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back to article Behold: First look at Office 2013, with screenshots

Microsoft announced the details of Office 2013 at noon on Monday, San Francisco time, so your humble Reg hacks have only had it their sweaty paws for a few hours, but it's not too soon to give some first impressions of the suite, and in particular its revamped UI. The first thing you notice when launching any of the Office 2013 …

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Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Why is it that public companies, large PLCs & Public Authorities insist on using Microsoft Office?

Well informed individuals & organisations use either Open Office or LibreOffice and save themselves £££s.

It's like the 1980's when "Nobody was fired for buying IBM".

NJSS

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Happy

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

While I appreciate your point.. MS Office is the standard and nobody wants to send a document and find the recipient has to do something weird to view it.. At least in main street business.

But you are right - Like Win 8 .. Nothing makes me think - I need this!

Happy to be convinced though..

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JDX
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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Because Office (well 2007/2010) are BETTER. I've tried using free versions and they're OK, but not as good.

Cue about a zillion downvotes for daring to have an opinion people don't agree with.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Because office workers generally come with Microsoft Office skills. Largely due to the more recent and shit IT education system.

The cost of re-training is high, and unfortunately much much higher for power users of Excel. Power users of Excel are accountants, the ones with the purse strings. So it's not getting signed off, ever.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Office workers generally come with what they consider are Microsoft Office skills. That they appear to be aimlessly mashing the keyboard or randomly clicking the pretty pictures is neither here nor there.

Put Open Office in front of them and they complain endlessly...

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Thumb Up

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Open office and libre office used to be great for me. I stress used to. Try rolling out LO to 1000 machines seamlessly, it used to be simple - use a GPO and copy the config file across to make them the same. Not anymore. Try and get help in the forums and generally you are met with a "corporates should use office, why should be subsidise you". Im not asking for a subsidy, im asking on what changed from <3 to >3 in order for me to copy the configs etc.

Plus there is still no substitute for outlook and its shared-ness (calendars, tasks etc).

I did find the answers eventually but the methods are clunky. This doesnt help when office have GPOs available to set common templates, remove features that annoy end users, bolt down bits I dont want them changing etc.

LO has its place but so does office. I would love to get rid of office I really would but quite simply I cant as the alternatives dont suit large locked down/restricted environments. (God knows how schools cope with kiddies messing with it all the time, edugeek is littered with helpful souls trying to stop them)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Because both are really clunky compared with the real MS Office and crash a lot more often.

If you were on the business end of IT support you'd understand.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Speaking as a LibreOffice user....the answer is simple; integration.

If I already have an MS Office plug-in of some kind that integrates the documents with me ECM system and is working well; why would I pay more to have that ported over to Libre/OpenOffice? If all my documents are in the proprietary .doc/.docx formats; why would I run the risk of Libre/OpenOffice not being able to display/edit them properly? It's simple inertia; nothing more. Same reason why IE6 is still the default browser in many place across the globe.

Now...if you look at smaller, more dynamic and innovative companies (or even government agencies) they may well be using Libre/OpenOffice and you might find that due to demand from them that in 10 years time some of the above problems have evaporated (e.g. software vendors will provide their plug-ins for MS Office and for Libre/OpenOffice).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

I don't personally use office packages, but let my secretaries use whichever one they like best.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

...one reason is that Office has functionality that the others don't even come close on.

Yes a lot of people haven't got a clue the functionality exists, let alone use it, and so anything else would work just as well, but there is no way on this earth some of the really clever template and content control stuff we have in our documents is possible in any other product. The functionality we use only appeared in Office 2010 for a start...

There is certainly an argument that office is not for everyone, but alternatives are also not for everyone.

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...one reason is that Office has functionality that the others don't even come close on.

Yes. I vividly remember cut&pasting a carefully constructed diagram from 1 page to another and discovering the amazing 'Jumble' function. It made a better job of scattering the symbols randomly across the page while breaking most of the connections than I ever could.

Word. Not even compatible with its own functions.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Because open source is unreliable, slow to update and no one can open the files. Now Oracle raped sun will open office even exist? and what happens when they get bored and it doesnt get supported anymore. Open source is its own worst enemy. The best it ever does is under the wing of Google or similar big companies where someones pumping money into the project but you can tweak and modify it.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

I have recently had to edit some docx forms in both LibreOffice and OpenOffice. It almost made me scream! Actually, the almost in that sentence is wrong. Things kept changing position in unpredictable ways, bits of text in tables became invisible. I have had similar hassles with MS-Office for that matter. Exporting stuff to PDF is colourful as well (words stuck together, layout shot to pieces).

Ultimately I just hacked together a LaTeX style file to generate the same forms (as they wanted PDF sent in). End of (my) problem.

