back to article Help us out here: What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?

It was Verity Stob who identified the key challenge for Microsoft Office upgrades: "Name just ONE feature introduced into Word in the 21st century that the weak-willed upgrader regularly uses," asked the antiquarian. Fourteen revisions since the first Office that it may not be easy, because spell checking, grammar checking, …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Jaruzel


    Word 2013 can open, edit and save PDFs.

    Saying goodbye finally to Adobe Standard is totally worth the upgrade.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: PDFs

      I presume only the text-based PDFs?

      In my practice those are few and far between...

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: PDFs

      PrimoPDF or Foxit Editor both allowed output from Word for ages.

      1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

        Re: PDFs

        *cough* even Libre/OpenOffice!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: PDFs

          The PDFs from Libre Ofice are particularly good.

        2. nematoad

          Re: PDFs

          Are you telling me that Word has not been able to handle PDFs like LibreOffice?

          Sorry, this is not a wind-up, but as someone who last used Office '97, I thought that *all* WPs could do this now.

          And people keep telling me that LO, OOO are not good enough, seems that they might never have used either of these programs.

          1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

            Re: PDFs

            "And people keep telling me that LO, OOO are not good enough, seems that they might never have used either of these programs."

            What!? You mean there is an alternative to Libre Office? Why?

      2. Steve Foster

        @Andrew Moore

        I think you missed his point about being able to _import_ PDFs.

    3. Steve Foster

      Re: PDFs

      So can LibreOffice (and has been able to do so for some time). Not sure about OpenOffice.

      Now, I'll admit that LO turns PDFs into Draw documents, rather than anything else, but it does seem to be quite effective.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: PDFs

      Yes..and ignore all the skim-readers who see "Word...PDF" together and come up with some oh-so-witty response about how FoxIt/Ghostscript//LO/OO has been able to do that for ages. That's an OUTPUT issue that is long solved. But being able to get a PDF and load it INTO Word and actually do something useful with it is a big deal.

      On the other hand...the prospect of converting a bazillion high-powered Excel- and Word-fu macros from VBA into whatever the new dev platform is, is...worrying. Time to hit MSDN and start researching, I think.

      1. PrivateCitizen
        Thumb Up

        Re: PDFs


        I agree and office has been able to export to PDFs for a long time now (IIRC, 2003 version allows it).

        However, the hurdle has always been importing PDF data and that is a significant improvement if it works.

        Unfortunately, as a few others have suggested, lots of PDFs on the web tend to be weirdly saved as PDF images..... (especially ones from HMG who seem obsessed with saving the document, printing it out, then scanning it back in as a PDF'd JPEG........ MADNESS).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Word 2013 can also give me a headache by merely looking at an Office presentation on Youtube. I think I'll sit this one out.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    There is no point.

    They just like to make work harder for us that is all. MS = Masochistic Software.

    They will have to price my Windows 7 + Office 2003 VM from my cold dead hands because I sure ain't upgrading to this crap incarnation of something that was half decent.

    All the Ribbon Fanboi's can now start their downvoting but for me, the ribbon just does not work in any shape or form.

    Coat, VM with Office 2003 in pocket? Check.

    1. kurrekt

      Re: There is no point.

      Totally agree that ribbon is an abomination. I have been using 2007 for 3 years and I still hate it. In comparison, 2003 was a work of felt like it was made with care and precision. 2007 and ribbon is just a horrible exercise in veneer engineering.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: There is no point.

        veneer engineering

        Pretty good. You have to pronounce it like Samuel Jackson did "Royale with Cheese", I suppose.

      2. dajames
        Thumb Up

        Re: There is no point.

        ... ribbon is just a horrible exercise in veneer engineering.

        "Veneer Engineering" ... I like it (but not the ribbon, which is just screen bling).

      3. BillG

        Re: There is no point.

        I'm still using Office 2003 and I really enjoy it!

        And for someone who wants Office-compatible software, just spend $15 and buy Office 2000 off eBay. Download and install the free MS Office compatibility pack from the MS website, and you have total compatibility with all flavors of Office. You can even save in Office 2007/10 format! And no DRM - install on as many computers as you like.

    2. Keith 72

      Re: There is no point.

      Here's one reason to upgrade to Office 2013 - you can finally ask excel to open A NEW WINDOW! This feature should have been implemented many versions ago. But I'm happy as I no longer have to open multiple instances of excel to get one spreadsheet on one monitor and a different spreadsheet on the other.

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: There is no point.

        Here's one reason to upgrade to Office 2013 - you can finally ask excel to open A NEW WINDOW! This feature should have been implemented many versions ago. But I'm happy as I no longer have to open multiple instances of excel to get one spreadsheet on one monitor and a different spreadsheet on the other.

        I recall a user asking this very thing some time back with Office 2003. It IS doable, I googled for the answer. Can't remember details now, but I do remember it wasn't intuative.

        Kinda like MS didn't WANT you to do it, but left it configurable enough behind the scenes anyway.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: There is no point.

      Ribbon haters of the world unite!

      Having used the ribbon, with its mass of poorly sized and illogically located buttons for a few years I've come to the conclusion that there is one point to the ribbon which is vendor lock in. The ribbon has an interface where the user associates functions to locations. I'd speculate the function button location thing has been done deliberately to make it difficult to use an alternative.

  3. taxman


    'There is also a bit more cloud in Office 2013, which hooks into SkyDrive so users are steered towards cloud storage. The advantage is that documents will be available across all devices.' in default and has to be changed by the user (and how many PICNICs have you come across!)

    Yeah, great, wonderful........until something (insert disaster of your choice) happens to your Interweb connection or you want to retrieve a doc on the move and there's no signal for for dongle (and there are places in the UK where that happens) or you don't have enough credit left on your download.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SkyDrive?

      Better still - lets put all of our documents directly in to the hands of a US corporation without client-side encryption. What could possibly be wrong with that?


    2. Neil B

      Re: SkyDrive?

      Yes, tragedy! Guess you'll just have to use the version *which is always synced to your hard drive*.

    3. 0laf Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: SkyDrive?

      Depending on what sort of documents you are working on the Information Commissioner might come knocking on your door with a big fat fine for breaching the DPA.

      Cloud and DPA don't mix well yet.

      1. jason 7

        Re: SkyDrive?

        DPA issues is something that really appears to have been brushed under the carpet by all concerned in the 'cloud arena'.

        Not that long ago I was hunting round for cloud storage that was contained in the UK. The couple of companies that fitted the bill were totally clueless about it when I called them.

        Needs a major investigation and kick up the arse to clarify.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: SkyDrive?


