If you use Microsoft Office regularly for work or learning, you are in for a real treat this November. Microsoft is offering a 60-day free trial of Office 2013 Professional to users. The latest instalment of the Office suite includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, and Publisher and has all the same features as those in the paid version, so users can make the best use of it.


Free trial of Office 2013 to give a glimpse of the real deal

The most ambitious version of Office yet, Office 2013 boasts of being more “cloud based” than its predecessors. Interestingly, the default save location for this version of Office is the Microsoft SkyDrive. The newest entrant in the Office bouquet is Lync, the new conference and instant messaging software. Lync will come bundled with the Office 2013 Professional Plus version, and will be omitted in the Professional one.

The trial is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, though Microsoft recommends that like Office 2010, the 32-bit version be used even if you run a 64-bit system, so that add-ins from older versions of Office are compatible. The catch, though, is that Office 2013 is compatible only with Windows 7 and 8, thus completely alienating users on Windows Vista and the very popular Windows XP. 

The Office 2013 Professional trial can be downloaded from TechNet. The only pre-requisite for a no-strings-attached trial is a valid Microsoft account belonging to the user. The download is pretty hefty at 667MB for the 32-bit version and around 785MB for the 64-bit one.

Though Microsoft has not specified how many markets will actually have access to the trial, India seems to be on the list. Besides English, the trial is available for download in Chinese (Simplified, Traditional), Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

The company is looking to push the subscription based Office 365 through the 60 day trial. The package at $99.99 a year offers support for up to 5 PCs, add Access and Publisher, add 20GB to your SkyDrive and get 60 minutes of world calling on Skype per month. Once the trial expires, the Office 2013 Professional suite itself will be priced at $399.99.

Some features of the newest edition of the Office suite include:
•    Touch Mode along with touch enhancements.
•    New Start Experience
•    New graphical options in Microsoft Word
•    Online picture support with content from Office.com, Bing.com and Flickr
•    Resume Reading in Word and PowerPoint

Predictably, the Office 2013 suite will be available in Home & Student, Home & Basic and Professional versions, all with different mix of applications, when it is finally up for purchase.

Microsoft’s announcement for the Office 2013 Professional trial’s availability came close on the heels of the revelation that iOS and Android are likely to get Office Mobile in early 2013. Quite like SkyDrive and OneNote apps, Office Mobile will require a Microsoft account to view documents on the go. Editing functions can be accessed on Office Mobile only after a subscription to Office 365 is purchased.

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