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182 of 189 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not a significant step forward from Office 2010
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...
Published 22 months ago by F

versus
250 of 266 people found the following review helpful
The manufacturer commented on the review below
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Experience
Well, as a 3rd party IT Provider who deploys multiple instances of Office on a monthly basis, I must say, my experience with purchasing, activating and installing Office has been an absolute nightmare. Upon completing my puchase via Amazon.com I went to my software library and was prompted to continue to office.com (this is a new process). After getting to the site, I was...
Published 22 months ago by Twatch


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182 of 188 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not a significant step forward from Office 2010, February 2, 2013
This review is from: Office Home & Business 2013 Key Card 1PC/1User (Software)
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. 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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250 of 266 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Experience, February 22, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well, as a 3rd party IT Provider who deploys multiple instances of Office on a monthly basis, I must say, my experience with purchasing, activating and installing Office has been an absolute nightmare. Upon completing my puchase via Amazon.com I went to my software library and was prompted to continue to office.com (this is a new process). After getting to the site, I was asked to get started by signing into my Microsoft account. After logging in, I receieved multple errors involving a so-called "Redemption Failure" among others. I called Microsoft Support and spent approximately an hour of my time. I was told two stories, one involving a 3 day wait for a solution and the other claiming the server was down and to try again later. I opted not to wait any longer because I have customers who need this service installed and deployed in a time sensative manner. I then called Amazon and asked for refund, they refused and told me I would have to call 18009365700 for a refund. After talking with some Indian for another 20 minutes, who insisted she could resolve the issue, she again said the Microsoft's server was down and they couldnt refund me. IM ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED WITH THIS PRODUCT, WITH THE PEOPLE I HAVE INTERACTED WITH AND THE OVERALL EXPEREINCE I HAVE HAD. I hope they max this process a ltitle easier and more effecient or I will be switching to the next available service.
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Apr 1, 2013 2:04:31 PM PDT
Dear Twatch,

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
 
 

463 of 498 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 0 Stars from a Microsoft OEM system builder, April 9, 2013
As a Microsoft OEM system builder going all the way back...I'm looking at non-Microsoft solutions first from this point on.

As of this date, you cannot customize the installation. This means you cannot install JUST Word and Excel, or JUST Outlook. You can't use (say) an older Outlook version which is compatible with older Microsoft Exchange (Read 2003 or earlier) versions. It is a "one-click" installation which installs skydrive whether you want it or not.

This version will not work with Exchange servers prior to 2008.

NONE of these facts are displayed prominently in the marketing or packaging we received, and I will now incur out-of-pocket expenses in order to "make good" on these two most recent computers (which arrived with 2013 Office on them.)

1. No customized option for install
2. Won't work with Exchange servers prior to 2008.
3. Microsoft silently broke with their 15-20 year standard of customizable install options
4. For me, this is like picturing the Zune software (possibly the worst software ever designed) as an office suite.

This is a very sad day for me. Microsoft USED to build software which both worked well, AND was customizable to the needs of the companies I support. It looks like this is no longer the case.

I hate seeing Microsoft do this to themselves. It's like watching a junkie deteriorate, and there's nothing I can do to stop them.
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323 of 356 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY !, February 17, 2013
I have always been an avid Office fan. I bought 2013 to stay current - all I can say is DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY. I wish I had read the reviews first. I'd give it 0 stars if I could - hate is too kind. If you have Office 2007 or Office 2010 - KEEP IT! There's virtually no benefit to 2013 and you'll hate it.

I don't know who they left in charge of creating this abomination, but they didn't earn their executive salary or bonus. They should be fired!

Everything you know and love about the Office interface is practically gone. You get only 3 color schemes to pick from - none of which are tolerable. Visually it is so stark and minimal it's disturbing. It's hard to know exactly where you are in any of the programs. Outlook has the most changes - making darn near unusable. The look of this was so shocking that after a day I uninstalled it, and went back to my 2010 (of course MS won't refund my money either).

