Office 2013 LogoBob here.  The next version of Microsoft Office is here.  Mostly.  Sort of.

The first openly available version of the new Office, now officially called Office 2013, made its debut earlier this week.  Some of the key pieces of information about the new version:

  • You can have both worlds.  You can install the Office 2013 Consumer Preview (which is Latin for “Beta”) without removing your Office 2010.
  • A lot of the control/user interface changes are aimed at tablet users (not surprisingly).  Working with your fingers (thumbs specifically) through what’s called “touch mode” is aimed at the tablet folks.
  • You need to have Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) or Windows 8 Release Preview (the latest “Beta” version).  XP or Vista?  Ah, no.
  • A majority of interface changes are for tablet users.
  • Word and Excel can both be used for presentations.  You’ll be able to share a document with another user, even if that person doesn’t have Word or Excel.
  • Images from the web can be put into documents without downloading and saving them.
  • Office will be tightly integrated with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage offering.  For example, a document stored in SkyDrive can be opened by the same user on another workstation and will be bookmarked where the user left off.
  • Right now only Lync and OneNote are actually Metro-based applications.  Everything else still runs under Desktop Mode.
  • Release date?  Um, it’s called Office 2013, so that’s probably a first hint.
  • Thinking of buying Office 2013 when it comes out?  Get ready to download it.  Even stores won’t be carrying discs with the Office software.  You’ll buy a software license key, and then you’ll need to download it.

After using it for a couple of days on my Windows 8 tablet, I can say that it’s pretty stable, but the touch interface is a little…touchy.  More on that as I get more used to it.

Additional information:

Want to see more?  We’ll be demoing it at our annual picnic, Wednesday August 15th.  Plus our next monthly Lunchinar on Wednesday September 19th will feature Office 2013.  For more information on either event, contact John Harrow via email or call at 234.380.1277.