More of What We Like About Office 2013
Better Graphics Management
All the applications now offer the capability to access online images, including those in your Flickr account and those you have stored on SkyDrive. You can also search for images using Bing and search the Microsoft ClipArt collection online. When you add images in Word, a Layout Options indicator appears letting you select from various image-layout options. This makes it easier for newbies to manage images in their documents.
when you right-click an image or a shape in PowerPoint and select Format Picture or Format Shape, a new Format Panel appears on the right of the screen and displays your formatting options. The panel stays visible while you work and, if you click a different type of object, it changes to display formatting options for that object type.
When making a chart in Excel, you can select the data and then choose Insert > Recommended Charts to select from a small set of charts designed to show your data at its best. These chart options are live, which means that you can hold your mouse pointer over a chart and see how your data will look if charted that way. The number of chart variations displayed when you select a specific chart type has been reduced to simplify choosing a chart.
Saving Files in Office 2013
While you can save files to any location, the Office applications save files to your online SkyDrive account by default. This lets you access, view and, in some case, edit files using the WebApps (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote) from any computer that can access your SkyDrive account files.
The downside, from a security point of view, is that many businesses will encounter problems with controlling corporate data if employees save files to private SkyDrive locations.
Touch Screen Optimization
Microsoft Office 2013 also offers new features for people with touch screens. The new Read Mode in Word lets you scroll a document horizontally by swiping across it. The new Touch Mode option on the Quick Access Toolbar converts an application's Ribbon so that the buttons are a little bigger and spaced a further apart making it easier to tap them.
Figure 5: The new Recommended Charts option in Excel makes it easy to find the ideal chart to plot your data.
One major change to Word that a lot of people will appreciate is the capability to open and edit PDF files. Tables and other elements in the pdf maintain their structure and, when you're done editing, you can save the document as a docx or pdf file by selecting the option from the Save As Type dropdown list in the Save dialog. While you could save documents as pdfs in Office 2010, this is the first time you've been able to open and edit them directly in Word.
The improvements to Office 2013 are more subtle than in past releases, but there's so much to like about the new product. The smart programs, sleek interface and new changes support what Office users need rather than forcing them to learn a new way of working. Plus, the low-cost subscription models let you provide a current version of the complete suite of powerful office software to everyone in your small business for pennies a day.
Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com
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