          Usually it's not a requirement that such a service has to be located in the UK. For appropriate Data Protection cover anywhere in Europe (the EU) is acceptable. Taking data that should be protected out of the EU and into countries that do not have adequate, or any, privacy safeguards is in contravention of the Data Protection Act. This includes storing data in cloud infrastructures or heading off to US organisations that are not specifically registered under the Safe Harbor (sp) act for the distinct and specified purpose required.

          I'm in no way affiliated with them, but Wuala provide EU based cloud storage. It's a bit clunky in places but has some good features that are well suited to business as well rather than the complete focus on individual storage that is usually found everywhere else.

          1. jason 7

            Re: SkyDrive?

            Cheers Nick!


          2. chrisf1

            Re: SkyDrive?

            Still not quite. You can transfer data without issue in the EU+EEA regulatory regimes and in safe harbour countries or use contractual processes to safe guard data out of the EU. The EU have published model contracts.

            So as long as the contract between the parties is sufficient to protect the data you can move the data. Makes sense as the issue is really about protecting private data not its geographic location. However its geographic location even in the EU will affect what level of legal interception is allowed and what level of due process is required to release such data to the various authorities that may ask for it.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: contract between the parties is sufficient to protect the data

              I'm not aware that any private contact can ever contradict national law. So it seems to me that if you need to comply with British/EU regs, you pretty much need to stay in that geographical region.

              And I say that as a US citizen who isn't quite as concerned about complying with that law as someone in the EU needs to be.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SkyDrive?

          Needs a major investigation and kick up the arse to clarify.

          @jason 7: as far as I'm aware this is actually already happening. I think this brief was given to the EU Justice Article 29 working group (the same club who wrote that nice letter to Google).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SkyDrive?

        the Information Commissioner might come knocking on your door with a big fat fine for breaching the DPA

        Yup. Which a big fat US company doesn't really seem to care about. Using Gmail for business presents you with the same problem (which has already led to lawsuits) so just give it some time.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I already upgraded. To Libre Office :)

  5. NomNomNom

    Like most Microsoft offerings this sounds very exciting!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @ NomNomNom


      Like most Microsoft offerings this sounds very exciting!"

      Hands up those who get a hard on at the mere mention of Microsoft Office!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ NomNomNom

        Well presumably they can only put one hand up though...

  6. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up

    Google Docs...

    I'm finding Google Docs more than capable for the odd use I have. And it comes with collaboration built in. And is platform agnostic.

    1. Vimes

      Re: Google Docs...

      ...and presumably stores your documents in 'the cloud' - gods I hate that term - leaving it accessible to both governments intent on carrying out fishing expiditions and hackers trying to break in to the accounts stored there.

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: Google Docs...

        Believe me, there's nothing important there. If Google wants it they are welcome to it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google Docs...

          Believe me, there's nothing important there. If Google wants it they are welcome to it.

          Excellent. Can you set all your documents to public and send me a link please? I am just a bit nosy and would like to have a look over your files as well.

    2. Best Before:

      Re: Google Docs...

      I am having to use Google docs and the respective Google Drive for the first time in a corp env and whilst from a compatibility perspective its a good win from a functionality perspective its a big lose... Don't get me started about using Gmail vs. Outlook, whilst I am not a huge MS fan having grown up on SCO Sys V, Linux early beta's, and most of the various Linux forks, SUN Solaris etc I do find that for shear ease of use Office 03-07 isn't half bad. Especially when I would rather spend more of my working day resolving issues on the job I have been employed to do than trying to shoe horn workarounds just to attach multiple emails to one email..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Docs...

        Especially when I would rather spend more of my working day resolving issues on the job I have been employed to do than trying to shoe horn workarounds just to attach multiple emails to one email..

        The pay is the same though ....

      2. Tom 13

        Re: shoe horn workarounds just to attach multiple emails to one email

        I'd give you 20 up-votes for that statement alone if I could. The most bizarre part of that to me is that I have the distinct recollection I was able to do that a few years ago, but it is now nearly impossible. Most of the time we work around it with GASMO and Outlook, but yeah, as a corporate solution, I think GMail sucks.

  7. Semaj
    Thumb Down

    ToDo Bar

    I can't believe there was no mention of how much they've messed up appointments & calendars in Outlook.

    If you use Outlook for managing your time you will want to avoid this update.

    1. LMitchell
      IT Angle

      Re: ToDo Bar

      I found it an improvement personally - especially if your IT guys have set up Exchange properly.

      1. Semaj

        Re: ToDo Bar

        I like to see when my next holidays or social appointments are even if they are a few weeks away.

        So it's not a massive problem for me but if I used it for business there's no way I'd put up with it. I'm sure that sales reps who like to know at a glance if they are going to be driving up the country over the next few days will be hit especially hard.

        Anyway, just do a Google search for "Outlook 2013 ToDo bar" and you'll find plenty angry people.

  8. Aoyagi Aichou

    "The ribbon makes more features visible"

    I'm sorry, what? In 2003, I can have any button or control element I want visible at all times and at ideal sizes (meaning small, yet easy to click). On upper toolbar and lower one too. As a major bonus, the programs open instantly without some "fancy" init screens. Oh and no annoying pulsing MS logo like 2007 had.

    Then again, I guess it gets down to personal preference. I just like to have all controls I use visible, not have to click between tabs. That's about as annoying as "network and sharing center".

    1. Vimes

      Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

      It is rather revealing that MS didn't offer users with the option of reverting to the old style menus.

      It's almost as if they knew people would prefer to stick with the old system...

      1. Tom 13

        Re: option of reverting to the old style menus.

        I concur that the Ribbon is a major PITA, but I expect trying to maintain both layouts would have been problematic for the programers. So that part makes sense to me from the MS point of view.

        1. BorkedAgain

          Re: option of reverting to the old style menus.

          @tom 13: It shouldn't be about what makes sense from MS' point of view, but what makes sense to the user.

          MS never really seem to have grasped this fundamental point...

    2. Efros

      Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

      The ribbon is a complete pain in the arse, the endless shuffling around of features from menu to menu that has dogged office in each iteration just makes the whole experience a trial. Excel 2013 just does my nut in.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

      I'm convinced the ribbon is designed to punish those who predominantly use a keyboard. As an example, pre-ribbon to quickly accept an Outlook invite you'd press alt+c, the "c" being handily underlined in case you forget. Hitting enter sent the confirmation (or the arrows let you change the default behaviour).

      In post-ribbon, I press alt (lo, the letters appear), then H (to select the "Meeting" tab, naturally the H is silent), then C, then E, S or D to edit, send, or don't send a response.

      So from alt-C (with visual clue already there), enter. To alt <pause>, H, <pause>, C, <pause>, E, S, D. Thanks MS, it's now quicker for me to move off the keyboard and use the mouse.

