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back to article Help us out here: What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?

It was Verity Stob who identified the key challenge for Microsoft Office upgrades: "Name just ONE feature introduced into Word in the 21st century that the weak-willed upgrader regularly uses," asked the antiquarian. Fourteen revisions since the first Office that it may not be easy, because spell checking, grammar checking, …

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PDFs

Word 2013 can open, edit and save PDFs.

Saying goodbye finally to Adobe Standard is totally worth the upgrade.

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Re: PDFs

I presume only the text-based PDFs?

In my practice those are few and far between...

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Re: PDFs

PrimoPDF or Foxit Editor both allowed output from Word for ages.

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Trollface

Re: PDFs

*cough* even Libre/OpenOffice!

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Re: PDFs

The PDFs from Libre Ofice are particularly good.

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WTF?

Re: PDFs

Are you telling me that Word has not been able to handle PDFs like LibreOffice?

Sorry, this is not a wind-up, but as someone who last used Office '97, I thought that *all* WPs could do this now.

And people keep telling me that LO, OOO are not good enough, seems that they might never have used either of these programs.

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Re: PDFs

So can LibreOffice (and has been able to do so for some time). Not sure about OpenOffice.

Now, I'll admit that LO turns PDFs into Draw documents, rather than anything else, but it does seem to be quite effective.

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@Andrew Moore

I think you missed his point about being able to _import_ PDFs.

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Re: PDFs

Yes..and ignore all the skim-readers who see "Word...PDF" together and come up with some oh-so-witty response about how FoxIt/Ghostscript//LO/OO has been able to do that for ages. That's an OUTPUT issue that is long solved. But being able to get a PDF and load it INTO Word and actually do something useful with it is a big deal.

On the other hand...the prospect of converting a bazillion high-powered Excel- and Word-fu macros from VBA into whatever the new dev platform is, is...worrying. Time to hit MSDN and start researching, I think.

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Re: PDFs

OK, so, can Foxit Reader import, edit, then export PDFs? Can Libre Office? Can any of the free solutions you suggest integrate with existing enterprise infrastructure (such as Sharepoint and Exchange, both of which are used quite heavily in the commercial world) as well as Office?

I am not saying Free software cannot be good (in fact on OSX, I'll use NeoOffice in preference to Office anytime), but you need to compare like with like.

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Re: PDFs

@KingZongo

I agree and office has been able to export to PDFs for a long time now (IIRC, 2003 version allows it).

However, the hurdle has always been importing PDF data and that is a significant improvement if it works.

Unfortunately, as a few others have suggested, lots of PDFs on the web tend to be weirdly saved as PDF images..... (especially ones from HMG who seem obsessed with saving the document, printing it out, then scanning it back in as a PDF'd JPEG........ MADNESS).

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@Stuart Castle Re: PDFs

"OK, so, can Foxit Reader import, edit, then export PDFs? Can Libre Office?"

Libre Office can - yes.

"Can any of the free solutions you suggest integrate with existing enterprise infrastructure (such as Sharepoint and Exchange, both of which are used quite heavily in the commercial world) as well as Office?"

Can LO integrate with Microsoft enterprise infrastructure as well as Office ? I highly doubt it... or did you also mean other enterprise infrastructures ? (genuine question)

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Re: PDFs

"And people keep telling me that LO, OOO are not good enough, seems that they might never have used either of these programs."

What!? You mean there is an alternative to Libre Office? Why?

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@Jaruzel

Word 2013 can also give me a headache by merely looking at an Office presentation on Youtube. I think I'll sit this one out.

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Coat

There is no point.

They just like to make work harder for us that is all. MS = Masochistic Software.

They will have to price my Windows 7 + Office 2003 VM from my cold dead hands because I sure ain't upgrading to this crap incarnation of something that was half decent.

All the Ribbon Fanboi's can now start their downvoting but for me, the ribbon just does not work in any shape or form.

Coat, VM with Office 2003 in pocket? Check.

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Re: There is no point.

Totally agree that ribbon is an abomination. I have been using 2007 for 3 years and I still hate it. In comparison, 2003 was a work of art...it felt like it was made with care and precision. 2007 and ribbon is just a horrible exercise in veneer engineering.

