Before Windows 8 hits on October 26, you might want to try out the release preview and the customer preview for Microsoft Office 2013. A lot of the early adapters for Windows 8 will undoubtedly be using Microsoft Office for a lot of their work and all copies of Windows RT come with Office by default. Before you go diving into Office 2013, however, Microsoft wants to show off some of the great stuff they have in store for each piece of software in the package.
First up is something that is near and dear to a lot of business folks' hearts - Excel. With Excel 2013, Microsoft claims to have done their research and then some. The main focus in building Excel 2013 was to look at "the full spectrum of users, from the spreadsheet dabblers to the analysts and 'super-crazy power user'." They used their insight into the modern Excel user to come up with the main theme behind the new excel - "empowering our users."
It was through this research that they came to implement four new features into Excel 2013. The first of which is better accessibility. What this means is that the Excel team had cleaned up the interface to make it more user friendly. So now, Excel users will be able to better identify their content and what they can do with said content. Excel will provide guidance on how to make graphs and charts look better. In other good news, Excel 2013 now supports multiple monitors so you can have two Excel workbooks open at once.
For the Enterprise market that will be using Excel, Microsoft has added in "new" Business Intelligence capabilities. New is in quotes because the BI stuff has already been here, but was always separate. Two pieces of software for Excel 2010 - PowerPivot and SharePoint - are now integrated into Excel 2013. Microsoft promises more news on the BI end to come in future updates.
A new major improvement is Excel Everywhere. Microsoft is making sure that people will be able to access their Excel documents on any device wherever they are. Major points of investment are in tablets and browsers. Excel Everywhere also signals that Microsoft is getting serious about the Cloud in Office 2013 with users being able to share Excel, or other Office software, projects across multiple devices.
The last update is potentially the most exciting. People build a lot of apps and add-on content for Excel and other Office software to help get the most out of it. With Excel 2013, developers will be able to embed Apps for Office into Excel using HTML5. These apps will work on both the standalone Excel environment and the cloud-hosted Web app.
Microsoft promises more news on Excel 2013 as the release of Office 2013 approaches. There's more than just Excel to Office as well, so expect updates on changes to PowerPoint, Word and others as we get closer to October 26. While you're at it, download the Office 2013 Customer Preview today and give it a shot.