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Microsoft reveals 'magical' new Office 2013

Tim Greene | July 17, 2012
Microsoft's latest version of Office pushes customers toward using cloud-based services that makes the suite of applications available on any device -- PC, tablet or phone -- and has a user interface tuned to work with the touch-centric Windows 8 operating system.

In developing Office 2013, Microsoft spent a lot of time getting the applications to interoperate with each other to enhance collaboration. So during a demonstration today, Microsoft showed OneNote interoperating with a Lync conference by automatically creating a notebook for the meeting where participants could find the agenda, the list of who attended, a log of what they did and what resources such as PowerPoint presentations and Word documents they viewed.

The announcement answered a nagging question about upcoming product releases. Ballmer says that the office applications that come standard with the Windows 8 devices based on ARM processors known as Windows RT will be fully featured Office apps with nothing left out. "That wasn't the junior version," he says about the Windows RT demonstration at the press conference. Windows RT includes Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint.

While Microsoft is encouraging customers to buy Office via its cloud service, the software will also be available to install on individual devices without cloud add-ons.

The applications in the suite that are available for customer preview consist of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook and also blend in Skype to include presence and quick connections via voice or video to parties with the peer-to-peer communications application on their devices.

Microsoft seems to have spent a lot of time on making it simpler to embed multimedia in the applications. They support Web searches for pictures and videos and embedding them by clicking (or tapping with touchscreen) to set them within Word documents, for instance.

A new reading mode in Word enables tapping the video and having it play over the Word document. Viewers can return to the text document by tapping off the video. 


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