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The manufacturer commented on the review below
2,603 of 2,722 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Download
I have never been a Microsoft hater, as many are. But the love is certainly gone. Welcome to the beginning of the end of an economical Office purchase (with one exception, which I'll get to later).

Ready to get your new 2013 Home & Student with 3 licenses? Forget about it: they're gone forever. Pay Microsoft your $140 and they will give you a THIRD of what they used to give you for that price: 1 license, not 3.

It gets worse: Are you familiar with Microsoft's big push for "Office 365"? Get familiar with it because this is the last time you will even be able to "buy" Office: you RENT Office 365, you don't own it. It's a subscription service. And it is the future of Office. Don't like the fact that you now have to pay $280 for your desktop and notebook copies of Office (or $420 for 3 licenses)? Say hello to $100 PER YEAR for Office 365. And that will be at LEAST $400 if you use it for more than 3 years.

The one positive aspect of 365 is that it covers up to 5 PC's, so a family will probably save money on the deal. However, if you are single or a couple with 2 or 3 computers, you will pay at least $300 over the average 3-year lifespan of an Office edition. Go one day over 3 years (requiring a 4th-year subscription) and it's $400. For something you paid $125 or so for until now (Office 2010 H&S with 3 licenses was $125).

Yes, I'm giving Microsoft 1 star: Forget about the merits of Office 2013, it's the greed and manipulative practices of Microsoft that need to be exposed here. One day in the not-too-distant future Microsoft will make sure "owned" editions of Office (perpetual licenses) will not work with new editions of Windows (e.g., Windows 10) so that you MUST subscribe to 365. Worse, you will have to ALWAYS subscribe if you want to read and edit your Word or Excel docs, use OneNote, etc.: the apps are DISABLED the minute your subscription lapses. This IS their plan. So, I encourage others to give Office 2013 a 1-star review to voice your displeasure over this 200% price increase and Microsoft's nefarious plans on making Office an extortion racket (they will be able to demand higher and higher 365 fees because you can't say no - unless you're willing to lose years worth of documents).

P.S. One other reason to hate this change in Office: the one license you get is now machine-specific, tied to that machine ID upon install. If that computer dies or if you decide to get a new PC, you now must buy another copy of Office: no migrating/transfering allowed anymore. Another $140. Nice.

---------------------------------------------------
ADDENDUM 5 May 2013

Many who loathe the idea of renting Office have asked, 'Do I abandon Office and find a free suite [OpenOffice, etc.] now, or wait until I'm forced into Office 365?'. Well, just so you know, MS recently announced that it will continue to support Windows 7 to at least 2020, probably longer. That means that if you have Office 2010 or 2013 and run either W7 or W8, your owned (perpetual license) Office product will run fine until probably 2025 or later, as long as you keep W7 or 8 as your OS (and, who knows, perhaps Windows 9 will be compatible as well). If you have Office 2007 or earlier, I would get my hands on a 2010 with 3 licenses, pronto. There's nothing earth-shatteringly special about 2013 and many hate it compared to 2010, even aside from the pricing/licensing nonsense.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear D. Graves,

Thank you for your feedback and sorry for the inconvenience. Effective immediately, we have changed the licensing terms to allow you to transfer the software from one computer to another. We made this decision based on your feedback and the feedback of other customers who asked for additional flexibility in this area. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/Xr8OPk

-The Office Team
The manufacturer commented on the review below
542 of 564 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Download
TL;DR: Office 2013 is a good product in its own right, but it's pretty much the same as Office 2010 with SkyDrive integration, touch mode, some new annoyances, and higher pricing. I would not recommend upgrading from Office 2010. If you do not have Office 2010, see if you can live with the competition (OpenOffice, Google Drive) before buying this.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

About a month ago, I installed Windows 8 and the final version of Office 2013 on a Dell XPS 13. A bit about me: I'm a graduate student and a long-time user of Microsoft Office. I've used Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote almost every day for the past 5 years, but OneNote the most by far. I've used every version of Office since 1997.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the biggest changes to Office 2013 from Office 2010 are SkyDrive integration, touch gestures, and a flatter UI to match Windows 8. Since I don't use SkyDrive often, don't have a touchscreen, and am indifferent to the flatter look, I'll leave those aspects to other reviews. If you're like me and aren't particularly excited by SkyDrive (which still isn't as versatile as Google Docs for real-time collaboration), then Office 2013 is practically the same as Office 2010 in terms of how everything works - most of the time. This is not a bad thing, at least in my opinion, since I really liked Office 2010 and its improved Ribbon UI.

