I've always been an early adopter, but to be entirely honest I was slightly confused when I first saw the Metro UI Microsoft introduced with its Windows 8 Previews and Release Candidates. I couldn't quite figure out how I would use it, and I dearly missed the oh-so-comfortable start menu. But then, one morning whilst scanning through RSS feeds, my Facebook news feed, seeing the weather forecast and new emails, all in one glance, I realized that I've already adopted it to such an extend, that I would actually miss it going back to Windows 7.
Introductions are in order
As soon as I read Dreyer Smit's tweet about Office 2013, it took me the largest part of 20 minutes to jump on the bandwagon. The installation is mostly web based, as with most installations post-2011, and I'm honestly not a big fan. As a country, we still fall short in the global broadband awards, and a 4Mbit line just isn't what it used to be in 2009. I might also be a bit impatient. Be that as it may, what followed was absolute bliss.
At the first glance of the applications' loading screens, I wondered if Microsoft bribed half the Apple design team, because it is beautiful. Really, objectively beautiful. Flat-design n' all. And it's fast. My 'ol notebook has seen better days, and being an allrounder I have everything from IT support software to digital marketing tools installed on this thing. It runs slow on the best of days, but Office 2013 zoomed up like I just installed 4GB of extra memory.
The Suite Life
Microsoft Word was first on my list, and from the get-go I could see that Microsoft embraced cloud computing with arms wide open. The consumer preview activates through your WIndows Live ID, and SkyDrive is immediately available as a primary save destination. The cursor moves like a squirrel on cocaine, and the all too familiar blank page and flashing cursor never felt so inviting. I considered becoming a full time journalist just to be able to use it all the time. I then snapped back to reality and realised that I had to check my email. After being astounded (again) by the utter speed of loading, for the first time in my life, I was really impressed by Microsoft's implementation of the concept 'ease of use'. The new version of Outlook automagically transfered all my accounts, pst files, ost file, contacts, recent contacts cache, calendar entries and to-do's into the new sleek, metro inspired interface. Outlook then asked if I would like to link a social profile. Being the inquisitive geek I am, I would most certainly not deny such a request. After linking my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, Outlook immediatly assumed it's uber-ninja stance and displayed profile information of users in each email thread. Visually, it's really appealing to send an email to a face you know, rather than an email address.
Moving on to Excel, I couldn't help but notice how smooth the cell selector moved. Resizing columns and rows is a pleasure, and not too much moved around in the old ribbon, so I didn't have to go look for formulas. All 'n all, complete satisfaction - this is the spreadsheet from heaven.
Nice to look at, nice to hold, but if you should touch it, consider it sold.
I also noticed among other things, that the Office Suite's cloud integration includes Office Online templates that are really worth downloading. Designer-replacing stuff! Everything flows naturally, fullscreen modes are a natural effect and the interface really wants you to touch it. And that brings me to the next, and final, point. In following Microsoft's touch strategy roll-out, Office 2013 is built with both traditional input and touch input devices in mind. The Metro UI is destincty present, and I would love to see how it performs in a full-on touch assault. This version of Office is really going to be a hit, and I think Microsoft got it right this time. There's never been a better time to have an admin job!
Get all the sales-pitch orientated details here.
Don't take my word for it, go get it now!