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Re: There is no point.

veneer engineering

Pretty good. You have to pronounce it like Samuel Jackson did "Royale with Cheese", I suppose.

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Unhappy

Re: There is no point.

Here's one reason to upgrade to Office 2013 - you can finally ask excel to open A NEW WINDOW! This feature should have been implemented many versions ago. But I'm happy as I no longer have to open multiple instances of excel to get one spreadsheet on one monitor and a different spreadsheet on the other.

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Re: There is no point.

... ribbon is just a horrible exercise in veneer engineering.

"Veneer Engineering" ... I like it (but not the ribbon, which is just screen bling).

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Re: There is no point.

Here's one reason to upgrade to Office 2013 - you can finally ask excel to open A NEW WINDOW! This feature should have been implemented many versions ago. But I'm happy as I no longer have to open multiple instances of excel to get one spreadsheet on one monitor and a different spreadsheet on the other.

I recall a user asking this very thing some time back with Office 2003. It IS doable, I googled for the answer. Can't remember details now, but I do remember it wasn't intuative.

Kinda like MS didn't WANT you to do it, but left it configurable enough behind the scenes anyway.

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Facepalm

Re: There is no point.

I'm still using Office 2003 and I really enjoy it!

And for someone who wants Office-compatible software, just spend $15 and buy Office 2000 off eBay. Download and install the free MS Office compatibility pack from the MS website, and you have total compatibility with all flavors of Office. You can even save in Office 2007/10 format! And no DRM - install on as many computers as you like.

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Black Helicopters

Re: There is no point.

Ribbon haters of the world unite!

Having used the ribbon, with its mass of poorly sized and illogically located buttons for a few years I've come to the conclusion that there is one point to the ribbon which is vendor lock in. The ribbon has an interface where the user associates functions to locations. I'd speculate the function button location thing has been done deliberately to make it difficult to use an alternative.

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SkyDrive?

'There is also a bit more cloud in Office 2013, which hooks into SkyDrive so users are steered towards cloud storage. The advantage is that documents will be available across all devices.'

Steered......as in default and has to be changed by the user (and how many PICNICs have you come across!)

Yeah, great, wonderful........until something (insert disaster of your choice) happens to your Interweb connection or you want to retrieve a doc on the move and there's no signal for for dongle (and there are places in the UK where that happens) or you don't have enough credit left on your download.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SkyDrive?

Better still - lets put all of our documents directly in to the hands of a US corporation without client-side encryption. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Arse!

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Re: SkyDrive?

Yes, tragedy! Guess you'll just have to use the version *which is always synced to your hard drive*.

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Big Brother

Re: SkyDrive?

Depending on what sort of documents you are working on the Information Commissioner might come knocking on your door with a big fat fine for breaching the DPA.

Cloud and DPA don't mix well yet.

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Facepalm

Re: SkyDrive?

DPA issues is something that really appears to have been brushed under the carpet by all concerned in the 'cloud arena'.

Not that long ago I was hunting round for cloud storage that was contained in the UK. The couple of companies that fitted the bill were totally clueless about it when I called them.

Needs a major investigation and kick up the arse to clarify.

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Re: SkyDrive?

@Jason7

Usually it's not a requirement that such a service has to be located in the UK. For appropriate Data Protection cover anywhere in Europe (the EU) is acceptable. Taking data that should be protected out of the EU and into countries that do not have adequate, or any, privacy safeguards is in contravention of the Data Protection Act. This includes storing data in cloud infrastructures or heading off to US organisations that are not specifically registered under the Safe Harbor (sp) act for the distinct and specified purpose required.

I'm in no way affiliated with them, but Wuala provide EU based cloud storage. It's a bit clunky in places but has some good features that are well suited to business as well rather than the complete focus on individual storage that is usually found everywhere else.

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Happy

Re: SkyDrive?

Cheers Nick!

Noted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SkyDrive?

the Information Commissioner might come knocking on your door with a big fat fine for breaching the DPA

Yup. Which a big fat US company doesn't really seem to care about. Using Gmail for business presents you with the same problem (which has already led to lawsuits) so just give it some time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SkyDrive?

Needs a major investigation and kick up the arse to clarify.

