Guest blog by David Michaelangelo Silva
I recently made the move to Microsoft Office 2013 and thought I would share my experience as well as some tips and tricks for getting started.
First of all, Office 2013 is not something to be afraid of. Making the jump from Office 2007 or 2010 is quite easy. The main differences are found in the user interface design and colour scheming while the basic layout remains the same. Of course, jumping from Office 2003 to 2013 will be a significant jump, however, if you are still using Office 2003 you are missing out on a lot.
The ribbon has remained largely the same from 2007 through to 2013 so navigation should be straightforward. In my experience, the hardest thing to get used to was the dramatic change in the colour scheme and button design. The buttons are basically in the same place but they look entirely different which will take some adjustment. The fluid animations are also distracting at first, however, the good news is that the overall adjustment period should not be more than a day or two.
(click to enlarge)
A great new feature that was introduced throughout the suite is the ability to login with your Microsoft account to sync your preferences. Any changes you have made to basic settings and your layout will automatically be brought through when you login. This means that you can log in on multiple computers and make changes to settings and have them update automatically (or temporarily use someone else's computer and enjoy your settings).
The ability to directly access the files you have stored via your SkyDrive is another great feature. When you attempt to save a document you will be given the option to saving to your SkyDrive or on your computer. This great new option allows you to work easily in the cloud and collaborate on documents that can be shared with other people.
My experience with Word 2013 is that very little has changed whereas Outlook 2013 took a little longer to adjust to. My biggest complaint with Outlook is the absence of the subtle highlighting that runs along the current date which can make it harder to determine the current date — particularly when looking at multiple calendars at once. A number of time-saving features such as in-line replies, have made it worth the switch.
Business owners should feel confident that Office 2013 is stable and very usable. I have encountered very few issues and hardly a single crash (which is a new "feature" for the Office suite). The best news is that so far it seems like most business software plays nicely with the suite as well.