Microsoft Unveils Office 2013, Announces Free Preview

The company unveiled a touch-ready version of Office suite Wednesday at a press event in San Francisco.

Office 2013 can be installed desktop PCs and on tablets running the company’s Windows 8 operating system. Photo: rhuiyin/Flickr

According to general manager Chris Pratley, “the new Office is the Office you know, just Metrified, modern – and all yours.”

“We didn’t mess around with the ribbon; we Metrified it but we didn’t change a lot of stuff. Instead it’s all about connecting to the cloud, making it your Office regardless of device,” he said.

“Making it Metro and smooth and live and digital. That’s the theme of what we’re trying to do here; it just becomes modern, your modern office.”

It’s the first time for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook to be responsible to touch-screen controls – taps, swipes, and pinch-and-zoom can be used within documents, files and presentations, reports The News Tribe.

Slides, presentations and documents now can be marked up on mobile screens, drawn on with a digital pen, stylus or even a finger.

A preview of the new version, which is expected to be launched next year, was unveiled at an event in San Francisco on July, 16.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s Chief Executive, said that the new software was “a new generation that brings some of the same boldness and beauty that we’ve shown you in Windows 8 and Windows Phone”.

He went on, adding, “This is the most ambitious release of Microsoft office that we’ve ever done”, and singled out that Office 2013 is aimed at students, busy families and consumers as well as at businesses.

The design of the new Office suit has been changed to merge elements of the company’s Windows 8 Metro design aesthetic – OneNote and Lync are the first two apps to get the full “touch-first” Windows 8 Metro-look experience – alongside with SkyDrive.

Microsoft wants its users to be ensured that they can easily get access to their documents everywhere and from any Windows 8 device.

The only way to prevail is to integrate with cloud-based storage through SkyDrive, which Office uses by default to save all documents. Saving in the cloud also extends to user’s Office preferences and most recent files, writes Geek.

According to sources, two versions of Office will be available on offer. Office 2013 is the desktop version Microsoft software users used to with a one-time fee for a license.

There’s another version, dubbed Office 365, which is the subscription one. Its main advantage is the possibility to use Office 2013 across multiple machines as well as to sync data between them using SkyDrive.

The list of updates reflects a new social side to Office as well. The new version comes with Skype integration, and Microsoft is reported to have already gotten down to work on features from its recent Yammer business social network acquisition.

As far as price for the new version of Office is considered, the company has yet to announce the final details.

Some experts predict that it would “likely pricing for the standard single-license Office 2013 will be similar to what has gone before, but the subscription pricing will be key, especially if Microsoft intends to compete with Google in the cloud-office space.”

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