Microsoft Office 2013: The Verdict

By Peter Gothard
20 Jul 2012 View Comments
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Powerpoint

Further reading

Default templates seem to be stored on the cloud. Odd, but we're guessing that's probably an install option in the end.

Powerpoint is keen to impress upon us that widescreen formatting, Merge Shapes and Eyedropper facilities are upping the prettiness factor of 2013, but the real meat on these slightly more sumptuous bones is - as with Word - the collaboration possibilities.

We couldn't test it on our increasingly befuddled and hamstrung tablet, but the process as it was played out in the San Francisco Microsoft stage demonstration was quietly impressive.

Through Powerpoint Web App, colleagues can gather together and watch (or edit) a presentation in real time. The new Presenter View function also lets the presentation deliverer, if viewing on a different screen, look at a specially prepared display that includes crib sheets, previews of the next slide and even a timer to stop you running over.

All in all, Powerpoint translates well to Microsoft's social stylings, looks better than ever with the crisp new non-Ribbon visuals, and is surprisingly versatile on a tablet. Providing you stick with big, bold shapes and large letters (all the hallmarks of a good presentation anyway), it's conceivable that creating - or at least editing - presentations on the train won't be too much of a hassle.

Conclusions

It has some problems doing what it's told, and even more interfacing with the existing Office 365 ecosystem, but Microsoft's preview of Office 2013 is an extremely encouraging insight into what we can be expecting come release, which is confidently expected to be in early 2013.

Though the touch interfaces are often a little fiddly, the Office suite fair flies along even on the Slate, which is technically designed for Windows 7.

Add a keyboard and mouse to the mix, and you're basically running Office on a standard PC. The built-in keyboard and mouse compromise of Surface should be more than capable of making a go of this.

Microsoft's collaborative tools are sensibly implemented throughout, and Office looks set to bolster Office 365's already impressive loadout with some truly invaluable work solutions. Office 2013 looks set to innovate in a way that Microsoft's sorely needed, and could now be considered quite a few leaps ahead of Google Docs or LibreOffice.

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