Introducing Office 2013

Office 2013 new featuresOne of the great things about working for an IT support company, who are a Microsoft certified partner, is that I get to play with all the new products as and when they are released by Microsoft. This past month I have had the opportunity to play with Microsoft’s all new office 2013 program and have to say that I for one am very impressed.

Microsoft have done away with a lot of the rich graphic and gone back to, in my opinion, a more straight forward striped down version of the software. This means that the new version runs a lot smoother at the cost of looking pretty, but still retaining the clean cut, professional look giving it a more corporate feel.Microsoft has added a number of new features to its arsenal, from a usability stand point as well as performance improvements, some of which I will discuss below. The new Office 2013 package has also kept a similar look and feel to its predecessor (office 2010) with the use of ribbons tab etc. however there are a few minor changes mostly with outlook in terms of placement and the way thing are accessed.

In this blog I will mainly concentrate on word, excel and outlook as these are the three that I, like many others, use on a day to day basis. Let’s have a look at the features I have found most useful so far…

What’s new in Word 2013?

Have you ever downloaded a PDF you really wanted to use in a document format only to find the machine you are using doesn’t have a PDF reader or writer? Then you spend the next half an hour downloading and installing a free PDF reader along with all free the toolbars which tag along with it? Well this is now a thing of the past as Office 2013 now not only opens PDF’s but converts it to a format which you can edit using word. This does however raise questions as many companies use PDF’s for invoices and alike which they do not want the end user to be able to easily edit.

Embedding video code, screen shots and web content from social media have been made a whole lot simpler as well, you can now in many cases drag and drop content from online sources directly to word without having to save the content first and insert it thereafter. If you go into the insert tab you will also find a new screenshot button which brings up a tile of all the explorer windows you have open, this enables you to very easily add a screenshot or thing you are working on into a word document.

Office 2013 screenshot feature

What’s new in Excel 2013

Excel has also been spruced up with a few new features such as flash fill formatting which enables you to very quickly and easily change and format your excel documents. For more information on this feature take a look at the following link.

Quick analysis is another new feature within Excel 2013 which could be very useful in turning data into charts/pivot tables. To access this feature all one needs to do is to select a range of data and hit the quick analysis icon which appears at the corner of the selection. This will bring up a vast list of formatting options.

What’s new in Outlook 2013

Perhaps the first change a user will notice when using Outlook 2013 is the new navigational menu at the bottom of outlook, which provides an easy way to switch between your Mail, Calendar, People and Tasks.

Office 2013 new navigational menu

Hovering over one of these also brings up a small informational window showing you your calendar appointments tasks etc.
Contacts have now been replaced with People which is a feature which enables the user to populate a list of people associated to them not only from a global address list but also from social media sites such as LinkedIn, it also has the ability to pull the users associated image from their account.

Outlook can now also integrate with Skype allowing you to see a person’s online status and contact them directly via Skype from your address book. Personally I am not a big fan of this feature due to security ramifications but it is there if you choose to use it.

For all you multinational companies who have been left in a puzzle with making appointments in different time zones, this has been addressed as well. In outlook 2013 you create appointments in different time zone by clicking the time zone icon on the appointment tab and selecting the relevant time zone you wish to make the appoint for.

Allocating Time Zones in Office 2013

All in all Office 2013 is a great step forward for Microsoft with a lot of new intuitive features, these being just a few. As always I would suggest waiting till the first service pack releases before approach your IT Support Company for an installation plan. This is just to ensure that any bugs are worked on and sorted before rolling out company wide.

If you have any questions relating to pricing, installation or support for Office 2013 please contact our team.

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