Microsoft’s Office 2013 suite of software comes with a number of features that make it easier for users to collaborate. The software also offers tighter integration with a user’s Microsoft account for reading emails and managing contacts and calendars.
The Office Professional Plus 2013 version of the software includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher and Lync. As with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, the new Office software is optimized for touch-enabled devices, allowing for easier manipulation of documents and presentations than with a mouse and keyboard.
Microsoft makes extensive use of the cloud in Office 2013. The suite lets users save documents directly to Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service. Through this feature, a user can log on to a computer that does not have the Office software installed and use Microsoft’s Web Office components to access, edit and share a document. The 2013 version of the suite does not require additional software components, which made the process unwieldy in previous versions.
Microsoft has made some welcome improvements to the specific software elements in its Office suite. Among the enhancements to Word 2013 is the ability to open PDF documents directly from within Word and edit them, which can be a real timesaver. It can also actively reflow text around pictures or video images as a user types. Word also comes with Simple Markup, a new revision option that gives users a clean, uncomplicated view of a document but still has indicators to note tracked changes. The software also provides a reply button for comments, allowing users to discuss changes and track comments within the text.
The Excel 2013 spreadsheet software offers recommendations for the best charting options. And PowerPoint 2013 allows a user to navigate slides in a presentation while showing the audience only the current slide. Outlook 2013 has inline replies to make it easier to process email and also lets users see multiple contacts and their social network connections in one view on “people cards.” OneNote 2013 takes advantage of touch-screen capabilities to make note taking easier.
Why It Works for IT
Microsoft has addressed formatting problems that some users experienced with previous versions of the software. Users of Office 2007 and 2010 and Office 365 now share the same document format with Office 2013. This means these users can exchange documents without additional software downloads. Dealing with these compatibility problems in the past was a headache for IT shops.
The company also kept the style of ribbon controls that were introduced several years ago so the migration to the newest version of Office won’t be as much of a shock as it was for previous versions.
Some users may be confused by the numerous versions of Office 2013 that Microsoft offers — home, small business, professional, government and enterprise — which present a dizzying array of features.
Also, Office 2013 will run only on Microsoft’s Windows 7 or 8 operating systems and on Apple Mac OS X 10.6 or higher. Agencies that have not upgraded to the latest versions of these operating systems may be unhappy to find that their current OS is not supported.