Generally, Office 2013 works pretty similar to Office 2010, with an interface heavily reliant on the ribbons. Now, I’ve always been a fan of the ribbons, which I thought were a good idea in Office 2007 but really came into their own with Office 2010. It’s been six years since they debuted, so anyone that is still complaining about Ribbon UI should really get over it, especially now that Windows Explorer uses it as well. 

The aesthetic has been updated to match the Metro visual style that forms the basis of the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 UIs. This visual style has left me a bit cold in Windows 8 Desktop - I like the UI chrome in Windows 7, I feel it gives the interface some three-dimensionality and offers more natural interactions. But in Office, the chromeless aesthetic is awesome. I think it works really, really well in Word and PowerPoint especially, where the starkness and simplicity of the UI (particularly in the hidden command or hidden Ribbon modes) gives you a very blank slate to work from. It’s clean and pure in a very fundamental sense, with no visual distractions at all in the UI. 

I’ll also note that the refreshed interface has little to no effect on Excel, which has looked and felt exactly the same since I first used it in Office 97 as a five year old. It’s like the Porsche 911 - no matter what changes under the hood, externally it has looked the same for decades it seems like. Not that it’s a bad thing, since I love the 911 and love-hate Excel, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. 

Generally, it seems like the Office 2013 has a much stronger focus on the visual style of the content being created than I’ve noticed in previous editions of Office. There’s much more aesthetic polish, with rich templates that aren’t worthless like they have been in many previous editions of Office, nicely styled titles and headers, and many more document design capabilities. Until you use it, it’s really difficult to overstate how much cleaner documents that come out of Office 2013 look. It’s now much easier to create content that are visually pleasing - documents and presentations that just look good and are easy to read without needing to spend a ton of time on formatting. 

Microsoft is including two input modes: mouse (Office as we know and love it) and touch, which expands the size and spacing between menu options for a more finger-friendly interface without dumbing it down. Look closely at the below screenshot versus the one at the top of the page to get an idea of what I'm talking about. It’s decent to use, but obviously, creating content using the touchscreen keyboard is an outright pain, so this is more for navigation, minor editing, and formatting changes. You will obviously get more out of any office suite with a traditional keyboard and mouse setup, but the new Office at least has a more touch-centric UI as an option. 

Introduction and Setup A Quick Look at Office 2013
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  • N4g4rok - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    Just being in the article doesn't imply that it's fact. He's entitled to his opinion, as are you. No reason to continue the use of the phrase 'fanboi.' It gets nothing accomplished.
  • CaedenV - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    While $100/year for 5 machines is not bad, I do not have 5 machines. In fact I use to have 3 machines at home, 2 desktops and 1 laptop, but our new Lumia 920s have replaced the need for the laptop and it has sat unused for the last 2 months that we have had our phones, so we will likely get rid of it before long.

    In the past I have upgraded Office Home every 2 generations (~6 years), which breaks down to ~$12.50 per year per machine for 2 machines, which is an easy pill to swallow. I understand that I am getting a lot more out of the new package, but $50/year/machine (because I am not going to buy more computers just for the sake of having them) is a bit on the insane side of things.

    I played with the beta, and loved everything about it except for the lack of a dark color theme (easier on the eyes at night), but unless they come out with a 2 machine $40 install or 3 machine $60 install option then there is just no way I will buy it. That would already be a major increase in the amount of money MS would be getting out of me for Office, and my usage would not be all that different than it currently is, so it would not me that much extra effort for MS to invest in supporting me as a user

    I hardly feel like openoffice is an adequate replacement for MS Office... but then again it is free yet capable, while this new office demands a lot more money out of me.
  • CaedenV - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    OK, so I have a MS account, and my wife has a MS account, and my kiddos have MS accounts (though it will be a few years before they actually use them). We have 2 computers in the house; My machine, and my wife's machine. Lets say that I purchase Office 365 for the family, which allows us to install office on our 2 machines, and on up to 3 supposed future machines.

    So the loaded question: Who gets the 20GB skydrive?
    Do I get the 20GB skydrive and then have the 'privlage' of purchasing it for the other 3 in the family (an added cost of $30/yr)?
    Do we all get extended skydrive accts?
    What happens to data on skydrive if your account were to lapse? Is the data just gone? or do you get it back if you pay for the acct again within a certain number of days?
  • N4g4rok - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    The microsoft account used to purchase the software gets the extra storage. If you'd like to share that storage, you can set up a shared folder in your Skydrive for them to connect to.

    I THINK that you get warning messages to move some of your files if your storage shrinks for some reason. That's only from something i vaguely remember reading though.
  • Galvin - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    I tried office 2013 excel. But there is so much WHITE, that after a while it just hurts your eyes. Not sure how anyone could spend long periods of time using their horrible UI.

    Its funny how people are saying modern UI that looks like the 1980s is a step. heh
  • tk11 - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    "I’ve always been a fan of the ribbons, which I thought were a good idea in Office 2007 but really came into their own with Office 2010. It’s been six years since they debuted, so anyone that is still complaining about Ribbon UI should really get over it"

    Why would anyone write this knowing full well that the ribbon interface is so widely loathed. You must have been looking to offend a decent chunk of your readers. If so then good job. If you want to voice an opinion that's fine but I'd much rather hear the reason that you hold that opinion rather than simply stating it then rudely suggesting that I fall in line.

    I could just as easily tell you that even after all this time that the ribbon still sucks so you should get over your preference.
  • N4g4rok - Friday, February 1, 2013 - link

    "Why would anyone write this knowing full well that the ribbon interface is so widely loathed."

    I can't personally see that as being a reason not to express an opinion about something. Even if a majority of office users despise the ribbon, it wouldn't make them "correct" about the matter, nor should it suppress opposing views.
  • colonelpepper - Saturday, February 2, 2013 - link

    It destroys the authors integrity, and reveals him as a Microsoft Shill. The "article" reads like nothing more than a Microsoft Sponsored Story. It degrades the integrity of

    Lastly, flagrantly pushing moronic opinions like "It’s been six years since they debuted, so anyone that is still complaining about Ribbon UI should really get over it" is totally clueless how to reach out to people through journalism.

    ...but then again this Microsoft Sponsored Story is not journalism at all.
  • cjl - Saturday, February 2, 2013 - link

    Wait - everyone who likes the ribbon UI is a microsoft shill, and therefore sponsored by Microsoft?

    I was not informed of this - who should I contact at microsoft to get my payment?
  • N4g4rok - Saturday, February 2, 2013 - link

    I agree that it's brash on his part, but you cannot insist that any positive feedback towards a Microsoft product is a marketing ploy. Nor does siding with Microsoft make his point invalid. There's no place in a debate for the implication that all positive feedback that doesn't mesh with an opposing personal bias is immediate evidence for foul play.

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