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Unhappy

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

"Now Oracle raped sun will open office even exist?"

It's obvious that you are not a FLOSS user or you would be aware of the fork called LibreOffice and the transfer from Oracle to Apache of OpenOffice.

One of the plus points of FLOSS is that it is very hard to kill off a project. Just look at the fiasco that is Mandriva. Devs, and others decided that they did not have any confidence in the management at Mandriva so they started Mageia. Or closer to home look at what happened when Oracle tried to impose its will on the devs and users of Hudson, most people just upped sticks and started Jenkins. See, that's the point, there is generally a way out of FLOSS projects.

"The best it ever does is under the wing of Google or similar big companies where someones pumping money into the project but you can tweak and modify it."

Ever heard of Apache? just about the biggest thing connected with the internet; or how about Samba? Due to their win over Microsoft at the European Court Of Justice over the matter of interoperabilty we are now able to use Active Directory and all that goes with it through a competing project that has nothing to do with proprietary companies. Yes, big companies might support such efforts but usually because someone has the vision and intelligence to realise that doing so is in their best interest.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

"Ultimately I just hacked together a LaTeX style file to generate the same forms (as they wanted PDF sent in). End of (my) problem."

Unfortunately me, you and a handful of others are probably the only ones that can still easily use LaTeX these days. One nice thing in Office 2013 is that it can edit PDF documents as a standard feature. Should go a lont way toward achieving the universality of appearance you wanted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Along with all the other reason posted here as someone that works for a company run by contracts and spends hours writing proposals and supporting others writing even larger ones I can tell you that all the automation and templating/collaboration is irreplaceable in big business.

We have tried and tried to make Open Source office work and as of yet there is just far too many issues integrating it into a corporate.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

"The cost of re-training is high, "

Of course, there are retraining costs with MS office - the new Metro interface might be a bigger change than switching to LO/OO, of Google Docs.

I'll have to admit that sometimes I just don't understand the "retraining" issue - you just poke and prod around it for a little bit, and off you go.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

"most people just upped sticks and started Jenkins"

This is one of the problems should I deploy and support a product that tomorrow someone gets upset and instead of quitting or being fired causing a fork in the code and I am left trying to figure out if I re-deploy or stick with what is left of the old dev team.

I will happily point finger at MS but at least when I need office there is a company with its name behind it supporting it and moving the product forward. (don't get me started on the dropped or renamed functions in excel with every version) but at least I don't have to worry MS are going to EOL office tomorrow and create a fork of it under some new product name.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

That handful would be the tens (if not hundreds) upon thousands of other academics that routinely use LaTeX day in, day out?

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

"at least I don't have to worry MS are going to EOL office tomorrow and create a fork of it under some new product name."

Apart from Office 2003, which was EOL-ed in 2007. For power users, there were a number of incompatibilities that MS dealt with simply by publishing a KB article and saying "won't fix". You could start by having a quick look at the documented limitations of the file-formats-conversion package. Quite a number of things are simply "converted to static graphic" and abandoned, even where 2003 has the same feature.

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Stop

re: the amazing 'Jumble' function

Awesome argument you make: user stupidity. Just because you didn't care to learn it, nobody else should use it.

You actually don't even have to learn. A simple google search, or help search would've told you that after you paste a little icon appears (paste options) that lets you choose to keep the source formatting, match the destination formatting, merge it, link it or paste as text only.

Now I wonder how using libre/openoffice solved this issue for you. Because those have similar functionality in paste special, but I doubt you would know about it without reading the help or searching for an answer. Which would've also solved your problem in word.

But we love you anyway. You provide job security for a herd of help desk people.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Because MS Office kicks ass when it comes to integration with third party solutions. It's macro language is known to millions of freelance VBA and .Net for Office developers. It's a myth that most of the edvanced features of Office are never used, big companies DO use them. While many Reg readers will no doubt sigh at the thought of Excel being used as a database, that does not matter. If it gets the job done, that is all that matters to the users. And to many businesses, getting the job done is worth paying a price.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Terrafirma

How is that different from the current mess of MS and other companies? I've seen what the likes of Corel can do to software. :P

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FAIL

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Bugs R Us said: "It's a myth that most of the edvanced features of Office are never used, big companies DO use them."

I certainly DO use them myself. The question is, are there enough new ones in Office 2013? (Or Office 15; Microsoft can't seem to make up its mind about the name.)

Most of the new stuff I've seen in this release falls into one of several categories: a) UI changes, mostly for the worse; b) formatting tools, aimed at creating more-beautiful documents; c) collaboration changes that may be great news to the enterprise, but don't help me at all; and, d) long-overdue fixes to ridiculously annoying problems. The latter category is the smallest, but includes things like an automatic bookmark in Word files, that returns the cursor to where it was when the file was last open. I wrote a macro to do that back in Office XP. It's taken Microsoft 10 extra years to figure it out.

