Photo: Ellis Hamburger, Business Insider
Microsoft recently made the Office 15 Technical Preview available to a privileged few. Microsoft lover Paul Thurrott got his hands on a copy and ran it through its paces.Office 15 will be the new version of Office designed for Windows 8. Thurrott was looking at an early copy, so much will change, even by this summer, when Microsoft is expected to release another technical review version.
Here’s what we gleaned:
Yikes! Upon installation, Office 15 dumped a whopping 19 tiles onto the Windows 8 start screen. Every individual app in the package got its own tile (SharePoint, Lync, Publisher, OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access — does anyone even use the Access database?), plus some extra tiles for some oddball apps. Hopefully, reviewers will tell Microsoft to tidy that up.
Microsoft is stealing a trick from Google. As soon as you launch the app, you’ll be automatically signed into your Windows Live account with a feature Microsoft calls Microsoft ID integration. That means you’ll be automatically linked to Microsoft’s Web services like SkyDrive, Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and you can easily save backups of your documents to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud file storage.
If your company uses Office 365, these buttons connect you to that cloud service, too.
Better yet, Microsoft is also integrating with Flickr and LinkedIn. Nice.
Even though Metro is supposed to be all about the touch experience, some of the control buttons are too small for the average hand to tap on, notes Thurrott. Teeny-tiny screen controls can be found on the right-hand corner. How useful is that?
Photo: SuperSite for Windows
On the upside, you can tap the touchscreen to zoom a document to full screen.
One thing that’s not leaving is The Ribbon menu, introduced in Office 2007. The one new thing with this menu is a new tab called “Design” for making pretty documents.
Microsoft Office is one of Microsoft’s most successful software products and a big reason why many enterprises could ignore the iPad and wait for Windows 8 tablets.