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Microsoft Office 2013: Tap and go

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Microsoft“This is the biggest, most ambitious release of Office that we’ve ever done in our history,” Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer said recently when unveiling the release of Office 2013. Embracing the mobile world, it brings touch-based controls and cloud storage, giving you access to your files from any computer, anywhere.

New versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will respond to touch as well as a computer keyboard or mouse and were redesigned to make the most of the Windows 8 operating system. PC World notes that where Office 2013 shines is embracing the mobile world and the cloud with deep integration with Microsoft’s cloud service SkyDrive and collaboration—integrating its re­­cent acquisitions Skype and Yammer.

Here’s a look at some of the new Office 2013 features mentioned by PC World, Inc.com, The Washington Post and The New York Times Bits blog:

•    Touch-based controls. Office apps allow you to swipe, pinch, zoom and tap applications such as Word and PowerPoint.

•    Inking. A stylus lets you convert handwritten notes into emails and convert them into text.

•    PowerPoint upgrades for the tablet. The tablet’s screen is now a “cockpit” says Kirk Koenigsbauer, a corporate VP for Microsoft. When giving a PowerPoint presentation, you can use your digital pen to mark up slides on the fly, and also see upcoming slides and notes, as well as a clock and timer so you don’t go overtime, reports Inc.com.

•    Enhanced capability to create presentations. With the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel, it offers 82-inch touch-and-stylus-enabled displays for meetings and presentations.

•    Collaboration and drag and drop with OneNote and Lync optimized for touch.

•    Word upgrades. Editing? It will open up where you last made a change. A “Reading” mode makes it easier to read documents on a tablet or e-reader. And, you can  embed video into Word docs or share a doc directly on Facebook.

•    Import a PDF directly into Word. Then edit it as a Word doc, and save as either a Word doc or a PDF.

•    Connect to online resources and import them inside documents.

•    Track changes easier with a simple markup view feature.

•    Data-analysis tools for Excel with Flash Fill. A Quick Analysis tool highlights trends using color.

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