Is Office 15 Worthy of Your Office?

We could sit here and discuss forever how Android’s new Jelly Bean OS beats iPhone’s Siri in every test. However, that would be just for fun, a distraction from the important business that Windows announced on Monday. Hope you have not gotten used to Office 2010 because an update is coming and like Windows 7 was to Windows Vista—this one is big. Windows is trying to compete with a world full of desk top apps and tablets. Office’s new format will follow everything else in the shiney Windows 8 OS. Considering that Microsoft is entering that land a little bit late with its Surface tablet launching five years after the iPad, it’s important that everything works. Especially when keeping in mind that during its first display the tablet lowered many expectations. Microsoft promises that the Office 15 (aka Office 2013) will be convenient to use without a difficult learning curve. We’ve observed that learning might come be harder to those who have not joined Office 365, the cloud-enabled application system that businesses have been slow to adapt to. Microsoft promised during its Monday announcement that they will be working to better 365 while they put out the new Office 2013.[1]

The new Office Suite forces you to deal with the currently clumsy Office 365. If the previous version asked that you create your document on your desktop first, with the Word, PowerPoint or Excel doc and then upload it, Office 2013 will prefer you to start from the online server and only download the doc to your desktop if you need it. Your recent documents will show up as tiles once you open the desktop version the Office program. Again, tablet friendly. On the same note, Office 365 is supposed to make collaborations painless and it delivers. Little underlines and bubbles make it is easy to see when someone on your team is helping you out. No word yet whether all parties can have the same documents open at the same time without the program freaking out.

Here are some other highlights, summarized: Reading docs is easy too. When you’re in ‘Read Only’ mode entire paragraphs can be collapsed and all borders/mark ups removed, so that only one thing is front your eyes at a time. Office 2013 is able to read and edit PDF documents. Not only can you change a PDF document or embed it inside of your new Word.doc, you can then save that completed work as either a .pdf or a .doc. You can also embed videos into your document. Now to Excel. It’s gotten smarter so that it knows ahead of time what you are about to put into a new column if it’s seen that name/thing/number somewhere else before.  It will also recommends charts for you based on the contents of the table you created. Powerpoint can be uploaded online, which makes it great for moving your presentations as needed. Finally, Outlook has been made easier by modifying how you set up mail rules.

Business Worthiness: While this might be pretty convenient for those will little desktop memory, it is certainly a new manner of doing things. It might take a while to get used to not going to My Documents or your neat little folders on your home screen. The alternative will make neat little folders on the server that everyone can see across the company if you choose to do so without the hassle of having to look through your entire computer. As you can see, it’s business savvy to have the cloud to save space and time, but the learning curve might be considerably not worth it.  Keep in mind, however, that if the new Office does well, your business might be left in program dust.


[1] If you have a mid-size business, it might be easier to use SkyDrive, the cloud system that Microsoft holds for its Hotmail uses that can store up to 7GB of data and easily syncs with both its current Office, 2010 and Office 15.
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