MS touts the cloud options but to most users that's not really going to benefit them. For business users it's going to be hugely disruptive to your productivity.

I'm going to use 2010 until they come out with something that is in the same line and worth me upgrading. Please don't make the same mistake I did.
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Dec 20, 2013 12:57:44 PM PST
We appreciate your feedback, Brian. Input from our customers helps us continually improve the Office experience. We continue to work hard to make Microsoft Office the best productivity suite for our customers.

We have had several updates since your original post:

-Here's what's new on Outlook 2013: http://msft.it/whatsnew_outlook2013.
-Now all Office Web Apps users working in SkyDrive and Office 365 will have real-time co-authoring capabilities and new features: http://msft.it/realtime_coauthoring.
-Office 2013 has many helpful new features. See more here http://msft.it/WhatsNew and http://msft.it/whatsnew_office2013.

If you have additional suggestions or feedback, we would love to hear from you here http://msft.it/officefeedback or on Twitter @Office.

-The Office Team
 
 

70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money!, May 29, 2013
By 
W. Watson (Petersburg, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm an IT manager for a small manufacturing company. I was okay with the 2010, but the 2013 version is useless. First of all, it links every installation to your microsoft passport without asking you if it's okay to do that. Instead of allowing you the option to do that, or asking you --it automatically links your account. That's all well and good, but that link can post facebook updates if your passport is linked to Facebook. It's invasive in every sense of the word, and I now place the software in the category of spyware/adware to be frank. I don't care how big a company they are, I'm not going to install it on any more of our office machines, and I will be uninstalling it from the three that I've already gotten.

It's basically a security nightmare, and I think Microsoft has finally overstepped themselves. In addition to all of this, the price is sneaking up on it, too. I just finished installing it, and as we speak I am uninstalling it. If I could send it back to CDW, I would. This kind of thing makes an IT Guy like me start looking at another Office program or Wishing Corel would Revive their old one. UGH!
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars interface it terrible, NO PRIOR SKILL CARRYOVER, installs as service which is a pain, BUT MANY NEW NON-TRADITIONAL FEATURES, April 26, 2013
It is Office, so until someone comes out with a very good alternative the reality is you will have to get it if you are a business or a student. Unfortunately MS knows this and has let this fact influence their direction in product development. This is clearly a product release that is mostly about benefiting of the maker and not the end user.

Having used MS tools for 30 years I must say this is the worst I have seen for an interface. Maybe it is me but it appears like MS is going out of its way to DUMB DOWN everything it is producing. The crappy interface is in my estimation a great example of this. And maybe this is my biggest gripe. With 30 years of MS interfaces behind me, I am LOST LOST LOST in this interface. There is ALMOST NO SKILL CARRYOVER for prior experience in office tools (e.g. 2010). This means all the methods and techniques and key strokes and mouse click combinations and menu dropdowns that I have learned in the paste three years in using Office 2010 have been made useless. Everything is new. I have months of relearning ahead of me just to be able to produce simple documents.

Consider this example of frustration:

1) I could not find the familiar dropdowns for common tasks I perform (I wanted to automatic format a set of columns in an excel sheet (four or five clicks in 2010)).
2) took me five minutes to find HELP (a little ? in the upper right corner of the screen).
3) once I found help, it kept spewing stuff I was NOT looking for.
4) had to Google the answer (how sad is that) (three clicks to auto-format columns in 2013).
5) 15 minutes later I got columns to auto-format.

Is this what 2013 means?... 15 minutes to re-learn every one of hundreds of sets of mouse clicks, key strokes, dropdown picks, and other tricks I have learned over the years? Yes, this is what it means. Office 2013 has a higher learning curve for anyone who has experience with previous versions. You will have to unlearn what you know in order to start over.