What I wanted to talk about here are the changes that Microsoft has made to Office 2013 from Office 2010 that I've noticed, changes that might impact daily workflow for users upgrading from previous Office versions.

OneNote 2013:
---------------
I spend at least 4 hours a day in this program, so I'll start with this. As far as I can tell, there are no significant changes in terms of features. Buttons on the ribbon are shuffled around a bit, but the feature set is still the same, as is the file container (*.one) and notebook type ("OneNote 2010-2013").

However, there are 5 new issues that annoy me every single day.
(1) Full screen and pinning the ribbon. In 2013, going into full screen mode means that everything is hidden, except for a very short horizontal bar across the top of the screen. To access anything on the ribbon, I have to click on this bar to show the ribbon first. If I want to pin the ribbon so that tabs are visible at all times in full screen mode, I have to click on this bar, click a menu button near the minimize button (also hidden in full screen), and then click Show Tabs. However, OneNote does not remember this setting. Thus, every time I exit full screen mode or restart OneNote and then reenter full screen mode, I have to re-pin the ribbon again. On an ultrabook, I want more space for taking notes, but I also use the ribbon extensively and would prefer to have it available. This problem did not exist in OneNote 2010, which remembers the user's full-screen ribbon settings.
(2) Inserting multi-page printouts. The new default behavior in OneNote 2013 is to place each page of the printout on a separate "page" of the notebook. I prefer to put one entire lecture on each "notebook page", regardless of how many pages or slides the professor gives us. I've also never come across anyone who prefers to have only one printout page on each notebook page. So for instance, if I were inserting a 30-slide Powerpoint, OneNote 2013 would create 30 new notebook pages. There is an option to turn this off in the options, but OneNote then shows a dialog box asking me to choose between the two options every time I want to insert a printout. Since I insert several files a day, this gets annoying very quickly. Once again, OneNote 2010 did not have this problem.
(3) Inserting more than 1 multi-page printout on the same notebook page. If I try this, then the second printout is somehow inserted under the first printout, i.e. the first printout overlaps and covers up the second printout. It only happens when the printouts are both at least several pages long or if I've annotated the page already; the program disregards my cursor location. To work around this, I have to put the second printout on a new notebook page and then copy/paste the printout pages back to the first notebook page. This problem also did not exist in OneNote 2010.
(4) Zoom level changes when inserting printout: it always defaults back to 100%. I take notes at 115% on my ultrabook, so every time I insert a printout, I have to readjust the zoom level.
(5) Drawing tools. I have no idea how Microsoft managed to mess this up when going from 2010 to 2013, but half the time I try to draw an arrow, it ends up being a line with a V in the middle, or the arrowhead is completely detached from the line. In fact, I can't even draw a plain line properly sometimes. I haven't tried the other shapes much, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were problems there too. I've given up and resorted to drawing arrows freehand with the pen tool instead.

These issues may seem minor to some, but they affect me every day, so I wanted to give a heads-up to anyone else who uses OneNote the same way I do. I wish that Microsoft had spent more time implementing useful features (e.g. still can't rotate or crop a printout; search results are still clunky) or at least providing options to change these new behaviors in settings.

Word 2013:
--------------
Now, when you open up Word (and Excel/Powerpoint), you're presented with a selection of templates instead of just a blank document, which is one extra click away (this can be turned off in Options). Other than that, the feature set for Word has remained largely the same. I have noticed significant lag when saving large Word documents, even to SSD - I was working on a 20MB file and Word would freeze up for 10-15 seconds every time I saved, despite my computer being pretty new. I tried tweaking the settings, disabling hardware acceleration, etc, but nothing helped. This was not an issue in Word 2010 either.

One of the most touted new features of Word 2013 is the ability to open PDF files for editing, but I have attempted to open and edit several documents, and Word does a horrible job of preserving formatting. I have third-party conversion software that almost always gets the formatting correct, no matter how complex, so this was a disappointment. I even tried to open a PDF file that was created from a simple Word document, and Word failed to properly center the title. I would not recommend relying on this feature.

Excel/Powerpoint 2013:
----------------------
I haven't had much of a chance to work extensively with these programs, but other than the template selection page when first opening the programs, they seem pretty much the same as Office 2010. Saving large files in Powerpoint 2013 usually seems okay, unlike in Word 2013. Powerpoint now defaults to 16:9 aspect ratio for slides, which is nice. There are some nice additions and tweaks to the Design tab in Powerpoint, but nothing spectacular. Excel has some handy pattern-recognition auto-fill functions now which seem to work well.

