Microsoft detailed Office for Windows RT Thursday, ending the speculation as to whether it'll be nearly identical to Office 2013 for Windows 8 or a scaled back version. The truth lies somewhere in between.
The company confirmed that the tablet-focused productivity software, which is optimized for the ARM processor, will come pre-installed on devices running the Windows RT OS. There's no need to go out and buy this version of Office 2013.
"[Office for Windows RT] will include preview editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote," explained a Microsoft "Office Next" blog post.
"After the final edition of Office Home & Student 2013 RT is released in a customer's language, their Windows RT device will be automatically updated with the final edition for free via Windows Update," the blog continued.
"Customers can expect to get these updates starting in early November through January depending on their language."
By loading up Windows RT tablets such as Microsoft Surface with this touch and battery life-friendly version of Office 2013, Microsoft is including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote at no extra cost.
Windows 8 users, however, won't see the same sweet suite deal.
What's missing in Office for Windows RT
Of course, there's no such thing as a "free launch" (of pre-loaded software): missing from this slimmed-down productivity package is Outlook. As such, certain email sending features for Outlook and other desktop mail applications have been axed.
Macros, add-ins and creating Data Models in Excel 2013 RT are also missing along with features that rely on ActiveX controls or 3rd party code. Microsoft gave two real-world examples: PowerPoint Slide Library ActiveX control and Flash Video Playback.
Searching for embedded audio and video files, recording A/V notes, recording narrations in PowerPoint 2013 RT and importing from an attachment scanner with OneNote 2013 RT won't be happening either. Microsoft notes that inserting audio/video notes or scanned images from another program works just fine.
Finally, as expected, a few legacy features didn't make the jump to Office Home & Students 2013 RT, including older media formats in PowerPoint and being able to edit equations written in Equation Editor 3.0.
As OEMs start receiving the final version of Office for Windows RT, TechRadar will have more about the included (and missing) features of this tablet-friendly successor to Office 2010.
Via Office Now (opens in new tab)