      1. Fuzz

        Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

        I don't know about Outlook because I haven't checked but certainly in Excel you can use all the old shortcuts as well as the new ones even though the options aren't displayed on the screen.

        1. Annihilator

          Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

          @Fuzz - nope, this was a menu shortcut. It's gone. Asking on the MS forums results in an MVP telling you the convoluted option as if it were an obvious replacement.

    4. Roger Greenwood

      Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

      "I just like to have all controls I use visible"

      Exactly - I don't understand why users cannot configure the toolbar how they want it. This is what I do on my CAD system - I know what commands I will need, where I will need them, I can make custom command buttons etc. That is what drives productivity for us.

      Making the system guess what you will need and hiding the rest is insane.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

        Im guessing none of you have found

        Right click on ribbon --> customise the ribbon.

        I have, and have removed a load of stuff i don't need, and replaced it with things i do. It's not rocket surgery.

        1. Roger Greenwood

          Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

          "customise the ribbon"

          Correct - we never found it. After a couple of users had the ribbon a few years ago and got all frustrated we started using LibreOffice instead. Much calmer since then with the added bonus that I don't need to worry about licensing or the BSA when workstations get shifted around.

          1. Jaruzel

            Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

            'Customise the ribbon' wasn't there in Office 2007 (when the ribbon debuted) it wasn't until Office 2010 that you could do it. By then of course, all the users who NEEDED to customise the ribbon had defected to OpenOffice or downgraded back to 2003 (and are probably still using it).

            1. BorkedAgain
              Thumb Up

              Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible" @Jaruzel

              "...By then of course, all the users who NEEDED to customise the ribbon had defected to OpenOffice or upgraded back to 2003 (and are probably still using it)."

              Fixed that for you.

        2. Steve Foster

          Re: "customise the ribbon"

          But that only appeared in Office 2010...

          Office 2007 users were limited to "Customise the Quick Access Toolbar" (which was not actually terribly usable).

        3. DiBosco

          Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

          Rocket surgery! :D

    5. 0laf Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

      The ribbon is a bit of pain on today's widescreen laptops. Wouldn't so much of an issue on an old 4:3 setup.

      Vertical space is at a premium anyway.

      1. daveeff
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

        > Vertical space is at a premium anyway.

        Especially when displaying a4 pages on widescreens (like 90% of the time) - why can't we move the ribbon to the side?!??

    6. qDr

      Re: "The ribbon makes more features visible"

      You can switch off the fancy loading screen in 2013. You have to untick that in the options. Along with numerous other "improvements" that appeared in Office 2007/2010.

  9. G R Goslin

    As I recollect

    As I recollect there were a number of very good WP programmes out originally. Ami Pro seemed to be the easiest to use. Where MS scopred was that they refused to acknowledge any other format than their own. Others would open, or save in any number of formats, MS in only theirs. So, if you wanted to send a document to anyone who ran MS Office, then it had to be .doc format. So offices tended to go for MS whenever an update came around. It simply froze all the opposition out. It certainly wasn't better.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: As I recollect

      It certainly wasn't better.

      You have to go back a bit further. If you wanted to avail yourself of Windows 3.x and required a Word Processor, Word 2 knocked the spots off everything else around at the time. Also Excel pissed on the opposition as a spreadsheet. The incumbent market leaders from the DOS days all missed the target by a mile with their early Windows offerings. Words (hah!) do not exist to describe how badly WordPerfect for Windows stunk when it turned up.

      That's when MS took the high ground and they've defended it to the hilt ever since.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: As I recollect

        Indeed, I would say that there is very little in Word that I used on a regular basis that wasn't in Word for WIndows 2.

      2. Richard Plinston

        Re: As I recollect

        > If you wanted to avail yourself of Windows 3.x and required a Word Processor, Word 2 knocked the spots off everything else around at the time.

        Of course, but that was because MS had special features in Windows that Word used and others could not. Or, indeed, had advised others of features (not used by Word) that it later did not implement.

        See: Novell vs MS on WordPerfect.

      3. JEDIDIAH

        Re: As I recollect

        > If you wanted to avail yourself of Windows 3.x

        All blatant nonsense.

        You can't re-write history. Some of us were actually there. Alleged msoffice supremacy was as much over hyped Lemming nonsense then as it is today.

      4. Philip Lewis

        Re: As I recollect

        Sad, but true. WordPerfect 5.1 (also available on VMS in VT terminal form) was an excellent product. We stayed on DOS and VMS WP 5.1 until we were pretty much forced the windows route, and WordPerfect simply dropped the ball. They dropped the ball rather badly.

        This is one of the few MS successes where they actually had a better product (Windows Word v. Windows WP)

  10. Steve Crook

    Libre Office does it for me...

    It doesn't do as much as MSO, but it does enough, and I can live with the quirks. When I used MSO at work there's rarely (if ever) anything that couldn't be done with Libre Office...

    1. Comments are attributed to your handle
      Thumb Up

      Re: Libre Office does it for me...

      I just switched to Libre Office and I'm very happy with it so far. I actually like LO Calc better than Excel. In Calc, I can create a chart in one step; axis titles, chart title, data set, etc. - all entered on one screen.

  11. JDX Gold badge

    Name just ONE feature introduced ... in the 21st century ... regularly uses,

    Print to PDF?

    Yes yes you could get add-ons or use OO but that's not the question. I use this all the time.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: Name just ONE feature introduced ... in the 21st century ... regularly uses,

      Yes but RedMon and GS, PDFCreator or any of the other add-ons also allow you to "print" PDFs from anywhere be it notepad, photo viewer, chrome or any application that has any printing ability for that matter not just new Office applications. I use it all the time too but just the add-on not the one built in Word 2010 since the add-on has better security and encryption options.

    2. ThomH

      Re: Name just ONE feature introduced ... in the 21st century ... regularly uses,

      That shouldn't really be an application-level feature anyway — it should most naturally reside in the GDI (or whatever has supplanted it) according to my understanding of the Windows API as PDF documents are just another abstract canvas to paint to.

  12. Sil

    For any demanding work ( 200+ document with tons of photos), big presentation, very large spreadsheet gdocs or libreoffice just don't cut it.

    In addition it is so much easier to use office when all your customers, suppliers and partners are using it.

    Re the 2013 version I didn't use it enough to make up my mind about upgrading, I'm waiting for the new business contact manager as the bcm 2010 isn't compatible with Outlook 2013 so I'm still using Outlook 2010. Btw BCM is quite the hidden gem, a great crm for small scale deployments.

    1. Steve Foster

      Re: "Btw BCM is quite the hidden gem, a great crm for small scale deployments."

