Homeoffice 2013 keyWhat’s the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?

“Name just ONE feature introduced into Word in the 21st century that the weak-willed upgrader regularly uses,” asked the antiquarian.

Revisions to the first Office might not be an easy thing, because involving those problems including spell check, grammar check, paragraph styles, track Word changes.

With Office 2013 now officially available, is there anything in it actually worth upgrading for?

As was the case with its predecessors, the latest Office upgrade is driven less by actual appetite from consumers for new features as by compatibility factors. Will anything but the latest or at least a recent version run properly on Windows 7 or 8? Will it play nicely with SharePoint? Will users be able to read emailed documents, and create documents that are intelligible to others?

Office was also a testbed for, and a beneficiary of, tricky Windows technologies like Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) and COM automation, which meant you could embed documents from one application into another, and write applications that control Office to read and generate documents. The fact that Microsoft wrote the operating system did the Office team no harm.

Office 97 also introduced the Office Assistant – or Clippy – famous for interjecting helpless one liners such as: “It looks like you’re writing a letter” when you were doing no such thing. History has not been kind to Clippy, now a symbol of Microsoft’s inability to work out what will really help users, but he does illustrate a key point: that even 16 years ago, Microsoft understood that its key challenge was to make software easier to use, especially since Office already had more features than most users ever discovered. Unfortunately Clippy was just too irritating and too often wrong, especially since many of his speeches are modal dialogs.

After Office 97, the suite stagnated for a decade and the antiquary was gleeful. What was new in Office 2000, Office XP and Office 2003? Clippy retired.

Enhanced Office activate anti-piracy measures. Multiple document interface, multiple documents in a single application framework was improved. Microsoft is trying tolead us to the smart tags, embedded in the document, using custom actions, and can even be applied to new applications (in Office InfoPath 2003 appear) but the team coasting.

 Here is Clippy, ever-friendly source of bad advice.


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