January 30, 2013, 7:54 AM — A word processor is indispensable for anyone who creates documents, be it for work, school, or writing angry letters to your representatives in Congress. Now that Microsoft has finally released Office 2013 to the general public, we're naming what we think are the 10 best new features in Word 2013. (We reviewed the whole enchilada last December, when it became available to Microsoft TechNet subscribers. You can read our opinion here.)
Word 2013 boasts new and improved features across the board, spanning document creation to reading, editing, and collaboration. What's even better is that Microsoft has made these advanced features easier for everyone to use.
1. The new Design tab
Document formats can be further extended by choosing Themes, Colors, and Fonts to use with them. If you come up with something you'd like to use all the time, the new Set as Default option allows you to make the current combination of formatting settings the default for all new documents.Word 2007 and Word 2010 added interesting features for styling a document, but the tools were scattered throughout the user interface, and they were difficult to use. The new Word 2013 Design tab consolidates all these tools onto one tab, so they're easy to find. Microsoft has also added a visual element to its Document Formatting tool that allows you to preview a document style before applying it to the entire document. You'll also find a range of new document format designs to choose from.
2. Alignment with Alignment Guides
If you have text wrapping set to an option such as Square, the Alignment Guides also show when the object is aligned with the top of a paragraph or to a heading.This new feature makes lining up images and other objects a cinch in Word 2103. When you move an object such as an Image, Chart, or SmartArt illustration around in a document, Alignment Guides automatically appear to show you when the object is lined up with other elements on the page. The guides also show you when the object is lined up to key page locations, such as the edge of the page and the left and right margins.
3. Comfortable reading in Read mode
If you use Word more to read documents than to create them, you'll like Word 2013's new Read mode. It automatically resizes a document to the full window. Click the on-screen arrows to flip through the pages, or swipe the screen from either edge of the display if you're using a touch-screen monitor. Switch to page view for vertical scrolling. Right-click on any unfamiliar words to display a definition without existing read mode. You can also click on any image, table, or chart to enlarge it for easier reading.
4. Smarter collaboration