It seems like we have experienced Windows 8 styled Office 2013 intuitively. Microsoft released the beta preview of software in July, and on January 29th company launched it officially.

I know this review comes a bit late compared to the launching date. Still, these days I was carefully examining the new features of the productivity suite for writing a descriptive review, and today I’m going to present what I found.

Microsoft has made Office 2013 available in two options.

The first option is the purchase option, in which the user will be able to download the suite after paying one-time fees of $139.

The purchase option ties the suite with a single PC, so you’ll not be able to install it on any other computer.

Another option is a subscription to Office 365 Home Premium, which costs $100 per year and allows you to use Office on up to 5 devices. As a bonus, you also get 60 minutes of Skype credit per month and 20GB of Skydrive storage.

Office 2013 has also got an app store now, and you can poke around even if you’re not a subscriber.

Now when I’ve given thoughtful insights on the significant benefits of Office 2013, it’s time to explore its experience. So let’s go to the review.

GETTING STARTED

First of all a big surprise for you.

Although Office 2013 and Office 365 both will be available for purchase in stores, you will still not find any installation disk in the box.

Yup, what you’ll find is your license key, which will be used for the installation. So in both cases, you will need to head over to Office.com to download the software.

As always, system requirements are modest, so you don’t need to worry about them. If you have got a system clocked at 1 GHz or more and 3.5GB of disk space, then you’re good to go.

Microsoft also recommends 1GB of RAM for 32-bit systems while 2GB RAM for 64-bit systems. And yes, DirectX 10 graphics, Windows 7 or older, and a minimum screen resolution of 1024×576 are also required for the suite.

For downloading the suite, head over to Office.com and enter your license key. After that, you’ll be asked to sign-in with a Microsoft account — if you already have one, then just sign-in, but if you don’t have one, then you can create a new account on the spot.

You’ll see how many out of the five available installations you have used on the next screen. Here you’ll also find options for changing your payment method, your billing address, the expiration date of your office suite, automatic renewal info, and a chance for canceling the subscription.

There is a green ‘Install’ button with all this information, and you’ll have to click on it because you haven’t yet downloaded your software copy. So hit the button and let it download.

Until it downloads and sets it up for the first time, you can view some introductory slides if you wish. As you’ll see, it’s the interface.

It is akin to the interface that we have seen on the Windows 8 OS when it readies itself for the first run.

Once Office is fully installed, its various apps like Word, PowerPoint, and so on will appear on the Start screen as Live Tiles and not like desktop shortcuts.

Once Office has been installed on your system, you can sign-in to it with your Microsoft account. If your installation was an installation of Office 2013, then it’ll work even if you don’t sign in.

You can also choose a border that will appear on the corners of every document. There are 14 such themes available for this purpose in this version of Office.

 OFFICE 2013

 I’ve already talked about the most prominent features in the introduction of this review, but now I’m going to break down the significant features of every item that comes in the Office 2013 suite.

The first notable feature is the availability of a PDF document editor in MS-World. This feature’s nature is pretty self-explanatory — it allows us to edit the PDF document in MS-World.

Another attention driving feature is a Presenter View in PowerPoint, and the last big thing is a full-screen Reading Mode, which is seriously impressive for tablets.

There is also a ‘Touch Mode’ in the suite, which removes the Ribbon Menu and makes everything a bit bigger and more touch-friendly.

Resume Reading functionality remembers precisely where you were in a document for the last time you read.

This is helpful if you’ve been told to read the 60 pages of ‘Terms and Conditions’ by your boss or something else akin to that.

By default, all your edited documents save in the Skydrive. This functionality adds new possibilities to work.

If you want to share your work with someone else, you can send him a public sharing link of your document, and the person will be able to view the job done by you.

The addition of online videos in Word and PowerPoint documents has been made much more comfortable in Office 2013.

Now you’ll be able to embed any video easily in the form while editing the manuscript.

