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Lifestyle // Click Chick
Alison Young

Previewing Microsoft Office 2013

It’s been about three years since Microsoft unveiled a new version of Office, and last it showed the world the latest Office 2013. This release is optimized for both touchscreen and your traditional desktop, and tailored to work seamlessly with Windows 8.

“We are taking bold steps at Microsoft,” CEO Steve Ballmer said at last week’s press conference in San Francisco. “The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers. It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8.”

The biggest news is how and where you’ll be accessing your files, as Microsoft decided to move towards a cloud, subscription-based model where your Office files are tied to your Microsoft ID.

Once you sign up you can download various desktop apps, configure your settings, SkyDrive files and even the place you left off in a document will follow you from device to device.

Office saves your documents to SkyDrive by default so your content is always available across your tablet, PC and phone. You can also access your documents offline and sync them when you reconnect later. Once you are signed into Office, your personalized settings, including your most recently used files and templates will roam with you across your devices.

This Office overhaul makes it more social. This is definitely not the old Word we’ve all known over the years – for example, Word is now integrated with Facebook Flickr so you can pull pictures straight from there instead of having to download it and manually insert it into your document. This new Office also comes with 60 minutes of Skype minutes per month; Yammer (secure, private network for businesses); and the People Card, which allows you to view your contacts everywhere in Office (complete with pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts).

At this time no pricing has been announced, but you can see it for yourself if you download the free trial at office.com/preview. The full version is set to release this Fall and will include various subscription offers for the Office 365 services for all the 2013 Office applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. Additionally, it will include future rights to version upgrades across up to five PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

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