First look: Microsoft Office 2013
The next revision of Office adds touches of Metro without itself being a Metro appFollow @syegulalp
Most of us are likely to use Office, whatever version of it, with a physical keyboard of some kind. (I'm typing this right now on just such a peripheral.) That said, Microsoft touts Office 2013's close integration with the Windows 8 onscreen keyboard as a major attraction point for both the suite and the OS.
The new Win8 onscreen keyboard is indeed a major improvement over its Windows 7 counterpart, if only because it never commits the cardinal sin of idiotically covering up what you're typing: onscreen content is automatically moved around whenever the keyboard is invoked. Windows 8's onscreen keyboard is also much more responsive when typing, and it provides autosuggestions that actually work. Plus, it's a little easier to select and manipulate objects in Office than in previous versions of both Windows and Office.
The Windows 8 onscreen keyboard for touch devices is designed to integrate well with Office 2013. It's still no substitute for the real thing, but it makes actual work that much more possible.
Office 2013 provides another small but useful touch-centric addition called Touch Mode. When activated (there's a shortcut for it in the Quick Access Toolbar), it makes all the menu and toolbar elements in Office a little larger, and therefore easier to single out with a finger or stylus. The change in size is not dramatic enough to shove visual elements offscreen or significantly reduce the expanse of the document area, but it's enough to make it much easier to target buttons on the ribbon or other normally hard-to-hit elements.
Office 2013's touch mode makes visual elements in Office a little more widely spaced, and thus easier to single out via a touch interface. At top, touch mode off; at bottom, touch mode on. The blue circle in the Quick Access Toolbar toggles Touch Mode.
What hasn't changed? A lot, actually. The vast majority of the Office 2007/2010 look and feel -- the ribbon, the Quick Access Toolbar -- remains the same, albeit with a different color scheme. A few minute changes do catch the eye, though, such as the service-login box in the upper-right corner of each Office app. When you're logged in with Windows Live, it shows your username and icon, and it lets you switch user accounts, add or modify online services, and change some minimal Office theming features. The latter mostly consists of a little window-margin decoration in the same general area as the service-login box, in about the same manner as the skins one might add to Firefox.
Many new Office features, apart from the general Metro makeover, are minor. Comment tracking in Office 2013 (here, specifically, in Word) allows comments from multiple authors to be tracked like a message board conversation. Note also the revised navigation pane at right, which is that much clearer and easier to use than in previous editions of Word.