      One of my clients is using BCM2010. They were asking about the new Office last week as I deployed a brand new Dell PC with W7 Pro and Office 2010 H&B for them. Now I know to tell them to steer clear of Office 2013 for now at least.

    2. arctic_haze
      Thumb Up

      Libre office not good for big presentation?

      Define your big.

      I've been lecturing since using OpenOffice and later LibreOffice since 2005 and never had a problem. I became so sure of its stability I sometimes did not save for hours while working on the lectures and never had to regret it.

      I especially like the possibility of using the projector as my second screen while on the first I see the hour, time since I started and the next slide.

      The possibility of making your document or presentation as a PDF file was there in 2005, years before Microsoft copied it.

      I absolutely see no reason to pay for MS Office. I uninstalled it from my work PC about 2007 even as I had a license and never looked back.

  13. Canecutter

    Only one thing I use Office for

    The only thing I use Office for is Word's document outline editor. It's efficient, it gets out of my way, and it lets me build my document from skeleton. A highly useful feature, in my opinion.

    Does anyone know if OpenOffice or Libre Office have a document outline editor?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Only one thing I use Office for

      I, too, have always liked the outline view in Word and I do miss it in OpenOffice which only has page layout and web views. OpenOffice's performance on Mac OS is still a bit meh, but it suffices for most things.

  14. Neil Dawson

    PowerPoint is pretty good and gets better with each version

    While I'm not a particular MS fan, our company does use it heavily and PowerPoint is a large part of that.

    PowerPoint 2010 introduced much better transitions from 2007 and proper support for Quicktime video.

    It also greatly improved the file format, 2010 PowerPoint embeds audio and video in one single, although often very large, file.

    I've looked at the trial of PowerPoint 2013 and transition as again better. However, there is a still a gloss missing when compared to the [much cheaper] Keynote.

    Of course, users still have the chance to make truly terrible presentations if they go font/animation-mad but it's a good step forward.

    However, for the other Office Apps it is admittedly hard to see the benefits from 2003 or even earlier versions.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The one feature that makes Office 2013 a sure bet

    The ability to open the latest word doc format.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The ability to open the latest word doc format.

      *That's* not hard. Office 2003 and LibreOffice both manage just fine.

      Opening the latest format and seeing the page breaks in the same places that the original author saw them. Now *that's* almost impossible. Apparently WYSIWYG is for losers.

      (Oh, and why do I care? Well, usually I don't but just occasionally a document needs to conform to some anal-retentive's rules about minimum font sizes and line spacings and maximum word and page counts. It's rather annoying for the "final copy" to be sent off, only to have it rejected because the recipient used a different version of Office.)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: The ability to open the latest word doc format.

        @Ken - OpenOffice can cope quite well with .docx but less well with .xlsx files. At least I've found charts to be read only objects.

      2. itzman

        Re: The ability to open the latest word doc format.

        send it as a PDF with fonts embedded :-)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't think of a single use I have for an office suite that I would want anywhere near the cloud.

    1. John G Imrie

      I can

      Writing fake email replies to obnoxious MP's declining to be involved in their latst expenses scam.

      1. BorkedAgain

        Re: I can

        You dog! I love it... :)

  17. BigAndos

    The main benefit for me..

    Upgrading to 2007 and above removed the pain-in-the-a*se 65,536 row limit in Excel! I was so happy with that I overlooked the upheaval with the ribbon. In fact I don't mind the ribbon these days, the one thing that really does my head in is applying custom cell borders in Excel. Otherwise I've come to quite like it.

    The only thing I really noticed with 2007-2010 was improved SharePoint integration so I agree with the premise of the article, it is starting to get more and more difficult to see the point in upgrading.

    1. Uwe Dippel

      Re: The main benefit for me..

      I really think there is something wrong with your work outlines. How long do you have to scroll through 65000+ rows? What the heck do you have in a single spreadsheet (and not linked into another one)?

      With this amount of date, would a database not be a more adequate solution?

      Just questions ...

      1. BigAndos

        Re: The main benefit for me..

        I regularly work with financial pricing data, e.g. foreign exchange where the price might move 100,000 times in a day. The source systems that store tick data for me only output in plain CSV format. You're right in that I could import that into a database, but unfortunately I don't have a database environment where I can dump in data for ad-hoc analysis. Our company doesn't let us use MS Access, and I don't have admin rights to install Oracle XE (for example). Sometimes it is just easier to use Excel!

  18. LMitchell

    Worth the money? Depends

    I've been using it for a month or so now, and while there aren't a huge number of staggering new features the changes they have made do make it a smoother and more pleasant experience. 2013 is definitely something that benefits a business buying fresh now or a subscription user (what they would prefer you to be anyway). Since businesses often skip a generation anyway the difference from say 2007 is far more enticing.

    Here are some new bits not mentioned:

    - Animation on cursor movement, selection boxes etc (sure eye candy but nice)

    - Cleaned up visual style gives more document room (YMMV)

    - Themes and styles cleaned up and made a bit more consistent across the suite

    - Proper presenter mode on PowerPoint

    - Better online template integration

    - Better document navigation in Word

    - Outlook has better meeting controls (although somebody in this thread didn't like it)

    - A lot of annoying bits & pieces - inconsistencies cleaned up (for example social connector and Hotmail access in Outlook).

    - PDF tools

    - One big negative you can't publish your calendar to you have to find another provider to sync to (I went with

    I'm sure there is lots of other cool stuff I've not played with (certainly Excel seems to have had some love lavished on it to make things easier). Is it enough to force you to upgrade maybe not but if you have a subscription you'll appreciate it.

    P.S. Not part of core Office but Visio finally properly acts like an Office application - and definitely is a worthy upgrade.

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Worth the money? Depends

      I'd agree with the above, and add one more. I'm not saying this is worth the money (and I have no idea if OO/LO does this) but if you send an e-mail with text in it such as "I attach the..." and don't attach anything Outlook will check you meant to send it without an attachment. Which is surprisingly useful, and should cut down on e-mails called "this time with attachment".


      Replying to e-mails embedded in the reading pane is an experiment too far, however,

      Oh, also saying after a spell check "you're good to go" really grates.


      The cursor animation in e-mails (in the preview, not used the final release) also lags behind the letter being typed, which is really off-putting if you look at the screen and not the keys when typing.

      Excel has an odd habit of perpetually rendering cell contents. So, you type =SUM(yada yada) it stays there, or appears in another cell while the cell you'd worked on shows the answer. When you scroll the spreadsheet it stays where it is. It even survives minimising the thing, only solution is to close the sheet and reopen. After saving when there are a lot of tabs it will freeze and show just the top left 10x10 grid until you click outside that grid.