The category that's almost entirely missing is e) actual new working features, that allow users to be more efficient in performing the primary function. Outlook gets a few minor tweaks; Excel, as usual, gets some bigger ones. PowerPoint has a pointer mode. Nice. But kind of feeble, when you think this is a major update to the leading 'productivity' suite.

Bottom line, I see nothing here that would tempt me to give up Office 2003. That version has a cleaner, more functional UI. It undoubtedly runs faster and takes up a fraction of the disk space. It doesn't try to log me in to Microsoft cloud services. In fact, it's easily installed anywhere, with a simple hack. (I do own it; I just don't take advantage of the DRM features...) And it's customized using a ton of macros that would probably break in Office 2013.

I'd love a new version of Office that would help me with my main job of creating long, complex, structured documents. Word has always sucked at this task; it processes words, not paragraphs or sections. But it has sucked less than the alternatives, so I stick with it. I've long since given up hoping that Microsoft would actually improve it in ways that might be helpful to me.

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Stop

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Inertia. Never underestimate inertia -- or the reasons that people will make up to avoid admitting that their real concerns are founded on nothing but inertia.

I've seen Word documents laid out using spaces for centring. I've seen people using a calculator to add up the figures in Excel spreadsheets. And these are not exceptions -- they are the norm. People who can't even use the most basic features clearly don't need the super-advanced features in Microsoft Office.

The "retraining costs" argument is also bunk. Firstly, the menu layouts and keyboard shortcuts in LO / OO are not too different from MS Office. The layout of the typing keys on the keyboard does not change! And secondly, Microsoft change things enough from one release of Office to the next to require some user retraining.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

No. You get the downvote for moaning about being downvoted you moron.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Because Microsoft office is like having a version of Open Office that someone else has compiled for you with the "disable sucking donkey dick" option turned on.

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MIc

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

When you look at the total cost of an employee over the 3 years they use a given version of Office the cost becomes peanuts. Fussing over a few bones for software is dumb.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Excel macros and VBA?

Not to mention a huge legacy of documents that won't open 100% perfect in OO and LO.

For some reason companies love to layout loads of documents in print form then never print any of it off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @The BigYin

Why, oh why, do you keep documents in proprietary formats?

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Jeez, this is a long chain of replies, but I'll shove my tuppence in anyway.

Outlook.

If you've got a corporate email system, shared calendars / address books anything else is woefully inadequate.

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@Nigel

Others stated their opinion (matching mine) already but alas...

There is one thing which hasn't been mentioned: sometimes "better" isn't always actually better. Sounds crazy?

Its quite simple: there are things which I can do much faster in MS Office 2010 than I can do in Open or Libre Office. But it isn't always better. For example; tables in Word 2010 cannot be setup so that they keep their formatting. Example: I setup a table, I format several cells with a financial view but when I remove the tables contents then the view is also gone. Writer otoh. can keep its format intact.

Although this makes Writer better for this particular job I can get quicker results with Word. For example because of its "auto text" or "quick parts" feature (insert whole (dynamic) blocks in your Word document).

So IMO there isn't a tight "better" or "worse" line here. Both suites have their advantages and disadvantages.

But just because OpenOffice is free doesn't automatically make it the best tool for the job. In the above example: what I save in purchasing costs can eventually "haunt" me in working hours; time costs money too if you're running a business.

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pwl
WTF?

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

MS office skills? really?

retraining? really?

how much training actually happened when office 2007 came out & confused the hell out of everyone with its changed user interface? the swearing & cursing around the place went on for years, but no-one got trained. everyone's just expected to know.

here's the rub: if you're not spending $$$ on the software, you *can* afford to train people and they might (gasp) become more productive!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Can EXCEL do time as a value yet?

Can EXCEL correctly read any SQL SERVER TIME & DATE data types yet?

Dweeb?

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

"That handful would be the tens (if not hundreds) upon thousands of other academics that routinely use LaTeX day in, day out?"

Great though LaTeX is, all the maths students in all the world, only add up to a small proportion of people using office suites. But have you tried the equation editor in Word 2013, yet? Seems to have been improved. Just had a look and it works pretty well, imo. Was able to bash out some reasonably complicated equations by my standards.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Sorry Ken but "Apart from Office 2003, which was EOL-ed in 2007" is in fact Bullshit:

http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=2488

Office 2003 mainstream support ended 2009. Extended support ends in 2014.

I think 6 years support and updates to a product is fair when it's included in the price.

Regarding the rest... please provide KB article numbers. I'd be very interested to read them.

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Re: @The BigYin

@AC - I never said *I* did. But here are the two big reasons:

1) The document was originally in a proprietary format and an open format cannot guarantee identical rendering. The "identical" is important - similar is simply not good enough.

