Microsoft on Monday announced the next major version of its Office productivity suite, Office 2013. Office 2013 is completely touch-optimized in light of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system, and it adds a wide range of new functionality and cloud-based features to apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well. Highlights from Office 2013 as per Microsoft’s press release:
- Touch everywhere. Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger.
- Inking. Use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite email responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Color your content and erase your mistakes with ease.
- New Windows 8 applications. OneNote and Lync represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes it easy to access features with your finger.
- Included in Windows RT. Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.
Microsoft made an early version of its Windows 8 operating system available to consumers early to test, and now the company is doing the same with Office 2013 — a free Office 2013 preview version is available immediately, and a download link follows below.