@jason 7: as far as I'm aware this is actually already happening. I think this brief was given to the EU Justice Article 29 working group (the same club who wrote that nice letter to Google).

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Re: SkyDrive?

Still not quite. You can transfer data without issue in the EU+EEA regulatory regimes and in safe harbour countries or use contractual processes to safe guard data out of the EU. The EU have published model contracts. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/document/international-transfers/transfer/index_en.htm

So as long as the contract between the parties is sufficient to protect the data you can move the data. Makes sense as the issue is really about protecting private data not its geographic location. However its geographic location even in the EU will affect what level of legal interception is allowed and what level of due process is required to release such data to the various authorities that may ask for it.

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Re: contract between the parties is sufficient to protect the data

I'm not aware that any private contact can ever contradict national law. So it seems to me that if you need to comply with British/EU regs, you pretty much need to stay in that geographical region.

And I say that as a US citizen who isn't quite as concerned about complying with that law as someone in the EU needs to be.

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Happy

I already upgraded. To Libre Office :)

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Like most Microsoft offerings this sounds very exciting!

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@ NomNomNom

"NomNomNom

Like most Microsoft offerings this sounds very exciting!"

Hands up those who get a hard on at the mere mention of Microsoft Office!

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Re: @ NomNomNom

Well presumably they can only put one hand up though...

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Google Docs...

I'm finding Google Docs more than capable for the odd use I have. And it comes with collaboration built in. And is platform agnostic.

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Re: Google Docs...

...and presumably stores your documents in 'the cloud' - gods I hate that term - leaving it accessible to both governments intent on carrying out fishing expiditions and hackers trying to break in to the accounts stored there.

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Re: Google Docs...

Believe me, there's nothing important there. If Google wants it they are welcome to it.

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Re: Google Docs...

I am having to use Google docs and the respective Google Drive for the first time in a corp env and whilst from a compatibility perspective its a good win from a functionality perspective its a big lose... Don't get me started about using Gmail vs. Outlook, whilst I am not a huge MS fan having grown up on SCO Sys V, Linux early beta's, and most of the various Linux forks, SUN Solaris etc I do find that for shear ease of use Office 03-07 isn't half bad. Especially when I would rather spend more of my working day resolving issues on the job I have been employed to do than trying to shoe horn workarounds just to attach multiple emails to one email..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google Docs...

Believe me, there's nothing important there. If Google wants it they are welcome to it.

Excellent. Can you set all your documents to public and send me a link please? I am just a bit nosy and would like to have a look over your files as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google Docs...

Especially when I would rather spend more of my working day resolving issues on the job I have been employed to do than trying to shoe horn workarounds just to attach multiple emails to one email..

The pay is the same though ....

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Re: shoe horn workarounds just to attach multiple emails to one email

I'd give you 20 up-votes for that statement alone if I could. The most bizarre part of that to me is that I have the distinct recollection I was able to do that a few years ago, but it is now nearly impossible. Most of the time we work around it with GASMO and Outlook, but yeah, as a corporate solution, I think GMail sucks.

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ToDo Bar

I can't believe there was no mention of how much they've messed up appointments & calendars in Outlook.

If you use Outlook for managing your time you will want to avoid this update.

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IT Angle

Re: ToDo Bar

I found it an improvement personally - especially if your IT guys have set up Exchange properly.

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Re: ToDo Bar

I like to see when my next holidays or social appointments are even if they are a few weeks away.

So it's not a massive problem for me but if I used it for business there's no way I'd put up with it. I'm sure that sales reps who like to know at a glance if they are going to be driving up the country over the next few days will be hit especially hard.

Anyway, just do a Google search for "Outlook 2013 ToDo bar" and you'll find plenty angry people.

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Windows

"The ribbon makes more features visible"

I'm sorry, what? In 2003, I can have any button or control element I want visible at all times and at ideal sizes (meaning small, yet easy to click). On upper toolbar and lower one too. As a major bonus, the programs open instantly without some "fancy" init screens. Oh and no annoying pulsing MS logo like 2007 had.

Then again, I guess it gets down to personal preference. I just like to have all controls I use visible, not have to click between tabs. That's about as annoying as "network and sharing center".

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