One more thing about Word/Excel/Powerpoint: Microsoft decided to add transitions to everything, which I find distracting. For example, when you type in Word, the letters fade into the page instead of simply appearing, and the cursor glides to the right. In Excel, when recalculating cells, the new values fade in, like a ripple effect. In Powerpoint, when applying a new background, it fades into all the slides as it is applied. There is no way to turn this off except through a registry tweak.

Conclusion
------------
It may seem like I'm being overly critical of Office 2013, but I immensely enjoyed using Office 2010, and much of that experience has carried over here. Office 2013 will undoubtedly stand as the new standard of office suites this year. Microsoft Office remains a powerful and invaluable set of software for people in academia or business, which is why I'm still giving it 3.5 (~4) stars. But at best, Office 2013 is simply Office 2010 with SkyDrive integration and touch gestures. If you're like me, Office 2013 introduces little to no new functionality and a handful of new bugs and quirks that interfere with daily workflow. My advice? If you're considering upgrading from pre-2010, then I would recommend Office 2010, especially in light of the annual subscription-based model Microsoft is pursuing for Office 2013. If you're already on Office 2010 and are happy, I would not recommend upgrading to Office 2013.

UPDATE - SkyDrive collaboration
-------------------------------------------
Recently, I tried using SkyDrive, Office Web Apps (free version), and Office 2013 together to collaborate on some files with other people, and the experience is a far cry from Google Docs. I will preface this by saying that I am not using the subscription/corporate versions of Office Web Apps, which (I believe) have better collaboration features. This is for users who want to buy the retail copy of Office 2013 and/or are considering using Skydrive and the free Office Web Apps to work on files with other people.
(1) Changes are not synced in real time - for instance, if someone makes an edit, all other users who have the file open must manually save and refresh the document to see changes.
(2) Conflicts. After the manual save/refresh, Skydrive roughly merges everything together - so, for instance, if both users write a sentence, both sentences will appear after the first user syncs their changes, the second user syncs the first user's changes plus their own changes, and the first user syncs yet again. If two users try to edit the same word, Skydrive gives an error message, complaining of a conflict and asking the user to manually resolve each problem. If this sounds like a mess, it's because it is.
(3) There is no indication of what other users are editing, where their cursors are, what they're looking at, etc., unlike Google Docs.
(4) In Excel, if a desktop user on Excel 2013 is editing the spreadsheet, then no other users can edit it.
(5) In Powerpoint, text appears in a different size and font when being edited, then reverts back after the user exits the text box...why?
(6) The web apps have been stripped of nearly all features, even basic things like header/footer in Word. This is to be expected, since it's free, but it also means that Google Docs provides a superior experience, at least for word processing.
I shudder to think how badly this system would work when trying to get a significant amount of work done. Google Docs may be inadequate for many power-user tasks, but it is absolutely outstanding when it comes to real-time collaboration - I've written 100+ page papers with other people using Google Docs, and while further formatting is always required in Word after everything is written, we've never had a problem with seeing exactly what has been written at any given time. Microsoft's free solution does not hold up well at all for multi-user scenarios; it really only works as a backup solution for single user use.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Thanks for your thorough review. We're happy to share that we've had several big updates since your review was originally published:

-What's new in Office 2013: http://msft.it/WhatsNew2013_a and http://msft.it/WhatsNew_a.

-Collaboration just got easier with real-time co-authoring now available in Office Web Apps on SkyDrive: http://msft.it/realtime_coauthoring.

We hope the above links help. We're happy to answer questions; we can be reached here http://msft.it/VirtualChat_a or on Twitter http://msft.it/OfficeTwitter_a.

-The Office Team
The manufacturer commented on the review below
398 of 415 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
Platform for Display: PC DownloadVerified Purchase
I bought this and downloaded it on my computer. A week later that computer basically died so I had to get a new one. They won't reset my code and are insisting I spend another $140 TO BUY IT AGAIN. I had to wait 2 hours on the phone and online to be told no. I am beyond frustrated at them.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear Babs,

Thank you for your feedback and sorry for the inconvenience. Effective immediately, we have changed the licensing terms to allow you to transfer the software from one computer to another. We made this decision based on your feedback and the feedback of other customers who asked for additional flexibility in this area. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/Xr8OPk

-The Office Team
471 of 500 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Key Card
I have never been a Microsoft hater, as many are. But the love is certainly gone. Welcome to the beginning of the end of an economical Office purchase (with one exception, which I'll get to later).

