Microsoft Office 2013 features new look, prices

Microsoft's refreshed productivity suite sports a major design overhaul and seamless cloud integration—at a higher price.

By Yardena Arar, PC World |  Enterprise Software, Microsoft Office, office 2013

Microsofts Office redesign uses white backgrounds pretty much everywhere, and the net effect is less clutter. A more subtle innovation is the use of animation that can make normal transitions look more fluid (you can disable these effects if you wish). And Microsoft has made several routine operations easier to perform from within the apps.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint no longer show a blank page at launch. Instead, a landing screen presents templates and other options for creating or reopening a documentthats basically the screen you used to get when you wanted to open an existing document or create a new one from a template. This screen exposes ready-made design options that you might not otherwise consider.

The suite also offers easy integration with Microsofts online storage options, through the free SkyDrive or, in corporate settings, via commercial SharePoint server accounts. This arrangement makes documents available wherever you may need them. Microsoft has also worked on making Office more tablet- and touchscreen-friendly.

Word for reading, not just writing

One of Words most visible innovations is a new Read Mode that dispenses with the ribbon toolbar and lets you see documents as though they appeared within a printed book. In this mode, you cant edit, but you do have access to find and search tools, so you can perform lookups related to highlighted content. Another new mode provides a navigation pane, useful for getting around in lengthy documents.

In Read Mode, you can click graphical elements to enlarge them for closer study (Microsoft calls this object zoom), and then click them again to return to the original layout.

Word also automatically bookmarks the page you were last on when you closed a document, and lets you return to that page when you reopen it. That bookmark travels with the document, which means that if you save the document to SkyDrive, your other Office 2013 installations will also open on the bookmarked pageuseful when youre working with lengthy documents.

If you're using a connected PC or device, you can watch video embedded in a Word document without even leaving Word.

You can also search popular photo-sharing sites for images and add the ones you like to your documents from within Wordno need to save them to your computer first. The same goes for screenshots: The new Insert Screenshot command brings up thumbnails of all currently running apps on your computer, and then inserts the one you choose (after which you can crop it). When you insert an image or other object, Word can reflow the text on the fly so that you immediately see what youre getting.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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