      And finally, why does it keep insisting on using US English? Windows must tell it my keyboard type, and my timezone, preferred language and location. But, no, first time I type "analyse" it is changed to "analyze" (which can't even be a word, given its etymology) so I have to go and find how to change the default dictionary.

      ...and reporting them as bugs is a pain, because it wants to send a screenshot. Yep, I'll do that, a lovely screenshot of that confidential spreadsheet I was working on...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worth the money? Depends

      I absolutely hate Office on the whole for years it's been in my humble opinion the worst pile of junk I've ever come across. Unfortunately for me it seemed to be the only product I could find that actually fit with what I need to use it for. I've tried Open Office a number of times and each time it just didn't work for me (It would really help if they added a full fledged email client). It might just be me... The learning curve to use it properly whilst doing my job may be too high... it may just be trying to use it whilst everyone else is using office around me. I can't remember precisely. It's about a year since I last tried it.

      Despite having about 10 different software software development suites on my machine and two major graphics packages I've always been of the opinion that word processors are actually the most complicated pieces of software to use 'properly'. Most people seem unaware of half the things they can actually do for you. I'm probably still one of them.

      For the time being I've never found an alternative I like to office. *However* I've been using Office 2013 for about 4-5 months or so. It is undeniably the best one they've released in a long time. I think what makes it better for me is the number of long term bugs that have been fixed in 2013. The irritation factor has definitely stepped down from 'I'm close to hanging myself here' putting a simple design document together too 'hey this is almost usable'. Even Outlook doesn't have that wrist slitting feel to it anymore.

      It's definitely worth it for that. It does need a more beefy machine to work nicely though. I think it makes use of hardware acceleration in places.

  19. Jody

    New versions of Word have mainly just jumbled up the icons and menus so I can't find anything anymore. Worse than pointless.

  20. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Let me correct that for you

    > ... Office Open XML was eventually standardised by ISO, a process that was opposed by advocates of OpenDocument, an alternative XML standard used by OpenOffice.

    Open XML was opposed by all sorts of people :

    People who value standard and interoperability rather than locked down walled gardens.

    People who put a value of quality - seriously, have people looked at what's in Open XML ?

    And by no means least, those that value a proper standard setting process vs a process that demonstrated it's available to be bought by anyone with enough money. Seriously, the whole debacle really, really devalued the standards bodies involved to the extent that standards bodies (and the standards they set) are now less respected.

    1. sgtrock

      Re: Let me correct that for you

      Not to mention the sheer size of the OOXML standard makes it impossible to determine that it's internally correct throughout:

      * Part 1 (Fundamentals and Markup Language Reference) This part has 5560 pages. (No, that's not a typo.)

      * Part 2 (Open Packaging Conventions) This part has 129 pages.

      * Part 3 (Markup Compatibility and Extensibility) This part has 40 pages.

      * Part 4 (Transitional Migration Features) This part has 1464 pages.

      For a grand total of 7,193 pages! And you thought War and Peace was long! lol

      By contrast, the OpenDocument format is about a tenth of that. That is much closer to being in line with a typical ISO standard.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let me correct that for you

        And lets not forget they didn't implement it anyway:

        Inventing the oxymoron of normative variations - so you can either conform to the standard or have interoperability with MS but not both.

  21. The Alpha Klutz

    "With Office 2013 now officially available, is there anything in it actually worth upgrading for?"

    Let's look at a complete list of reasons to upgrade shall we:

    1. To guarantee compatibly with Microsoft proprietary formats into the future as and when they are changed arbitrarily.

    2. Because you hate having money, you could give it to charity, but it turns out you hate charity as well, so you give it to Microsoft

  22. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Content before Chrome

    "Why is it so washed-out in appearance? The reason, we conjecture, is that the Office team got the “Content before Chrome” memo, which is meant to show off your content by having the application controls recede into the background."

    Sounds good, until you realise that it means ignoring the end-users system preferences. When Windows was first finding its legs, MS told us that by sticking to system colours and styling we would make our apps more usable. There was even research to back this up. Chances are, it's actually true.

    Then, around the mid-90s, both Office and Visual Studio seemed to decide that guidelines were for little people and they would re-invent the GUI with each new release because usability was less important than branding. Third party vendors then wanted to play catch-up and attempted, with varying degrees of success, to clone "whatever version of Office or Visual Studio *they* bought most recently" and we've ended up with almost everyone using differently styled (and differently broken) controls.

    A plague on all their houses.

    1. Ocular Sinister

      Re: Content before Chrome

      Ironically, X applications in the 90's suffered from the problem if inconsistent chrome and tool kits and everyone complained (quite rightly in my opinion) that it was hard to use. Now a days my KDE desktop is blissfully consistent - even non-KDE applications - and Windows apps are all over the place!

  23. Atonnis

    Minority here...

    ..but I actually like Office 2013. It's clean-cut layouts and file storage accessibility features are great for me. I have 3 separate online storage accounts and it just adds them on, links with Sharepoint, etc.

    I suppose it works better for me because I subscribed into the whole shebang, getting myself an Office 365 account with Sharepoint storage, email, etc - and it all just works for me.

    As a network admin, I can see the big question of 'why?' when compared to other products, but considering the place I'm currently at is all using Office 2007 I can easily answer that question - 'because 2013 isn't a floppy, crappy, flaky piece of crap'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Minority here...

      lol you shouldnt have to buy your own software for work though. I would find a better job.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Minority here...

      I got to "test" MS Office 2007 - and it was released with defective menus, and missing functions AND the fucking RIBBON.

      In the bin, this piece of shit goes.....

      That was the LAST ever version of MS office that I ever used.......

      I still have 2003 / 2000 though.

      They are quite all right.

      Except for Microsofts never ending upgrade cycles, and the special "backward compatability" to do with their rigged ISO standards, which amounts to nothing more than requiring MORE software / patches, to enable me to use XML documents,

      Most of the "latest versions" are nothing but bullying and intimidation, and other pressuring, to remain on their otherwise generally worthless "CASH COW" upgrade cycle.

      Smiley - laughs at Microsoft.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is the common feature of W8 and Office 2013?


  25. TRT Silver badge

    Powerpoint 2010...

    was the first version I've noticed in 15 years that has had any improvements. I prefer to use a flip chart myself. Or Keynote.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other changes in Office 2003.

    No such thing as retail box and PKC now. You can only get the medialess edition and they have increased the price. £309.99 + VAT for Pro compared to £215 + VAT for 2010 pro PKC

    As they are medialess they are supplied under the same terms as PKC, in other words you cannot reinstall them on another system.

  27. Ilsa Loving

    The purpose?