Ready to get your new 2013 Home & Student with 3 licenses? Forget about it: they're gone forever. Pay Microsoft your $140 and they will give you a THIRD of what they used to give you for that price: 1 license, not 3.

It gets worse: Are you familiar with Microsoft's big push for "Office 365"? Get familiar with it because this is the last time you will even be able to "buy" Office: you RENT Office 365, you don't own it. It's a subscription service. And it is the future of Office. Don't like the fact that you now have to pay $280 for your desktop and notebook copies of Office (1 $140 license for each)? Say hello to $100 PER YEAR for Office 365. And that will be at LEAST $400 if you use it for more than 3 years.

The one positive aspect of 365 is that it covers up to 5 PC's, so a family will probably save money on the deal. However, if you are single or a couple with 2 or 3 computers, you will pay at least $300 over the average 3-year lifespan of an Office edition. Go one day over 3 years (requiring a 4th-year subscription) and it's $400. For something you paid $125 or so for until now (Office 2010 H&S with 3 licenses was $125).

Yes, I'm giving Microsoft 1 star: Forget about the merits of Office 2013, it's the greed and manipulative practices of Microsoft that need to be exposed here. One day in the not-too-distant future Microsoft will make sure "owned" editions of Office (perpetual licenses) will not work with new editions of Windows (e.g., Windows 10) so that you MUST subscribe to 365. Worse, you will have to ALWAYS subscribe if you want to read and edit your Word or Excel docs, use OneNote, etc.: the apps are DISABLED the minute your subscription lapses. This IS their plan. So, I encourage others to give Office 2013 a 1-star review to voice your displeasure over this 200% price increase and Microsoft's nefarious plans on making Office an extortion racket (they will be able to demand higher and higher 365 fees because you can't say no - unless you're willing to lose years worth of documents).

P.S. One other reason to hate this change in Office: the one license you get is now machine-specific, tied to that machine ID upon install. If that computer dies or if you decide to get a new PC, you now must buy another copy of Office: no migrating/transfering allowed anymore. Another $140. Nice.

---------------------------------------------------
ADDENDUM 5 May 2013

Many who loathe the idea of renting Office have asked, 'Do I abandon Office and find a free suite [OpenOffice, etc.] now, or wait until I'm forced into Office 365?'. Well, just so you know, MS recently announced that it will continue to support Windows 7 to at least 2020, probably longer. That means that if you have Office 2010 or 2013 and run either W7 or W8, your owned (perpetual license) Office product will run fine until probably 2025 or later, as long as you keep W7 or 8 as your OS (and, who knows, perhaps Windows 9 will be compatible as well). If you have Office 2007 or earlier, I would get my hands on a 2010 with 3 licenses, pronto. There's nothing earth-shatteringly special about 2013 and many hate it compared to 2010, even aside from the pricing/licensing nonsense.
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226 of 239 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Download
I have, until now, purchased each new edition of Office Home and Student for our 3 computers. That ends with this edition. No way will we buy 3 copies. We will be using the old 2010 Office and free Open Office programs from now on, or, possibly, switching to Apple products the next time we buy computers. The Apple is more expensive, but applications much more reasonable with family-friendly sharing. Microsoft seems determined to keep losing ground to their competitors. By the way, if you haven't tried Open Office (<...>)or LibreOffice (<...>) an almost identical free program, give them a serious look. You can do just about everything you can do in MS Office and save it in MS Office formats. Since it is free, you can also save a document in the Open/Libre Office format and send it to friends who can also download the free program to read and edit. Open/Libre Office also includes a database and drawing program in addition to the usual word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs. Both programs are also available for Mac computers. Google Docs is another free option for simple documents, but doesn't offer many formatting or custom options. It is, however, great for interactive collaborative projects.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
201 of 212 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Download
Another point that the other excellent 1-star reviewers over-looked, is that Microsoft requires you to create an account with them before you can DL the software.

I remember reading a scary book in my youth: 1984.

Here are some free, or much cheaper, alternatives: Google Docs, LibreOffice, Apache OpenOffice, Calligra Suite, OxygenOffice Professional, SoftMaker Office or Feng Office Community Edition.

If everyone were to say 'no' to Microsoft and go with the alternatives, the alternatives would improve & Microsoft would change their way of doing business (OK - maybe that is just wishful thinking).

If Amazon allows the links:[...] or [...]
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear R. Jacobson,

We are very sorry to hear about your experience setting up Office. We currently have many efforts in place to ensure we can improve those experiences moving forward. Please contact us via the email officems@microsoft.com by Apr, 30 2013, and provide your contact details. Once we receive that information, we will ensure you are contacted by one of our Premium Support Professionals who will work with you to understand the cause of your issues, and ensure you have resolution . Thank you for your feedback.