What a s***ty thing for MS to have done to me. I apologize for the profanity but for once it seems appropriate to me. I hope I don't start getting poor reviews at work or God forbid get laid-off because of the drop in productivity that Office 2013 is going to impose on me over the next year. I wonder if MS understands what it means to OLDER WORKERS when they fail to provide skill carryover for us in their products and how lack of skill carryover makes is harder for us to compete with new employees coming in. I got no problem with the next generation brining in fresh ideas and new ways of thinking, but making it harder for experienced professionals to do their job is not the right way to even the playing field for the next generation. Yet by accident or design this is part of the fallout of Office 2013.

About the only thing MS did right here was to add new features that go beyond traditional office tools usage. I have only dabbled with it, but there appear to be lots of "web integration" capabilities in the 2013 version of OFFICE. Unfortunately it also looks like it will take a lot of time to learn the ins-and-outs of these and it is not clear yet how I can exploit them in my daily work. Maybe MS could help us there with some online tutorials on these new features, EMPHASISING NOT THE FEATURE, BUT HOW IT WILL PROVIDE VALUE WHEN USED. In other words, help me understand what situations are good candidates for using these features and thus convince me that it is worth my time to learn how to use them. One practical thing to consider, is the mail size limit my company imposes on mail documents. How am I supposed to email interactive graphs and videos etc. if my email docs are limited to a specific size? If they can't be shared what good are they?

Hail Flavius!
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106 of 118 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does not integrate with Metro, February 4, 2013
By 
I have found nothing I like better about Office 2013 than Office 2010. There are many things I don't like. Office 2013 doesn't integrate with the Windows Metro tiles. I guess this is probably a good thing since the sizing and tiling of Metro apps is pathetic. Still, you get no notifications such as new mail on the tiles. What's the point of having updating tiles if they don't work with your email program. The licensing is awful. The set up program crashed when I was installing and then it would not activate. I had to call Microsoft to activate the program which was a hassle. Since there is no media and no setup file, I'm sure it will be a pain if I ever have to wipe my computer. I strongly recommend that you create a disc image after installing in case a wipe is ever needed. I've already had Outlook and Word crash and it is only the first week. Also all the programs seem to run slower than 2010. This new version tries to sell you a bunch of Microsoft online services and you have to create a Microsoft account to install it. I've been using Office for 20 years and I think the last good version was 10 years ago. Microsoft should have dumped Metro and done a 180 with Office dropping the GUI's that most people hate and heading back to 2003. At the very least they could make these things optional.
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Apr 1, 2013 1:40:44 PM PDT
Dear rdagger,

We are very sorry to hear about your experience with Office in Windows 8. 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 potential causes for the issues with Outlook and Word, and ensure you have a better experience moving forward. Thank you for your feedback.

-The Office Team
 
 

The manufacturer commented on the review belowSee comments
167 of 190 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thievery, February 1, 2013
I logged on to my computer today intending to buy MS Office 2013, but then I read that the license is non-transferable. I refuse to buy this if I have to repurchase the same program every time that I buy a new computer. Microsoft has jumped the shark. I expect that their market share will plummet upon this Office release. I hope that people are reading the fine print before purchasing or else they will be in for a shock when they try to upgrade to a new computer.
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Apr 1, 2013 12:33:58 PM PDT
Dear chimp in a leisure suit,

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
 
 

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95 of 108 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good for businesses. Horrible user installation experience., February 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Possibly good for home use. But if you are a business - STAY AWAY.

Try to make do with an older version of office (2007 or 2010) or switch to an alternative like Google Docs.

This software and its burdens/restrictions are simply not worth the hassle for businesses.
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Apr 1, 2013 12:45:31 PM PDT
Dear James Price,

We are very sorry to hear about your experience with the installation process for your business. 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 and address your needs. Thank you for your feedback.

-The Office Team
 
 

The manufacturer commented on the review belowSee comments
104 of 121 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars For the life of 1 PC, January 31, 2013
Looks like you would have to buy a 2nd copy for your laptop, and if you were to upgrade to a new PC or Laptop during the life of the MS product you would have to repurchase yet another copy. What a deal!
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Apr 1, 2013 12:35:59 PM PDT
Dear John E. Little,

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
 
 

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