Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Jul 2012 22:24 UTC
Features, Office Microsoft has released a consumer preview for Office 2013. Highlighting the age-old internal tug-of-war between the Office and Windows divisions within Microsoft, it's just a desktop application, no Metro, and the only nod to that whole touch/tablet-thing is a special mode that does very little. So, Windows 8 is just around the corner, and still not a single serious Metro application. Not even Microsoft's own flagship suite - heck, not even a single application within that suite - could be adapted to Metro in time. Serious vote of confidence from the Office division there.
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Um, it's been known for months
by MollyC on Mon 16th Jul 2012 22:38 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

that Office would be a desktop app. You act like this is new information.

Incidentally, there is new information, information that is contrary to what you wrote, which is that OneNote will have both desktop and metro versions.

BTW, MS Dynamics is a serious business app and there will be a metro version of that.

That said, you're right that metro is geard to consumption rather than production: and guess what - 90% of computer use is consumption. Those that need production can use the desktop environment if needed.

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

OneNote will have both desktop and metro versions.


Yes. But it's far from the full OneNote. It's basically My First OneNote.

Reply Score: 7

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

I confess that I don't use OneNote enough to know how powerful the metro version is versus the desktop one. I'll take your word for it that the metro one is less powerful, but I'll say that I watched Microsoft's today's live demo of the metro version today and it's a very good app with some new features and innovative UI like the "radial menu". Consumers will like the metro version a lot; they'll like it more than the desktop version, IMO.

And its exsitence still disproves your comment saying that there are no metro Office apps.

P.S.
I'm glad that I watched the live demo because the writings that I've seen totally miss the mark regarding Office 2013. Office 2013 looks great to me, but today's tech writers are so jaded and/or know nothing about Office except on a very cursory level, that they don't do it justice.

Back in MY day (I'm 153 years old :p), whenever a new version of a productivity app was released (by Microsoft, WordPerfect, Lotus, Borland, Ashton Tate, IBM, Harvard Graphics, Ventura, Adobe, Quark, etc), there would be reviews that appeared in publications like PC World, Mac World, Mac User, PC Magazine, etc, which would go into great detail about all the new features, and how they stacked up to competing products. Those reviews were written by people that actually knew something about the product. Today it seems that reviews/previews are written by "gadget" enthusiasts and "Web 2.0" (remember that lame term? lol) enthusiasts, and they are not qualified to review such products in any way, shape, or form. And it's shown in their writings, which miss entire areas of new functionality, miss entire areas of scenarios of usage.

Reply Score: 7

Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

Back in MY day (I'm 153 years old :p), whenever a new version of a productivity app was released (by Microsoft, WordPerfect, Lotus, Borland, Ashton Tate, IBM, Harvard Graphics, Ventura, Adobe, Quark, etc), there would be reviews that appeared in publications like PC World, Mac World, Mac User, PC Magazine, etc, which would go into great detail about all the new features, and how they stacked up to competing products. Those reviews were written by people that actually knew something about the product. Today it seems that reviews/previews are written by "gadget" enthusiasts and "Web 2.0" (remember that lame term? lol) enthusiasts, and they are not qualified to review such products in any way, shape, or form. And it's shown in their writings, which miss entire areas of new functionality, miss entire areas of scenarios of usage.

Why bother? Almost everybody uses Office or Adobe, and you usually do not have a say, it is your company's IT department decision (and sometimes even the accounting department decision).

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

but today's tech writers are so jaded and/or know nothing about Office except on a very cursory level, that they don't do it justice.


Uh, my income depends on Office. I use it 8-12 hours a day.

Reply Score: 3

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

" but today's tech writers are so jaded and/or know nothing about Office except on a very cursory level, that they don't do it justice.


Uh, my income depends on Office. I use it 8-12 hours a day.
"
And what do you do exactly with Office? I know plenty of people who use it as much as your claim, and most are not what I would call an `Office expert`. They probably don't even know what half the capabilities are, much less have any real knowledge or experience with them.