-The Office Team
The manufacturer commented on the review below
345 of 371 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Download
Let's face it, if you've used Microsoft Office in the past then you know pretty much what you're getting with this software. There is nothing revolutionary or life changing about the 2013 version of this software. There are minor tweaks here and there, but nothing to get excited about. It works as it should.

But, the biggest difference that I noticed was that this new version is non-transferable between computers, and you can only install it on 1 PC. In past versions, you were able to make one software purchase and outfit your whole household (up to 3 PCs) with Microsoft Office. No more.

This 2013 version clearly states that it is only for 1 user, and 1 PC. So, if you have more than one PC in your home, you will need to make multiple purchases of this software. Also, if your computer dies or you decide to replace it with a new one, guess what? Yep, you guessed it, you'll spend another $140 to re-install Office2013 on your new computer.

I am a fan of Microsoft Office programs, and I've used them for many years, but this new "non-transferable" policy is an important thing to know when making a buying decision. I hope this review has been helpful.

UPDATE 3-19-2013:
Microsoft has recently changed its user agreement allowing you to transfer the software to a different computer. If your PC dies or you get a new one, you can transfer the software license to the new computer. While this is a step in the right direction, unfortunately this is just a half-measure. The policy still only allows installation on just 1 PC, contrary to previous versions which allowed installation on up to 3 PCs. Those who have more than one PC will still have to make multiple purchases.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear TVR,

Thank you for your feedback and sorry for the inconvenience. We appreciate the update to your review with the updated licensing terms. We have changed the licensing terms to allow you to transfer the software from one computer to another. We made this decision based on your feedback and the feedback of other customers who asked for additional flexibility in this area. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/Xr8OPk

-The Office Team
The manufacturer commented on the review below
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2013
Platform for Display: PC DownloadVerified Purchase
I had installation issues and Microsofts' technical support is the absolute worst. I spent a whole day on the phone and no one could fix the problem; the only thing they could do was transfer my call to someone else.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Dear Pianobiz,

We are very sorry to hear about your experience setting up Office, and also with support. We currently have many efforts in place to ensure we can improve those experiences moving forward. Please contact us via the email officems@microsoft.com by Apr, 30 2013, and provide your contact details. Once we receive that information, we will ensure you are contacted by one of our Premium Support Professionals who will work with you to understand the cause of your issues, and ensure you have resolution . Thank you for your feedback.


-The Office Team
119 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Download
Just ordered Microsoft Home & Student 2013 directly from the Microsoft site. Went to download the product and nothing happened. "Redemption failed." Went back to my account (as was suggested from follow up email) and logged into my account. Got message, "Sorry, something went wrong." Next I called the help number and you know the drill, after a 15 minute wait finally got hold of a real person. Gave him all pertinent information and explained exactly what happened, or more accurately, what did not happened. Ultimately he told me that "this was a known problem and to try back in 24-48 hours." So now I am out $139 and have to wait 2 days to see if I can even download what I paid for. Total crap on the part of Microsoft.
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184 of 200 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
Platform for Display: PC Key Card
Let's face it, if you've used Microsoft Office in the past then you know pretty much what you're getting with this software. There is nothing revolutionary or life changing about the 2013 version of this software. There are minor tweaks here and there, but nothing to get excited about. It works as it should.

But, the biggest difference that I noticed was that this new version is non-transferable between computers, and you can only install it on 1 PC. In past versions, you were able to make one software purchase and outfit your whole household (up to 3 PCs) with Microsoft Office. No more.

This 2013 version clearly states that it is only for 1 user, and 1 PC. So, if you have more than one PC in your home, you will need to make multiple purchases of this software. Also, if your computer dies or you decide to replace it with a new one, guess what? Yep, you guessed it, you'll spend another $140 to re-install Office2013 on your new computer.

I am a fan of Microsoft Office programs, and I've used them for many years, but this new "non-transferable" policy is an important thing to know when making a buying decision. I hope this review has been helpful.

UPDATE 3-19-2013:
Microsoft has recently changed its user agreement allowing you to transfer the software to a different computer. If your PC dies or you get a new one, you can transfer the software license to the new computer. While this is a step in the right direction, unfortunately this is just a half-measure. The policy still only allows installation on just 1 PC, contrary to previous versions which allowed installation on up to 3 PCs. Those who have more than one PC will still have to make multiple purchases.
99 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
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