That’s not all — you’ll also be able to view the embedded video directly in the word document if someone has sent a video embedded document to you.

Excel 2013 flash fill Excel has become smarter these days and has a Flash Fill functionality that automatically loads the document if entered data follows any pattern.

Outlook has finally got a new feature called ‘Peeks,’ which allows you to see your calendar and other such things only by hovering your mouse pointer over them.

This means you don’t need to leave your inbox only for viewing a calendar. Other social connecting options are plug-ins of other sites like Twitter, Bebo, and Linkedin, etc.

The entire Office 2013 suite is fast and stable enough that it will never lag during your work. There is also a rotating set of templates, and its content varies depending on your region and time.

For example, you’ll not see any Valentine’s day templates or any Christmas template in August. And you will also not see any ‘4th July party’ template if you live outside of the US.

It’s an excellent idea, but I’m a bit uncertain about how many people use templates in their documents. But if you’re one of those who use, this is undoubtedly a big thing for you.

PowerPoint has also got a new transition effect category known as “Exciting”, and the exciting thing about this category is the availability of animations. Yep, this category contains flashy and animated transitions. Some names include “Origami”, “Paper Airplane” and “Curtains”.

But they aren’t going to be welcomed in a board meeting because they have been accused of driving attention because of their playfulness.

But I’m glad of their existence because they’ll surely help the people who love to show their work with few more resources.

OFFICE STORE 

Now when Microsoft has started the Cloud era of Office suite, it has also added something else for making the store up-to-date.

Yup, it’s own dedicated app store. The store is live on Office.com and is accessible to anyone — even to those who are not subscribers of the Office 365 suite.

So even if you have only Office 2013, you’ll have access to Office Store. The store includes apps for Word, Excel, SharePoint, Project, and Outlook but not for PowerPoint. However, they may come (or may not come) later.

You can sort the apps according to any of your desired program — the choice is entirely yours. There is also a page of Featured apps. Just like Windows 8 App Store, you’ll find user reviews of every app in this store too.

Installing an app is also as easy as hitting the ‘Add’ button. However, if you want the app to show up in the Ribbon menu of your application, you will have to take an extra step for it — you’ll have to hit the ‘Insert in the Ribbon’ button this job.

Most apps in the store are free. Only a few are there which cost you some bucks, but they are sophisticated programs usually meant for enterprise users.

Finally, something for my fellow developers — if you’re a developer, then I want to tell you that there is a 20-80 revenue split between Microsoft and developers.

Microsoft takes a 20 percent stake from application purchases, and the rest is yours. This revenue split matches what we have seen for Windows applications.

OFFICE 2013 STORE

Every app shows as a dedicated box on the right-hand side of your document editing space, and you can close any app by tapping its ‘X’ button.

You can open and use multiple apps at once but remember that your screen size isn’t going to scale with the increasing amount of opened apps, so with every app you unlock. You’ll get less space for working.

Opening one app only gives enough space for working; with two opened apps, you get a bit less than enough, but if you open more than two, then I don’t know how you will work.

For News apps or Web Search apps, your results will be shown in the same box, so you will not need to look on that IE tab to search for something while typing a document.

This provides enough convenience while working and increases your productivity as well. These small things make apps much more useful and user-friendly.

BOTTOM LINE

Only one thing I have to say — Office 2013 is a fantastic product. It’s fast, feature-rich, intuitive, and meets modern working standards.

It redefines the way of our work. It also doesn’t come up with a big learning curve because of a similar UI, so if you’ve been an Office 2010 user in the past, you’ll not have any problem working with the suite.

However, pricing is a big question here. You may be wondering at this point that whether you should invest in a yearly subscription of $100 or will it be wise to pay a one-time fee of $139, right?

Well, the simple answer goes here — if you want to install your suite on a single PC, then go for the $139 option, but if you often switch your computers or Macs, then it’ll be wise to invest in the Office 365 subscription which costs $100 per year.

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