    To squeeze extra money out of people, obviously. They want a steadier, more reliable revenue stream so they are heavily pushing their subscription model. In the process, they are willfully crippling their desktop offerings to 'entice' people towards the subscription version.

    For example Home & Student, besides being more expensive than before, can't be installed on 3 machines anymore and doesn't include outlook.

    The single worst change is that retail copies of Office are NO LONGER TRANSFERABLE between computers! So if you upgrade to a new computer, you have to buy a fresh copy of office because you're not allowed to move your license from your old machine.

    These new licensing changes are just begging for a legal challenge.

    1. nematoad

      Re: The purpose?

      "These new licensing changes are just begging for a legal challenge"

      Why bother throwing good money after bad?

      Just don't buy the bloody thing.

      Use LibreOffice instead

      1. Chris Collins 1

        Re: The purpose?

        I been looking into LibreOffice and it appears to be missing an email client, am I right? I guess thunderbird may be an option although last time I tried thunderbird I couldnt get on with it.

        For the most part I do agree with most complaints here.

        Ribbon is an abnomiation (spelt wrong I know sorry), I am using office 2007 which at least keeps ribbon away from outlook, I was using office 2003 but that had some bad performance issues with outlook soI upgraded. I do have office 2010 licenses but didnt use it due to outlook ribbon and some bugs (such as the junk email filter staying on when turned off, although granted that may be fixed now as that was from the beta days).

        Office 2013 with the apparent licences locked to hardware is a big fail, in fact activation is the evil in modern software which different developers seem to be attracted to by droves, but combining it with forbidden transfer is just horrible.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From a security point of view

    Office 2003 / 2007 and 2010 all shared issues with RCEs

    2013 proved the same...

    Memory Corruption exploits are in the wild for Publisher and Excel 2013 already (have been online since November '12)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >"What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?"

    Vendor lockin. They want to hold all your documents hostage in the cloud in order to make you keep on paying over and over and over again.

  30. Lord Voldemortgage

    Fluent UI


  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, sequels... ‘Transformers of the Caribbean’ anyone?

    Office updates and windows for that matter are like ugly movie sequels. The Simpons said it best I think with ‘Transformers of the Caribbean’..

    If there ever was such a thing as an expert, then I was one once for US trading desks. I probably knew just about everything there was to know about Excel. Trading Desks are one of the few areas where the quants know the product better than 99% of MS employees. We had a hot-line into the MS development team too, and we were often more correct about the actual inner workings of Office ‘features’. It was so, because we actually USED the product more everyday! So what do I use now?

    Office 2000 with the 2007 compatibility pack!

    Why? Because as many have said the product peaked in 2003. For us the RTD (real-time data) feature was key. Whilst Millions of rows were for us, er-- any idea how unmanageably large traders linked spreadsheets were before?! But version 2000 was the last version that forwent activation hassles and it can run on Win7 after a one minute install!

    Word now includes PDF formats? Great! But its taken so them long most people implemented alternate solutions years ago. For instance the free PDF995 tool. Some of the developer features may be useful in the future, but its taken MS so long to catch up to user needs that other solutions were implemented using earlier Office versions with macros or 3rd party tweaks. Why upgrade now and break what already works?! 'There is also a bit more cloud in Office 2013, which hooks into SkyDrive'. Rather late to game as many use DropBox. Moreover, at places where I work one can get fired for putting documents in the cloud i.e. proprietary info / sensitive data etc!

    Whether its films or software only big-biz can keep kicking out the same old sh*te and expect us to buy in. MS truly stifled innovation. To finish on a movie note. MS’ lack of imagination reminds me of Clint Eastwood’s: The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976:

    “Don’t keep pissing down my back and tell me its raining.”

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, sequels... ‘Transformers of the Caribbean’ anyone?

      For me, Office 2007 (with SP3) was the last 'best' Office that I have been using (been using all editions since 97). Office 2010 added nothing tangible, and I'm not particularly keen on subscription-based option and Microsoft's social/cloud features embedded into Office 2013.

      Office 2007 does everything I throw at it.

      Ergo, I won't be upgrading for a long, long, long time.

      Granted, I may be biased because I am not vehemently against the Ribbon, but I found it to be okay and not annoying for daily usage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah, sequels... ‘Transformers of the Caribbean’ anyone?

        What was missing from Office 2003 that Office 2007 brought for you?

        Can you list some things? It would be interesting to know how these extra features were worth the price of the Ribbon...

        1. koolholio

          Re: Ah, sequels... ‘Transformers of the Caribbean’ anyone?

          creation of .docx files?

          A few improvements security wise?

  32. mhoneywell

    Libre / Google

    I know we're all techies of some level here, give or take, but I think it does a dis-service to our skill set, knowledge and experience to suggest Google and Libre are viable alternatives.

    I know there are cases where they can be great and very useful, but they are edge cases - bubbles, islands, intra-company tools. And just not viable for supporting business and commerce on any scale.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Libre / Google

      The only reason that they are not more widely used is interoperability. Microsoft is so pervasive now and has ring fenced the market with proprietary (secret, for most of that time) formats for so long, people have stopped thinking that there could be an alternative.

      Microsft are slowly being drowned by competition, a situation which they are not best equipped to handle.

  33. Vimes

    The focus on skydrive and the cloud in Office 2013 is interesting, given previous comments made by people working for Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      In terms of liability versus benefit where does the cloud really stand?

      Are we sleeping walking to a privacy time bomb of untold proportions?

      After 20 years of working in the US my experience has been the good ol’ USA is the big bully in the playground and does whatever the hell it wants…

  34. jason 7

    MS Office?.......

    ....girls software!

  35. IGnatius T Foobar

    Office 2013 is useless.

    This is 20th century technology, polished up so Microsoft can make a few more billions selling it again and again to the same stupid people who think that software is only worthwhile if you pay a lot of money for it.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scarlet Ribbons

    The ribbon are the only UI that's actually brought me to tears.

    Is it actually possible to turn them off?

  37. Christian Berger

    What's the point? Money!

    Office is one of the main sources of income for Microsoft. Therefore they need to bring out new versions to satisfy the upgrade market and to appear to be still "in touch".

    Features and efficiency are irrelevant in that market. People who want that have long moved on to other solutions. Office software, no matter what brand or vendor, is inherently inefficient. It was meant to provide people who didn't want to learn about computers with the ability to turn their computers into glorified typewriters.

    Office formats also were never meant to be document exchange formats. Take a look at 1990s Microsoft Office formats for example. They supported OLE. So you could embed a Corel Draw image into your Microsoft Word file. Unless you have the same software on the other computer, you simply won't be able to open that word file correctly. Same goes for different fonts. It's hard to properly open a file on another computer.