Your needs, like theirs, may be minimal thus making you ill-suited to do any revealing or in-depth reviews of the software.

Reply Score: 3

tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19

Uh, my income depends on Office. I use it 8-12 hours a day.


I don't know about you, Thom, but the other Tom (Warren) doesn't seem to know that much about Office.

The streamed install of Office is not new -- Office 2010 was also available that way. The reading view is not new -- it was introduced about 10 years ago with the Tablet PC. The PowerPoint presenter view is also not new -- perhaps it got some enhancements, but the review gushes over features that have existed for years.

And the other Tom is certainly not much of an Excel user. He didn't mention that Excel and PowerPoint are no longer MDI applications!!! Hallelujah!!! You can now put two Excel windows side-by-side, and copy-paste cells between them!!! This is a feature that serious Excel users have been waiting 12 years for!!!

Edited 2012-07-17 21:17 UTC

Reply Score: 3

edwdig Member since:
2005-08-22

And the other Tom is certainly not much of an Excel user. He didn't mention that Excel and PowerPoint are no longer MDI applications!!! Hallelujah!!! You can now put two Excel windows side-by-side, and copy-paste cells between them!!! This is a feature that serious Excel users have been waiting 12 years for!!!


The big problem with Excel for ages is that it hasn't been MDI for a long time. Probably since Office 2000 or so, I don't really remember.

With the old MDI versions, you had one menubar + toolbar and multiple document windows inside the main window. You could put the documents side by side. MS ditched that long ago for an SDI interface, but did do it a awkwardly with Excel. I really wish they kept the MDI for Excel, that would have been much easier to use than what we've had.

Reply Score: 2

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

" but today's tech writers are so jaded and/or know nothing about Office except on a very cursory level, that they don't do it justice.


Uh, my income depends on Office. I use it 8-12 hours a day.
"

You remind me of a Carly Simon song. ;)
I wasn't talking about you. I'm talking about some kid at gizmodo TheVerge or some such that doesn't even know what a pivot table is, yet is assigned the task of "reviewing" a spreadshet app.

I wasn't talking about you, as I don't consider you a "reviewer" or consider your opinion pieces to be official "reviews". I guess some of them are "reviews", but I view your opinion pieces more like blog entries; I don't hold those to the same standard that I hold the official reviews of the big sites. So I wouldn't expect your opinion pieces to display the same depth of knowledge of features as I would expect of the big sites. The fact that sometimes your pieces are more detailed than the reviews of the big sites is just a further indictment of those sites.

Edited 2012-07-18 08:04 UTC

Reply Score: 3

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Question: What features do you think is worth the $200 or whatever the cost is there to upgrade? What can this Office do that is worth the amount of cash it will cost you?

The reason I ask is that I've stayed with office 2K on my netbook and 2K7 on my desktop simply because those MSFT liceneses are a sunk cost and I've seen nothing in the newer versions that would be worth the upgrade cost for me. Heck if I wouldn't have won that copy of Office 2K7 at a technet awhile back I'd probably still be using 2K3 at home!

So for myself and talking with my business customers most see nothing there that would be worth the upgrade costs. Most of my business customers are on 2K3 or 2K7 and are quite happy with what they have and in a dead economy an expensive piece of software has to show clear advantages over previous versions and I just don't see anything that would qualify as the "killer app" over say 2K7. Heck with the conversion pack I can open the newer formats just fine in Office 2K so even with a version that old I haven't seen a truly compelling reason, at least for me, to switch and I'd like to hear what you'd think is worth it in this release.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Does the grammar checker improve over time? I mean, I think they were quite horrible, last time I heard - so there's presumably plenty of room of improvement.

Might be useful at least as a foreign language writing aid, a scenario which possibly covers most people writing in EN ( http://www.osnews.com/permalink?527180 - see, he could use it some ...what does that post even say?)