2) The open format is not widely supported, the proprietary one is the defacto standard.

Personally I use LibreOffice and hold my docs in ODF.

Professionally I use MS Office that that is what I am required to use due to aforementioned integrations that are not supported/possible in Open/LibreOffice.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

@AC Excel

No. I have to repeatedly demonstrate to our department (using LO Calc) that the data is correct and it is Excel that is wrong.

"Oh, but BigYin, how do we fix this?"

"Speak to MS and get them to sort it"

"Can't you just update the CSV/DB?"

"Yes..."

"Do that then! We need our spreadsheets to be correct!"

"...and if I do that, your productions system will be jaxxied."

Do not start me on how badly Excel's data handling sux balls.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

If ONLY THEY KNEW, THE FOOLS!

Businesses are not stupid. If they could save money and directly substitute LibreOffice they would. However it isn't in the same league, especially when it comes to interoperability and programmability.

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WTF?

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

>Plus there is still no substitute for outlook and its shared-ness (calendars, tasks etc).

Really? We use a mixture of Thunderbird, lightning, Windows 7, OS-X, Chrome, Android, IE9 and gasp....Outlook. Yet our little business runs quite well with free Google Apps and it's share-ness (calendars, tasks etc).

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Meh

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

I use Open Office (Ubuntu 10.04) and Libre Office (Ubuntu 12.04) everywhere and find them very good indeed. I can't remember when either of them ever crashed, although Libre Office does not play happily with LXDE under Ubuntu 10.04.

However, that's just for WP and spreadsheets. The integration of email, calendar and telephony (we have moved to Lync at work) make MS Office a heck of a lot better. And yes, there are other email, other calendar and other VOIP applications out there but (a) I work with 10,000 people who use MS office and (b) these other applications don't integrate with OO/LO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Most large companies have developed Office to fit their needs. Business users use Excel as a programming language, Word is customized to corporate standards and uses bespoke software, Access is a database front end tool.

If you are pissing about writing a few letter it probably overkill, but in many companies Office is what users use day in and out, its mission critical.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Save it in MS Office format, and it will work in MS Office. Opening Office documents in LibreOffice might not work, but there is more chance of it working than there is of it working in a different version of MS Office.

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Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

Actually, MS office has taken the hint somewhat that their new file formats are an affront to common decency, and have added rather robust ODF support in Office 2010 onwards. (2007 got an update that added ODF support too)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

"Can EXCEL do time as a value yet?

Can EXCEL correctly read any SQL SERVER TIME & DATE data types yet?"

Why did Dweeb get down voted for asking a simple question? Can it already do these things or is there something deep that I have misunderstood?

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Thumb Down

Re: Why - Oh Why waste so much money when Open Office & LibreOffice are free?

I can't disagree more. While I use OO and LO I wouldn't reccommend them for the working world. But MS office is soo flaky and 2007 onwards is even worse. Horrendous piece of rubbish with errors in 2003 appearing in 2010, template locations, ribbon permissions and the outlook 7 deadly sins with reg settings changing randomly.

As IT Support nearly all of my calls are office related because of failed saves, crashes, random "error" and spurious values appearing or disappearing because of shared resources.

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Trollface

Can't go wrong with Microsoft. Consistently excellent products.

No-one ever got fired for buying Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

I got a nice holiday for buying Microsoft.

AC for obvious reasons

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sarcasm

I know the vein is sarcastic but sometimes the M$ option is cheaper. Schools pay roughly £30 per year per full time member of staff for windows 7, office 2010 and core CALS (inc exchange). For a typicaly 150 staff school of 1000 pupils and 500PCs thats a bargain. So just over 5k gets you a handful of 2008R2 servers, exchange, TMG, external connector and an SQL server. For another 1k you get SCCM and AV and all the trimmings if you so wished. All of this can be administered by a smaller number of staff and I dont need a linux guru (or their wages) to worry about.

Sure you could hire a linux genius and get alternatives in there but you cannot beat the flexibility of an all microsoft "up to date" system. I.e. a full server 2008R2 with W7 and office 2010 is a dream to work on, a far cry from my old days of NT4 and 98 machines (I remember the day I got my first 2000 server and marvelled at the magnificence)

MS does have its place and sometimes it does just work. Im not saying that there arent alternatives - I have looked at them but with my budget I would need more staff to administer and roll out. Perhaps if you had a blank slate then yes, a full on linux, LO, apache, tomcat, mysql, zimbra, thunderbird solution could be built but have fun locking that down to kids via logon scripts or mass updates.

Ironically enough though, all my desktops are updated using the absolutely fantastic linux FOG server.

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Depressingly...

My old boss actually said that to me with a straight face.

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