  38. Joe Gurman

    Why does anyone really use Office?

    I use it because my rather large employer (hint: it's an agency of a large nation primarily known --- the nation, that is, not the agency --- for eliminating individuals it doesn't like with drones) insists on it. Full stop. Everyone knows there are better alternatives, or at least ones that represent better value for money (money here including any effort involved in using "free" software).

    I believe Microsoft is actually clever enough to have figured this "motivation" applies to many, if not most of its users, and so is trying to foist the office-suite-as-subscription model (say 365) on us workers of the world. It's certainly a more certain cash flow than trying to predict the intervals at which total overhauls of the suite, including such (*cough*) useful features as the ribbon, are rolled out. Is this the last cloud-less release of Office?

  39. adnim

    " What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?"

    Perhaps it lies at the top of the 1 in 2013.

  40. itzman

    The point of Office 2013

    is to introduce new levels of incompatibility between versions of WORD and between WORD and libre office, so that people have to buy it if they want to talk to anyone who actually has it.

  41. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down

    So we still get a floppy disk symbol for Save?

    Something nobody under 16 can remember.

    Good old Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "So we still get a floppy disk symbol for Save?"

      Why not? People are familiar with that icon, whether they've seen a real floppy or not. LO has it too, though I saw this morning that the Win version doesn't. Granted, dunno whether my KDE icon set is affecting it, but LO's page does have this :

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Screenshot tells all.

    Look at the screen shot on page 2. When you have to look at that much crap to edit text, you know you're screwed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Screenshot tells all.


      This screen-shot says to me that MS don't actually use their own products in their everyday jobs!

      The sheer amount of bloated side windows and Ribbon wasted screen space would completely obscure most real-world spreadsheets. I can tell you the inflexibility in the Ribbon interface meant that many trading desks including mine stopped upgrading after Office 2003 or used 3rd party products to kill the ribbon and revert the interface to 2003.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    The point of Office 2013?

    Simple; making sure that the resellers won't have to send back as many unsold boxes or licenses of course. Heck, I quickly grabbed a copy of 2010 Professional for the license just to be sure (should it remain unused my company can always sell it later).

    But Office 2013? Not for me, I've become quite an Office 2010 fan and simply see no compelling reason what so ever to upgrade.

    In my opinion MS shouldn't be focussing on trying to make the desktop look more like the cloud, they should work the other way around instead!

    "SharePoint, on the other hand, continues to look like a strategic product, both for internal deployment and in the form of Office 365."

    Amen to that. However; don't forget about the freely available and usable SharePoint Foundation 2010. And in case you're wondering about the differences (apart from the price) between the versions then check out this comparison chart.

    (both are links to SharePoint related & Microsoft hosted website).

  44. Anonymous Coward

    I've got a favorite reason to upgrade to Office 2010 at least

    Format Painter arrived in Outlook.

    Back then I had a job that required me to send a lot of emails of the form: "Press the ! key. Now type in fmt -w 72 foo bar"

    Being able to quickly apply gobs of (in this case) Courier New, 10pt, black formatting was a godsend.

    Perhaps I'm just easily pleased.

    1. Ade Vickers

      Re: I've got a favorite reason to upgrade to Office 2010 at least

      Have they fixed it so you that formatting no longer randomly changes, fails to take effect, or just completely and utterly breaks your e-mail yet?

      Massive bugbear with OL2003: Trying to reply in-line on an HTML-formatted email is a bit like nailing your penis to the ceiling: Basically impossible without a lot of screaming and bloodshed.

  45. SafetyNerves

    2003->2010 urgh

    Only recently changed from 2003 to 2010 and can only find one feature that's worthwhile - the ability to combine shapes in PowerPoint using shape union and shape subtract. The rest is garbage and I've discovered several bugs already, particularly in Excel.

  46. PiltdownMan

    Office 2013, Meh!

    I have used Office 2013 for a few months now, especially Outlook. Hated it.

    It's ironic that I "upgraded" to Office 2010 on the release date for Office 2013!


  47. Cyfaill

    The real reason to use LibreOffice and not MS 20xxxx

    It may seem like a small point... until you need your documents to work... a hundred years from now.

    It is why the ISO was originally involved to set the real world standard, that both OpenOffice and the forked necessity of LibreOffice came to be.

    It why MS will always be second rate at document integrity. Its the longevity of the world standard to be open is the reason.

    Ultimately and if you read the EULA it is Microsoft that owns the format and hence the documents themselves... and not you, the creator of a MS word .doc. or .docx (poison) With LibreOffice you own it.

    I own a company and all of our documents use the ISO world standard .ODF and or .ODT using libreOffice as the creation tool. I will be able to open them or any one of about 18 other formats of documents with LibreOffice. MS can make no such claim.

    Many of our documents that need to be e-mailed are in .pdf created with LibreOffice.

    They read anywhere on any platform as they look when created with our Linux computers. Don't be fooled by Microsoft... you do not need them for anything, they need you. They bought votes and lied and tricked the ISO to get any standard with their name on it and the ISO made fools of themselves being gullible enough to capitulate to a second rate dual standard that was not needed.

    Lets get real truthful MS is no friend to the user.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real reason to use LibreOffice and not MS 20xxxx

      "Ultimately and if you read the EULA it is Microsoft that owns the format and hence the documents themselves... and not you, the creator of a MS word .doc. or .docx (poison) With LibreOffice you own it."

      Can someone lawyery verify the bit about document ownership, or point me to something that clarifies that?

  48. John 105

    >2003 FAIL

    I refuse to upgrade my Office from 2003. The ribbon is just utterly useless because I can never find what I'm looking for or it takes 10 times longer to figure out where the option is hidden. I have Office 2010 Starter on the same system just for those times that I get docx files sent to me.

    If 2003 stops working on whatever version of Windows I'm using, I'll set up a VM just for Office!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: >2003 FAIL

      "If 2003 stops working on whatever version of Windows I'm using, I'll set up a VM just for Office!"

      Crossover Linux works very well too - and perhaps consumes fewer resources. Although it does cost a little bit.

  49. Flywheel

    Old stuff

    I really love Microsoft Office 2004 running on my Mac Mini PowerPC. It lets me write stuff. Simple. End of.

  50. spidercrab

    What is the point of Microsoft. Fullstop.

    The title of this News item could well have been "What is the point of Microsoft. Fullstop?"

    The vast majority of new and existing computer/phone/tablet consumers just don't need anything at all from Microsoft. Nobody seems to be shedding tears either.

    Microsoft used to dominate the technology news and a new Windows OS version was huge new for months before and after the event. Those days are long gone. Also the days when Microsoft would make a decision that was well received are also well gone. Shame on Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is the point of Microsoft. Fullstop.