Reply Score: 2

tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19


Yes. But it's far from the full OneNote. It's basically My First OneNote.


While OneNote MX is certainly stripped-down from OneNote desktop, didn't you just run another article a few days ago complaining that Metro apps were worse than the equivalent Windows Phone apps?

This is one app that does not have that problem. OneNote MX is a lot better than OneNote for WinPhone. You can edit tables with it, preserve the URL when you copy-paste from IE, move containers around -- and most importantly -- has stylus support for taking ink annotations.

These are features that don't exist on Windows Phone, but do exist on desktop OneNote. And OneNote MX also feels faster than OneNote for WinPhone -- I don't think it's actually faster, it just feels faster because it doesn't have those idiotic animations slowing you down.

In other words, the tablet version of OneNote is somewhere in-between desktop and phone in terms of functionality. Which is roughly what you'd expect, isn't it?

Reply Score: 3

edwdig Member since:
2005-08-22

Yes. But it's far from the full OneNote. It's basically My First OneNote.


Did you expect otherwise? Every other Metro app MS has made has been really stripped down compared to its desktop equivalents.

Reply Score: 1

quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

...Did you expect otherwise?


Not sure what I expected other than not colorful rectangles about as useful as the apps themselves. I've an idea Metro will be as useful as desktop gadgets which have just been dumped supposedly for security failings.

Edited 2012-07-18 01:24 UTC

Reply Score: 0

Disappointed but for userbase
by runjorel on Mon 16th Jul 2012 22:41 UTC
runjorel
Member since:
2009-02-09

I have to admit I was very disappointed. I was expecting a Metro-Office. Then someone reminded me if MS made a Metro Office they would have eliminated the upgrade path for those who choose not to upgrade to Windows 8 and it was probably difficult to create a classic Office and a Metro-Office at the same time.

till, it's weird to see Microsoft push Metro so much and then put one of their flagship products on the 'classic' desktop. It's almost as if they are saying the 'classic' desktop is for business and productivity, and the Metro is for fun as if they cannot be both. Then again, I don't imagine businesses and enterprises embracing Metro despite the fact that every C-level executive is in love with 'dashboards'.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Disappointed but for userbase
by MollyC on Mon 16th Jul 2012 23:07 UTC in reply to "Disappointed but for userbase"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

There's also a technical reason. WinRT, that api that metro apps use, does not (at least currently) support cross-process COM (it only supports in-proc COM), which Office makes use of for particular functionality.

Reply Score: 3

Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

Then, we are never going to see a "Metro" Office. Given the size of their code and their constraints (retrocompatibility)...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MollyC
by MollyC on Mon 16th Jul 2012 22:52 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

deleted by author because I replied to the wrong comment. :p

Edited 2012-07-16 22:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

the problem
by fran on Mon 16th Jul 2012 23:27 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Being a heavy excel user i can't really see my blunt fingers being very practical working with cells, etc.
Being so i don't think you will ever get metro optimized office to the productivity level of the desktop because it will always be behind the accuracy of a mouse pointer selection.

Reply Score: 5

Good thing
by unoengborg on Mon 16th Jul 2012 23:48 UTC
unoengborg
Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually it would be a good thing if MS-Office was not ported to Metro. The way most people work with MS-Office is a copy of the work flow people used around 1900 when the first typewriters became available. The only difference is that back then the information produced was hidden away and forgotten to never be found again in physical binders and filing cabinets instead of their windows desktop equivalents.

What we need today is software that makes it easy to search, combine and recombine information, and link various items of information together. In many cases wiki-like tools would make a lot more sense. MS office makes it tempting to save various copies of the same document on different machines or on different places, and in the people can't figure out what version of the document that is the valid one.

The problem gets worse the more devices we use. We might also want to view the information in different ways depending on what device we use. What we need is to maintain one version of the our documents preferably in some sort of cloud based service.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Good thing
by ebasconp on Tue 17th Jul 2012 02:52 UTC in reply to "Good thing"
ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

Actually it would be a good thing if MS-Office was not ported to Metro.


