****This article is no longer relevant since Office 365 has been officially released.
Yesterday, Microsoft held a press conference to discuss its latest version of Office. During the press conference, a consumer preview version of the all-new Microsoft Office 2013 suite, which has been branded as Office 365, was released for free download. The new Office suite has been designed to work hand in hand with Microsoft’s SkyDrive service and the upcoming operating system Windows 8.
Now whether or not you are a fan of Microsoft Office, no one can deny that it has become the standard for composing documents, creating spreadsheets, managing emails, maintaining databases, and of course presenting slide shows. I personally have used Office 2007 since its release in 2006, and I have found it very useful for my schoolwork.
While there are many new great alternatives to paying full price for Microsoft Office (these alternatives I will address in a later post), I am always intrigued whenever Microsoft decides to release a new version of Office, simply because it usually means there will be a free trial version which will be active for several months. Now I don’t know about you, but the thought of free Microsoft software, especially a full functioning Office suite, excites me. In this post, I will provide you with everything you need to download and install the brand new preview version of Microsoft Office 2013, which will allow you to test out the new software before it hits the market alongside Windows 8 this fall.
Before we get to the download links, I do want to take a moment to give you a bit of an idea of what you’ll be using when you download and install the preview. I have taken a few screenshots from my preview versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, just to give you, the readers, a glimpse into the look and feel of the new Office suite. The first main difference is the flashier design. The design of Office 2013 is meant to reflect the new Metro look of Windows 8. For those of you who do not know, Windows 8 will be released this fall, and it is optimized for touch-enabled PCs. Microsoft has yet to make Windows 8 look attractive for those of us who prefer notebook and desktop PCs, so it will be interesting to find out how they plan to market it once it is released this fall. Anyhow, back to Office. When opening any of the Office programs (Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, and Outlook), users of previous versions will notice a new start up screen that gives you many options for creating new types of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. I have included a screenshot from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint below to illustrate the new screen. (Click each to enlarge)
Also, the ribbon layout style has been changed slightly for an easier-to-read layout. The Office 2013 user interface has been streamlined for touch interface, however, since I am using it on Windows 7, I am still clicking around of course, but I really like the new modern look, and already I have noticed several quirks that I still deal with in Office 2007 and Office 2010 have been corrected. The new interface looks like the following screenshots (click to enlarge):
So, while I know this isn’t a great in-depth look at the all-new Microsoft Office 2013, I invite you to download and install the new suite for yourself. The best way to learn, after all, is to try. The following link will take you to Microsoft’s website where you may download and install Office 2013 on 5 computers. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment on this post, or contact me via the Contact page.
Click Here to get started with Microsoft Office 2013
Once there, click “Sign Up,” follow the steps, and you’ll have the new Microsoft Office 2013 Preview on your computer in no time.