      I dislike MS too, but you are failing to appreciating that entire industries like financial services are locked-in to MS FOREVER! It would be so nice to switch to Open Office / Libre Office alternatives, but as someone already pointed out there are always Formatting incompatibles and that' s just the tip of the iceberg...

      Its 2013 and yet there's no Office alternative with FUNCTIONALITY that's competes with Office head on! Business customisations in Excel have been around for 20+ years, and VBA in its current form for at least 15 years. So what's taken the competitors so long to do little next to nothing regarding two key areas? Its like they deliberately chose not to compete with MS head-on, even Google!!! The Reg had an article on Lotus again this week. Its such a shame there's no longstanding competitors to Office around any longer.

      Why are even discussing alternatives like Open-Office / Libre - Office if they don't fully support business customisations and VBA etc? The entire financial industry in built on these bloody things! We will never get away from MS as long as this is the case...

  51. Jim Willsher
    Thumb Down

    Cloud storage....right on cue

    (sorry if others beat me to it, too many posts here now for my attention span)

  52. Simon B

    We still run office XP on Win7 and still can see no reason to upgrade!

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Follow the money

    "Help us out here: What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?"

    To goose a sluggish revenue stream. Just like the point of all other Microsoft releases. This is one corporation that is unequivocally in business to earn profits - everything else is secondary to that. So it really doesn't matter if the new version is better (indeed, it may well be worse). What matters is that it's NEW, and many mug punters will buy anything new.

    "Will anything but the latest or at least a recent version run properly on Windows 7 or 8? Will it play nicely with SharePoint? Will users be able to read emailed documents, and create documents that are intelligible to others?"

    Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes. I have been using Office 2007 since about 2009, when I upgraded from whatever the previous version was. I use Office every day for essential business work of all kinds, and it just works. (As well as any Microsoft product works, at least, which is fairly well, most of the time, with the occasional inexplicable choke).

  54. qDr

    Proofing Tools

    I hoped they'd fix the very important thing that they broke somehow in Office 2007, and didn't fix till now - Automatic detection of the language the end user employs to create his content. As a full time translator I find it ridiculous that I have to manually click on each word and set the language property for it. (Or create a separate button in the ribbon, but I shouldn't want to do that, the software should do that for me.)

  55. deadlockvictim


    The purpose of the new iteration of ms office is to keep Steve Ballmer in chairs. he prefers the more expensive, executive chair and these don't come cheap. Even with the excellent launch of windows 8, his habit means that ms are required to churn out the same old innovation every 3 years.

  56. Corborg


    +1 from me for the ribbon hate fan club. I wonder if the same team were involved in the Windows 8 start screen.

  57. astronut

    Hello? ODF 1.2 support.

    Meaning I can exchange documents with M$ users, who will then be more inclined to migrate to LO/OOO, and Office will die a quiet death.

    Sounds like a massive point to me.

  58. Ade Vickers
    Thumb Down

    Missing the point...?

    It seems to me, the biggest PITA in any Office upgrade (since 2000) is that Outlook becomes bigger, slower, and less reliable every single time.

    I still use Outlook 2003 and it mostly doesn't crash. My boss uses OL2010 and it crashes frequently. Both OL2003 and OL2010 are capable of reducing the most powerful supercomputer ever built to its digital knees if you have the audacity to ask it to go find an e-mail; although OL2003 will still return the results quicker.

    I hate outlook with a passion, but until I can find an e-mail client which will seamlessly manage my calendar as well as allowing me to write a macro that changes to on incoming e-mails..... I'm stuck.

  59. Mad Scientist Jr.

    MS Office = USELESS without VBA macros & backward-compatibility Win32 API Support

    Microsoft Office in general is SO much more useful with VBA macros and Win32 API support.

    Why they would leave these features out of the Windows RT version is beyond me.

    It would not be impossible to simply update the engine under the hood so that the same macros work with 64-bit Windows RT. They could even update the macro interpreter so that the Win32 API references point to equivalent 64-bit RT routines. The value of VBA across all Microsoft's products all these years has been

    1. The VBA language hasn't changed much, so there is a bigger return on investment over time and less of a learning curve. Some people who do software development for a living and like the latest & greatest like to complain about VBA being "outdated" - the truth is that a LOT of businesses who run on Microsoft Office (Excel, Access, Word, Outlook, etc. or some combination of these) don't have the budget or resources to hire or outsource software developers to build them "proper" applications using so-called "real" programming languages like .NET and SQL Server. That stuff is overkill for a lot of businesses and just not a good value for them. Apps built with the C++ and ultra-OO enterprise mentality are difficult to understand and work on without a team of trained people, that stuff makes programming harder not simpler. VBA is easy to learn - even with its quirks, after almost 20 years, at least those quirks are well-known and well-documented online. If you want to do something in VBA, you can be guaranteed someone has done it and posted sample code somewhere online.

    2. VBA is easy to use - compared to "modern" programming languages and the whole "enterprise" programming methodology, VBA with the visual drag-and-drop forms editor, etc., is SOOOOO easy for even a non-programmer to pick up. The macro recorder functionality in Excel & Word especially make learning how to do things a snap -why don't more apps have this??? Hello??

    3. There is a TON of existing VBA code out there so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Being backwards compatible is a HUGE benefit and cost and time savings. There is so much code out there going back to the 90s with Visual Basic 3, 4, 5, 6, the Win32 API, vbscript, even classic ASP, that still works in VBA. It’s all the same language, how easy can you get? This is by far the #1 reason Microsoft Office has been so successful and such a great value – they made applications that the user can *EASILY* extend with a drag and drop interface and simple programming language that has a huge back-library of code available and hasn’t changed in decades.

    All the above spell out BIG RETURN ON INVESTMENT. How can Microsoft not see that??? When did the disgruntled C++ 6.0 programmers take over the company and start calling all the shots?? MS has been floundering for years without Bill Gates, who had the vision to make a user-friendly OS and apps interface that didn’t change too much (ie the classic File menu etc.) but was powerful enough to easily get it to do what you need. By contrast, Apple is too limiting & controlling, LINUX is too hard to use (Ubuntu has made strides, but they have a way to go) , and Google’s stuff is too slow (and their macro languages are not intuitive or well-documented. If they add a macro recorder, a mature framework, and desktop scripting capability they will have something.)

    If Microsoft knows what’s good for them (and their customers) they will capitalize on what makes them special and a value before the others catch up. Add support for VBA macros and Win32 API to RT and keep it working for ever, and just update the tools with all the newer features found in Visual Studio to make it even easier to develop/manage, and add macro recorders to ALL their apps such as Outlook, PowerPoint , Access, OneNote, etc.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like