Microsoft Office 2013, Office 365 Tap Into Windows 8 Metro Interface
The release of the customer preview of Office 2013 and Office 365 prepares Microsoft's productivity suite for a cloud-connected future. However, Microsoft faces significant challenges in getting all that functionality onto the small screen.The Microsoft Office 2013 customer preview of the on-premises productivity suite and Office 365the cloud-based versions of the productivity suitefocus on mobile devices and touch-based user interfaces. IT managers who are charged with equipping stationary, as well as mobile, workers with the these full-fledged email, document processing, presentation, spreadsheet and socially aware collaboration tools will likely find Office 2013 and Office 365 a compelling refresh of familiar productivity tools, including Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel. eWEEK Labs tested Office 2013 customer preview running on a variety of mobile and desktop end-user devicesmost of them running the Windows 8 release preview operating system. My tests showed that the tools are similar enough to Office 2007 or Office 2010 that the latest version should entice veteran users. At the same time, these two new versions of Office can also help IT workers adapt to the tablet and smartphone devices that play an increasingly important role in the lives of high-value business professionals. The ribbon of functionality areas across the top of the products is only slightly changed in this version of Office.
Large swaths of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, along with other components in the suite, have gained touch-oriented interfaces. However, my tests showed that users will likely keep their hands on a keyboard, when one is available, as it was difficult to accurately tap into the crowded toolbars and menu dropdowns that are the hallmark of content-creation applications. Even using the stylus on a test Samsung Series 7 XE700T1A tablet provided by Microsoft, it was difficult to accurately hit the precise area on the 11.1-inch screen to get my desired result, whether that was selecting an option or hitting the close button.