Microsoft has released the customer preview of its latest version of Microsoft Office, which will be cloud-based and work best on Windows 8.
Steve Ballmer announced the preview, claiming Office 2013 will provide consumers and businesses with unparalleled productivity and flexibility.
“It is a cloud service and will fully light up when paired with Windows 8,” Steve Ballmer said.
Ballmer announced three new Office 365 subscription services. Each new subscription offer will include the new 2013 editions of the Office applications — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.
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The new subscriptions include Office 365 Home Premium, designed for families and consumers. It includes an additional 20GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month.
Office 365 Small Business Premium has business-grade e-mail, shared calendars, website tools and HD webconferencing, Office 365 ProPlus, designed for big customers who want to take advantage of the cloud.
The software is designed to work on tablets with touchscreens to cater for the growing numbers of tablet computer users.
Forrester analyst Rob Koplowitz said: "The strategy is vintage Microsoft. Generate deeper and deeper integration between multiple products, marginalise products down to the level of core product features and bundle, bundle, bundle.”
There will be more details about features and pricing in the autumn.
What Microsoft says about Office 2013
- Touch everywhere. Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger.
- Inking. Use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite e-mail responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Colour your content and erase your mistakes with ease.
- New Windows 8 applications. OneNote and Lync represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes it easy to access features with your finger.
- Included in Windows RT. Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.
- SkyDrive. Office saves documents to SkyDrive by default, so your content is always available across your tablet, PC and phone. Your documents are also available offline and sync when you reconnect.
- Roaming. Once signed-in to Office, your personalised settings, including your most recently used files, templates and even your custom dictionary, roam with you across virtually all of your devices. Office even remembers where you last left off and brings you right back to that spot in a single click.
- Office on Demand. With a subscription, you can access Office even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured applications to an internet-connected Windows-based PC.
- New subscription services. The new Office is available as a cloud-based subscription service. As subscribers, consumers automatically get future upgrades in addition to exciting cloud services, including Skype world minutes and extra SkyDrive storage. Subscribers receive multiple installs for everyone in the family and across their devices.
- Yammer. Yammer delivers a secure, private social network for businesses. You can sign up for free and begin using social networking instantly. Yammer offers integration with SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics.
- Stay connected. Follow people, teams, documents and sites in SharePoint. View and embed pictures, videos and Office content in your activity feeds to stay current and update your colleagues.
- People Card. Have an integrated view of your contacts everywhere in Office. The People Card includes presence information complete with pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
- Skype. The new Office comes with Skype. When you subscribe, you get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month. Integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype.
- Digital note-taking. Keep your notes handy in the cloud and across multiple devices with OneNote. Use what feels most natural to you — take notes with touch, pen or keyboard, or use them together and switch easily back and forth.
- Reading and markup. The Read mode in Word provides a modern and easy-to-navigate reading experience that automatically adjusts for large and small screens. Zoom in and out of content, stream videos within documents, view revision marks and use touch to turn pages.
- Meetings. PowerPoint features a new Presenter View that privately shows your current and upcoming slides, presentation time, and speaker notes in a single glance. While presenting, you can zoom, mark up and navigate your slides with touch and stylus. Lync includes multiparty HD video with presentations, shared OneNote notebooks and a virtual whiteboard for collaborative brainstorming.
- Eighty-two-inch touch-enabled displays. Conduct more engaging meetings, presentations and lessons, whether in person or virtually, with these multitouch and stylus-enabled displays from Perceptive Pixel.