Actually, MS needs to provide some Office-like app for its ARM-based Windows 8; so a Windows Office port, an "Office-Express" metro app or something cloud based must be in the MS plans.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Good thing
by Luminair on Tue 17th Jul 2012 04:22 UTC in reply to "Good thing"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

version control systems and dropbox-like sync is not rocket science and microsoft should have beaten the market with a modern product, not continued lagging behind. they seem not even close to a modern solution like you propose. it will take someone new to eat their lunch. and all the potential upstarts I knew about have been acquired and dissolved.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Good thing
by avgalen on Tue 17th Jul 2012 11:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Good thing"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com, also known as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. It does centralized, webaccessible storage with built-in version control and workflow (among soooo many other things). It even has a free version called Windows SharePoint Services and a subscription based version called Office 365 / SharePoint Online.

This is not 1997 anymore.

(and for dropbox (home) they have skydrive)

Edited 2012-07-17 11:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Good thing
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 17th Jul 2012 14:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good thing"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

It even has a free version called Windows SharePoint Services and a subscription based version called Office 365 / SharePoint Online.


Slightly OT: Office 365 can kiss the darkest part of my white ass. Had to do some work with it recently for a client and it's been probably a decade since I've encountered such a half-assed, confusing, badly organized web-based control panel. I certainly expected that the company who built the software could build a more usable online service around it... and it didn't help that most of the documentation falls into two categories: either there's no documentation available, or there's multiple pieces of documentation that contradict each other.

Oh, and while I'm ranting about terribly-implemented online services, "youtube-direct" can kiss my ass too. Just to be able to accept video uploads through your own site, you need the Java SDK, a copy of eclipse, some Google-specific plugins, and then you need to use all of those to build & deploy an application to Google's "app engine". Oh, but the plugins you need aren't compatible with the current release of Eclipse, so you need to hunt down an old version... and even then, I never managed to get the damn thing working (unless you define "working" as "producing dozens of semi-coherent error messages").

Would it really be that hard for them to just give you some JS/iframe code to embed the uploader? Or hell, even just a pre-built version of the "app" that could be deployed after a little editing of the config file, without having to screw around with Eclipse. Seriously, I probably could have built a self-hosted setup for uploading videos in less time than I spent fighting with YT-direct...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Good thing
by chripun on Tue 17th Jul 2012 22:25 UTC in reply to "Good thing"
chripun Member since:
2008-08-25

we already have such a cloud based solution - it's called the web. Wiki systems are redundant crappy solutions for a time (long past) when we didn't have proper visual HTML editors.

Reply Score: 1

Eck...
by galvanash on Tue 17th Jul 2012 00:10 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

I don't much care about the metro/desktop distinction. But I really don't care for the look of it. It seems to me they have gone way overboard with removing all the contrast...

Everything is pure white - the ribbon, the menu, even the column labels in excel are white... everything. It overwhelms you with its lack of contrast.

I feel like they have boxed themselves in with the "dark colors for contrast" thing - it looks great with white controls when the object of the app is a picture, video, or some other thing with a dark background, but for Word and Excel? I don't know - it just feels wrong to me. Can we at least have a grey background on the ribbon to make it stand out a bit? That and as bright as LCDs are nowadays this is going to give people serious eye fatigue without doing some monitor adjustments...

Reply Score: 7

RE: Eck...
by WorknMan on Tue 17th Jul 2012 00:15 UTC in reply to "Eck..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I'm generally the last person to care about what something looks like, but you're right.... all that white looks like it will be a headache-inducer.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: All white
by jessesmith on Tue 17th Jul 2012 02:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Eck..."
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

At first I thought the images hadn't finished loading, then I realized they had, they were just all the same white colour all through. This version of Office looks terrible. Ribbon + no contrast is a bad combination.

