. However, it is turned on by default, so any users who do not want their files to head directly to the cloud should wary. Word features a ‘live layout’ tool, which lets you format documents by dragging and dropping, while Excel has an intriguing new feature called Quick Analysis, which makes it easier to split text into different cells. Another new tool is ‘inking’, which lets you use a stylus to take notes in documents. You can even use a stylus as a laser pointer during presentations.
This is bad news if you are not keen on using touch screen interfaces, because Microsoft has made it clear that Microsoft has made it clear that Office 2013 will work best on touchscreen devices. T hey will still work with a mouse and keyboard, of course, but they are designed for poking and prodding with a fingertip. It’s also bad news if you are not happy with you documents being stored in the cloud. While it’s a handy back-up if your document with you, it also brings a document with you, it also means Microsoft has a copy of everything you are working on. There are many reasons why that might not appeal to you: for example, you simply might prefer a rival cloud storage system, such a Dropbox.