The ‘good old’ Microsoft finally seems to be making a long needed transition to ‘new tech,’ with some excellent product moves and announcements. After just about a month ago when it amassed rave reviews for the innovative Surface tablet design, the impressive features in the new Office suite could add to a positive build-up.

Office 2013 offers quite a many new-tech features, of which the top ones could be grouped as being touch-based, intelligence-based and communication-and-collaboration-based, though not necessarily in the same order. (I’m not counting the offerings around cloud here as cloud is more of a delivery model).

Communication-and-collaboration-based features refer to integration of products and services like Skype, Yammer, People Card or even Lync. Particularly, the ability in People Card to provide presence information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts looks very usefully appealing.

The suite exhibits intelligence through features like auto-bookmarking, enabling users to resume reading or editing from the last visited spot instead of sifting through multiple pages or slides to find it, especially in large documents. I also find the promised ability to open a PDF in Word, with the paragraphs, lists, tables, and other content acting just like Word content, attractive. This was an age-old need of Office users.

Touch features like Object Zoom could greatly add to the user experience. For example, when viewing tables, charts, images or online videos, a finger tap would let one see the details. When done, another tap would return objects to their original size.

Many of the new Office features envisage an inevitable shift to the tablet and smartphone ways-of-doing-things by the newer generation users, even when they use PCs for productivity applications.  The new features predictably toe the line taken for Windows 8, Microsoft’s new operating system that was unveiled last year and is expected to be released next month.
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