Wednesday July 25, 2012

Microsoft Office 2013 Student Review


Well Microsoft certainly have been busy recently!! Last week they announced plans for Office 365 for Education. This is an annual subscription service for academic institutions which allows them to access collaboration tools as well as the Office applications. If you are an institution and require more details on this and licensing in general, please get in touch here.

But bigger news has been the preview launch of Office 2013 on Monday.

There has been lots of reaction, but all we want to know is what's new and is it any good?? We've had a play around with it here and this is our take.



Firstly for the aesthetic minded out there, the look and feel. The new Office has incorporated the "Metro" look that has been adopted for Windows 8. This means bold colour blocks with white text being the predominant look. Often these things come down to a matter of personal choice, but we think it looks clean and sleek. Within the apps, the ribbon remains more or less unchanged. Using Word, you can certainly notice a smoother interface when typing which is great. The viewer mode has been updated in Word and it now resembles an e-reader when you choose this. So far, so good, and we think the updated feel in the apps will allow students to be even more productive when generating content. 


Office 2013 is more than just a new look and feel for the core Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps however. It also introduces 2 key features that reflect the devices that we use and how we use them. Firstly, Office 2013 is designed for touch control as well as the traditional keyboard and mouse. This means that Office will be able to be used on tablets, which are becoming more and more popular as study devices. This is a pretty smart move. Whilst we haven't tested the touch yet, if Microsoft get this right it will be a great trick to pull off.

The other big feature is that Office has gone to the "Cloud". Yep, there's that buzz word again. With the new version, you get free access to SkyDrive. This means all your documents are backed up automatically and can then be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This is a brilliant feature for students who are mobile and have a number of devices that they work on.


This will work because Office 2013 will have 5 installations available, so that leaves plenty of options to use several devices. We think that this will be a big plus for students, but maybe not so great for the usb key manufacturers! Now you can access your work wherever you are in a seamless way. We've tried it and it works! Microsoft will be trying to encourage subscriptions, on the Office 365 programs.



So our initial thoughts are very positive and we think Office 2013 will become a key part of any student's tools. There are lots more features that we are looking forward to trying out, so we'll keep you posted with further thoughts as we work more with it. You can download a preview version yourself here.

The indications are that general release will be toward the end of October. It is probably dependent on the release date of Windows 8. We'll let you know once we have more details on student options available and we'll be working hard with our partners to bring you the best deal possible for Office 2013 and Office 365 for education. In the meantime if you can't wait, remember that we've got a few remaining Office 2010 Pro Plus available, so don't delay and get yours today. Also remember that the new Office 2013 requires Windows 7 or Windows 8, so if you need an upgrade package, you won't get a better deal than this.

Let us know what you think about Office 2013 below, are you excited??