On July 16 2012, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the immediate availability of the Customer Preview for the NEW Office 2013! This latest version of Office provides a lot of new features including new support for Touch Input, Cloud services integration (SkyDrive), Social collaboration and the Metro UI.
Office 2013 Customer Preview can be installed in just a few easy steps and installs within minutes and can co-exist and run side-by-side with an existing version of Office, which means there is no need to uninstall your current Office installation to try out the latest version, which is pretty neat.
“Office at Its Best on Windows 8
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 email responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Color 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.
Office Is in the Cloud
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 personalized 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.
Office Is Social
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.
Office Unlocks New Scenarios
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.”
Installing the new Office Customer Preview
Before getting started, you should review the Office 2013 System Requirements
To start the Office 2013 Customer Preview installation, visit http://office.com/preview
If you are a home user, click on the "Sign Up" button. Business users can click on the "Office 365 Enterprise"
Complete a new user profile and create a new Microsoft account. Note – If you are currently an Office 365 subscription user, you’ll need to sign up for a new Microsoft account that is different from your Office 365 login credentials to test the Customer Preview
Once you’ve signed up for a new Microsoft account, login to http://portal.microsoftonline.com with your new ID
From the Office 365 Admin home page, click the "Download Software" admin shortcut
Click the "install" button. This will launch the new "Click-to-Run" installer. (What’s Click-to-Run? Here’s a technical overview of this new technology)
The new Office installer will launch via Click-to-Run technology.
Review the Microsoft Office licensing agreement and then click the “Accept” button in the lower right corner.
Within a few minutes, the core of Office will start to install.
Then choose a look and feel to personalize your new Office client applications.
Click on the “Take a look” button if you would like to get a quick introduction to what’s new.
At this point, you can start to use Office. The rest of the installation will continue in the background and wrap up quickly.
After the click-to-run installation completes, you’ll see a new group in the Start menu. Here is where you’ll get to see the new application icons. They are definitely Metro inspired.
Here is the new Word splash screen which is briefly displayed as Word loads up.
I really like the new Office 2013 experience. You should try it out for yourself.