Microsoft Office 2013 revealed
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Microsoft Office 2013 revealed

Many of those who work in the business sector rely on Microsoft solutions in their operations. From the Windows operating environment to specific programs like Microsoft Word, many use the company's offerings daily. The Office suite is one of the corporation's most successful lines, as the numerous programs included enable and simplify communications and collaborations.

Microsoft has now revealed a public preview of Office 2013 is available to users who want to get a jumpstart on learning the ins and outs of the suite before it is released in full.

"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," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer explained at a press conference.

New aspects to the popular line

According to Microsoft, Office 2013 will be more socially-driven. Now featuring additions from Yammer, People Card and Skype, users can stay connected to business and personal contacts. Yammer will allow businesses to access their own private social network to stay apprised of company news, while an updated SharePoint will be used to embed different sources of media in feeds, which can be managed using the People Card.

Moreover, the offerings will allow for touch screen activities. The latest Office suite will include a stylus that allows users to craft "handwritten" notes or emails on screen, which can be converted to text. An eraser and color feature can help add a special touch. OneNote and Lync will be streamlined with the aspect of the new offering.

Updates to favorite programs

While there are multiple new dimensions to the software suite, the old favorites are still present, many of which feature upgraded twists and features. Word, Outlook and Excel all include updates that can be used to produce a more efficient product, either at home or in the office.

Word, a program once marred by a lack of PDF compatibility, now offers a reflow, MSNBC reported, which allows viewers to look at such files in the same format as Word documents, providing an easier way to edit text and tables.

The files can also be seen in multiple views. The newer version of Outlook now enables Office 2013 users to reply to an email without having to open a new window – a small field opens at the top of the message chain, MSNBC explained. Other features allow for optimized view of the calendar, access to a weather update bar and provides for contact information.

Finally, Excel now suggests recommended charts, according to MSNBC, as well as an autofill function.

Preview available to public

However, eWEEK reported, the new Office can be cumbersome when used alongside Windows 8, as it is not quite optimized for touchscreen capabilities. Consumers may want to implement the suite on a traditional desktop platform to get comfortable with the updated features before switching to a tablet, mobile phone or other touch screen device.

According to the source, Ballmer's press conference did not include any mention as of predicted pricing or date of widespread availability. MSNBC did note, however, that there would be optimized offerings for homes, schools and businesses, and explained that, for the first time, Office 365 subscriptions would be marketed toward common consumers. This would allow users to access their stored files in the cloud from any internet-enabled device, MSNBC detailed.

Individuals and businesses can test out the newest Office edition by going to office.com/preview and downloading the program.