I know businesses will probably upgrade eventually, but I've been finding almost everyone I know running a suite at home has moved away from MS-Office in favour of OpenOffice or LibreOffice. People I've asked have mostly cited the changing interface as their reason for switching. OOo and LO feel more familiar to them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Eck...
by quackalist on Tue 17th Jul 2012 05:20 UTC in reply to "Eck..."
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

Not sure what to make of it yet though it does seem to overawe the eye in it's paradoxical white minimalism. Suppose, its been Metroised in look if not function so yet another indication Metro is but some 'bright idea' tacked on to 8/Office/Cloud without any joined-up thought.

In some ways as a look it's refreshingly different but I've serious doubts as to the effect the look has to ease of use. Don't use Office a great deal myself, other than Word and Outlook, and in truth more through inertia than anything, the same goes for Windows. Looks as if Metro will finally break that or, perhaps, 7 will last me out till I drop off this mortal coil...

Reply Score: 1

Jason Bourne
Member since:
2007-06-02

I wonder what possibly people smoke to go down the GNOME Shell path and Metro path... I don't think these products will succeed in the long term.

Reply Score: 2

Yet another Office version....
by benali72 on Tue 17th Jul 2012 02:03 UTC
benali72
Member since:
2008-05-03

Whoopie! A new version of Office. I am SO excited!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Yet another Office version....
by ebasconp on Tue 17th Jul 2012 02:56 UTC in reply to "Yet another Office version...."
ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

Will this Office version provide me a thicker useless ribbon? If so, I'm desperate to buy one to fulfill my little 13" laptop screen!!!

Reply Score: 1

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Is the Auto Hide Ribbon option so hard to find?

Reply Score: 4

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Eh... I actually like the ribbon, and think it does a surprisingly good job at replacing the basic menus and toolbars while being more functional and not taking such an obscene amount of space that a lot of people including you seem to like to imply. That's more than I can say about that joke that Microsoft and the other Web browser companies pulled off in IE/Firefox/Opera by just trying to shove all the menus under one button. Oh well--at least in Firefox and Opera, it's still optional.

And it's a hell of a lot better than any other UI design Microsoft has come up with in years... remove the Start menu? Nope. New Windows 7 taskbar/pinning and Aero snap? Well, okay, those are decent, but still no. Metro? Oh my god, fuck no... put me in front of that atrocity again and I'm likely to destroy whatever computer it's running on, and they're trying everything they can to make the traditional desktop a pain in the ass to use in an attempt to make the desktop obsolete faster.

Reply Score: 3

ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

I actually like the Opera/Firefox "one button" approach; it's a pity that Opera in the mac does not implement such approach.

Anyway, I consider the Visual Studio interface one of the best and most comfortable to use; you have a main menu and you have a set of toolbars you can collapse/expand or move according your needs and likes.

Office 2011 for mac takes a lot of screen real state:

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/_base_v1/images/screenshots/screenshot...

Remember that apart of this, the main application menu is on top of your screen and that the dock is generally in the bottom. So you have a very small stripe where you can have your actual work.

Reply Score: 2

no confidence
by bram on Tue 17th Jul 2012 02:42 UTC
bram
Member since:
2009-04-03

You mean serious vote of no confidence?

Reply Score: 2

RE: no confidence
by Luminair on Tue 17th Jul 2012 04:31 UTC in reply to "no confidence"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

yes. it was sarcasm. but I actually disagree with thom, I think the office 2013 direction is very in line with windows 8, and is probably as much of a shining endorsement as a slow organization can make. both office 2013 and windows 8 look like fruity pieces of shit

Reply Score: 2

UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

Metro is a joke. It's good to hear that there is actually *some* group of people within Microsoft doesn't have their head firmly up some retarded marketing person's ass.

Reply Score: 2

Tremendous opportunity for FOSS
by earksiinni on Tue 17th Jul 2012 16:01 UTC
earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

If LibreOffice can step into the breach and beat MS to a Metro-optimized version, this would be gold.

Reply Score: 2