Microsoft launches Office 2013 suite

Office 2013

Microsoft has launched Office 2013, the latest version of its software suite, highlighting its links with cloud systems and social media channels.

The release of Office 2013 marks a stage in Microsoft's increased emphasis on subscription licensing rather than sales of perpetual licences, with a full version of the new software available to subscribers to its Office 365 package.

The subscription version includes all the regular functions available within Office 2013, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Onenote, Outlook and Publisher, along with Office Web Apps. It covers up to five devices which can be changed at any time, and provides 20GB of storage on the SkyDrive Platform, on top of the 7GB that comes with the regular licence.

Regular licences for the Home/Student basis include just Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Onenote, those for commercial use also take in Outlook, and the professional version includes Publisher and Microsoft Access.

Office features

Features include a revamped version of Word including Read mode with text reflow, Object Zoom for viewing tables, charts and pictures, and Present Online for collaboration through a browser.

Excel 2013 has some new functions, such as Flash Fill for formatting and analysis tools to highlight peaks and trends in statistics.

Additions to Outlook 2013 include Exchange active sync support, social connectors, a weather bar, fast filters and context commands.

Office 2013 price

The Office 2013 Professional version is priced at $399/£390, Home and Student at $140/£110, Home and Business at $220/£220, and a Home Premium subscription is £80.

Lara Kingwell, Office launch lead for the UK, said the development of Office 2013 reflected key areas of investment by Microsoft.

One is increased integration with cloud computing by optimising all versions to the company's SkyDrive platform. There is also a function for connection to other Microsoft cloud platforms.

Another is social media, with a connector function in outlook that can pull in the details of the user's Facebook and LinkedIn contacts.

She also highlighted the potential of the Windows Apps store. While acknowledging that there are currently a limited number of apps available, she said that Microsoft is in the midst of a campaign to encourage developers to increase the number.

"Historically it had plug-ins for Office but the experience of getting them in was not great," she said. "Third parties can now create what they want for Office using a standard coding language.

"We've been running development camps around the world for nine months, and there is an online training guide on the web."