Make Office 2013 more powerful with 10 killer apps

Microsoft Office offers more features than most other software, but you can get even more tools by adding these apps.

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3. Bing dictionary

Surprise! Microsoft Word no longer ships with a dictionary, so you'll need to find one on your own. There are a few dictionary apps in the store, but the free Bing Dictionary for Word and Excel 2013 offers convenience detail. It provides a small amount of information in the task pane. You can click See More to view more information, including sample sentences for context.

4. LinkedIn for Outlook

This freebie installs into Outlook 2013 and the Outlook Web App. It provides details of your LinkedIn connections, groups, profile information, and recent activity. If you are using the Outlook Web App you will need also to be using Internet Explorer 9 or later, and Windows 7 or 8. If you can't access this app because your email isn't handled by an Exchange Server, don't despair; its functionality is similar to that of the Outlook Social Connector that's already built into Outlook 2013.

5. Range Applications

This free tool performs calculations, such as multiplying or dividing a range by a value, or adding a value to or subtracting a value from a range. It can also add percentages to or subtract percentages from a range. While you can do this using Excel Paste Special options, it's neither intuitive nor easy for beginner users. This app lets you select the range, the type of calculation, and the value to work with, and then it does all the work. When you click Calculate, it warns you that formulas in the range will be overwritten with values after processing. At that point, either click Yes to continue or Cancel to exit.

6. Bing Maps

This fast, free app embeds into your Excel 2013 worksheet, allowing you to plot location-based data on a map. You can zoom in and out of the map, and choose from either a road or a bird's eye map view. It can chart more than one series of data. However, because pie and circle charts are your only choices, you can only use a series of data with positive values. If your data meets these limitations, this is a useful tool. 

 7. Lucid Chart

This free app for Word lets you create a range of diagrams, such as flowcharts, mind maps, site maps, and organizational charts. The application installs as a task pane in Word, but to create a diagram you'll be taken to the program's web site. There you can select from a range of shapes, including flowchart shapes and various text containers. You can color, resize and position these on the screen, and connect shapes to other shapes. The add-on is easy to use, and charts can be formatted to look neat and professional. When you're done making tweaks, click Return to Office  to return to Word. Your chart shows up in the task pane's list so you can insert it into your document.

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