While Microsoft’s Office 2013 has yet to officially make its way to the desktops of homes and other individual users, it has already been released for businesses (or at least those with Microsoft Volume Licensing). Many are eagerly awaiting its arrival, however, many more are still on the fence about making the move to Office 2013. In this article we’ll talk about some of the Pros and the Cons involved with Office 2013.
Graphics User Interface (GUI)
Pros: Looks the same but better
In line with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 UI look, Microsoft has given Office 2013 the same look and feel as it’s new operating system. As such, the new document preview page and interface look cleaner and less cluttered with a lot more white spaces than before. However, the GUI of Office 2013 still works very much the same way as its predecessor, so you won’t feel completely out of the water with it.
Cons: Dig deep into the settings and its the same old multiple lines of teeny tiny checkboxes
Unfortunately, this is where the saying “beauty is skin deep” has even deeper meaning. This is because while the initial interface is new, flows better and looks cleaner, the settings and menus several levels lower are still the same as before. This means that while the skin looks great, the moment you try to get the settings set, you’re going to be dealing with the same hundreds of lines of checkboxes and radio buttons as in the previous versions of Office (try doing that on a touchscreen device).
Pros: Create, save, stop then continue again from a different device
Microsoft’s SkyDrive integration works seamlessly, and if you were to save it on your desktop you could easily continue on the same document from a different device such as your tablet at exactly the same spot where you left off.
Cons: Cloud Security and the always-online must-sign-in-to-use feature
While the Cloud is getting more and more secure, even Microsoft’s servers are not 100% reliable all the time. Even more so, users are required to sign in even before you start using Office 2013 which helps with the SkyDrive integration but makes it difficult for those not always connected to the Internet. Not a good thing for a generation of users who have learned to distrust sign-ins from Microsoft the hard way.
Pros: You get Office 365, and so much more
Along with the main programs of Word, Excel and PowerPoint (Outlook and OneNote too if you need them) you also get Office 365 subscriptions for what is basically $399.99 and for a period of about four years. There is also the subscription method of payment as well. In addition to these, you also get access to the Office 2013 app store, where you can download customizations and enhancements.
Cons: Office 2010 lets you get the next version of Office for free
For what is essentially a tried and true product that is more in line with the existing Microsoft Office standards, Office 2010 may be more expensive than Office 2013 at $409.00 ($500 for 2 PCs) but this is only by so much. In addition to this the new Office 2010 deal lets you get the next version of Office (being Office 2013) for free.
Pros: Lots of finger friendly features, Touchscreen device ready
The new Office 2013 is especially user friendly with touchscreen devices. The interface and buttons are more finger friendly using the default settings and the lower requirements make it great for those looking to get a new tablet as well as for those who already have touchscreen devices.
Cons: Who is going to use their touchscreen to type using their desktop office software?
Office 2013 is essentially desktop office software and while I have personally tried home office tablets and touchscreen computers, I have never seen any serious writer use the actual touchscreen to write anything for long periods of time. The physical keyboard will almost always get chosen over the touchscreen keyboard so having this option in Office 2013 seems like a big waste of money.
Pros: Embed online content and edit PDFs
Office 2013 can now embed online content such as pictures and video from online sources such as YouTube or Flickr into the document itself with ease. The ability to edit existing PDFs without breaking the internal structure is also an extremely cool feature, letting you customize files that were previously not editable.
Cons: The Live Layout is too smart to insert pictures correctly
As other writers have noted, the new Live Layout in Office 2013 is just a bit too smart when it comes to actually inserting standard images into the document. Rather than place the images exactly where the writer wants it to be, the pictures get placed where the Live Layout thinks it should be, leading many a writer to actually use another office software such as Office 2010 to do the picture insertion. Too many too-smart features can actually break the user experience, something which Office 2013 seems to have too many of this time around.