Microsoft gave us a glimpse of the Office 2013 early last month on the Windows RT tablet. The company has now released the Office 2013 which is the latest iteration of the Microsoft Office suite. It is now available as a Consumer Preview (public beta). With this new version, Microsoft has undergone a huge strategic shift by moving away from its PC-centric functionality towards Window 8, mobile platform and cloud technology. Here are 10 things that you should know about the Microsoft Office 2013. 

What is Office 2013?
Office 2013 is the next version of Microsoft’s Office suite. With it, Microsoft takes a leap into the advanced, mobile, cloud-based ecosystem. Office 2013 comes with a large number of desktop apps and also several server products.

Consumer preview of Office 2013 is here...

Consumer preview of Office 2013 is here

Where can I download the Consumer Preview?
The customer preview can be downloaded from To download the customer preview, you need a Windows Live ID.

What are the system requirements?
The system requirements for the Preview are a 1GHz or greater x86/x64 processor with SSE2 instruction set, 1GB RAM (32 Bit)/ 2GB RAM (64 Bit), Windows 7 or newer OS version (32-bit or 64-bit) and Windows 2008R2 or newer with .Net 3.5 or greater. So, all those with PCs running on the Windows XP or Vista will have to upgrade to Windows 7 or above to install the preview. On the graphics front, it needs DirectX10 graphics card and 1024 x 576 resolution. To download the Consumer preview, the user will also require 3.5GB free disk space.

What about the current version of Office. Do I need to uninstall it?
No, you don’t have to uninstall the current version in order to install the preview version. You can install the preview version alongside the existing version of Office 2003, Office 2007 or Office 2010. After installing the preview, one can access the existing version of Office too.

What is Office 365, and how does it differ from Office 2013?

The successor to the traditional MS Office suite is called Office 2013, which as always, will come with individual desktop programs. Microsoft is also offering these as part of a subscription service tied to the Office 365 platform. The Office 365 is available in several versions and inclusive of online storage, sharing, and syncing via Microsoft's cloud services.  

You can also go ahead and opt for a licensed copy of Office 2013, without subscribing to Office 365. The version can be combined with a free Microsoft Account (aka Windows Live account) to allow online document storage and sharing.

Refreshed look...

Refreshed look…

What are the versions of the Office 365?
There are several Office 365 plans available as a part of the Customer Preview. It offers flexibility for consumers to choose among editions such as Home, Enterprise, Premium and more.

The Office 365 Home Premium Preview allows installing Office on up to 5 PCs and you get 7GB of online storage on SkyDrive. Users can save and share documents online. The Home Premium includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, and Publisher.

The Office 365 Small Business Premium Preview is apt for businesses with upto 10 employees. It enables each user to install Office, and get the same applications that are included in Office 365 ProPlus, on upto 5 PCs. It also brings in professional email, shared documents, and HD video conferencing in an easy-to-manage solution.

The Office 365 ProPlus Preview enables its user to create upto 25 user accounts, with 5 installations of Office 365 ProPlus per user. It includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, InfoPath, and Lync.

The Office 365 Enterprise Preview offers benefits of Office 365 ProPlus combined with Exchange Online, which includes archiving and legal hold to fully manage your company’s email in the cloud. You will also find SharePoint Online to manage and share documents, and Lync Online to allow you to conduct meetings and collaborate across remote teams and team members.

Which other platforms and devices will the Office 2013 support?

  • Windows Phone: Windows Phone users will be able to access files created in Office 2013. They can also access them from SkyDrive, SharePoint, and Office 365 e-mail.
  • Mac: According to Microsoft, the final version of Office 365, when available, will include Office for Mac. But the Mac version is not available as part of the preview.
  • Windows tablets: Windows RT is said to include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. However, the company will reveal the details about Office on Windows RT only during its final release.
  • iOS and Android: Office 365 features that work in a web browser will be made available for iOS and Android devices. Users of both the platforms will supposedly be able to access the OneNote apps.
Neat and clean...

Neat and clean

When will Microsoft release Office 2013?
Microsoft has kept not only the pricing under wraps but also the availability details. It has not disclosed the availability schedule but Office 2013 is rumoured to start shipping sometime early 2013. There are also rumours about Office 2013 coming pre-installed with the Windows for RT.

How much will Office 2013 and Office 365 subscriptions cost?
Pricing has always been one of the deciding factors when it comes to any product. Like some of its other new products (read Surface), Microsoft has decided not to disclose the price of Office 2013. There is no word on the price of Office 365 subscriptions either.

It is also important to know that once the preview period ends, all the data will be deleted, as Microsoft clearly states that the Office 365 Preview is only for testing purposes. So, all configuration data, user data, and user accounts created while testing will be deleted as the preview ends.

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