Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - COMPUTING - BY NANDAGOPAL RA­JAN

As Win­dows 8 rolls out later this month, we will see a par­a­digm shift in the way com­put­ing is done across the world. In tune with the times and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of de­vices, Win­dows 8 is also made for a multi-screen world. The ef­fort is to give the same user ex­pe­ri­ence what­ever the de­vice you are us­ing or wher­ever across the globe you are. As al­ways, one of the crit­i­cal el­e­ments of Win­dows is its Of­fice soft­ware pack­age, com­plete with the ubiq­ui­tous Word, Ex­cel and Pow­erPoint. Mi­crosoft has al­ready re­leased a pre­view of its New Of­fice and it is hard to miss the wow fac­tor in its el­e­ments. Ob­vi­ously, this is Of­fice for a new world, a world where the desk­top might be the last place you ac­cess work from. A look at what is new and how MS Of­fice works.

An of­fice in the cloud

The New Of­fice sits as much on the cloud as it does on your ma­chine. So the first thing that you do with the Of­fice is to log in to your Mi­crosoft ac­count. This means that ev­ery time you save a file, it is also saved to SkyDrive and synced live to all your de­vices that run Of­fice. This en­sures con­ti­nu­ity in your work even if you have to leave the of­fice and catch up on work from home. This also means the file in the cloud can be shared with oth­ers and they can also edit the doc­u­ment if you want them to.


Word is with­out doubt the most used Of­fice soft­ware, so even the slight­est change is hard to miss. We could not over­look the fact that the cur­sor has stopped blink­ing and just flows smoothly—maybe to res­onate the “Fast and Fluid” de­sign phi­los­o­phy of Win­dows 8. An­other great fea­ture for peo­ple who write a lot is the abil­ity to add apps to the page it­self. You no longer have to open a web­page to check out a work or fact, as Mer­riam Web­ster Dic­tio­nary and En­cy­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­nica apps can be in­serted at the side of the page. Se­lect a word or phrase and just right click to Bing it. You can also add videos to any page now. Plus, go­ing with pop­u­lar de­mand you can now hide the fully loaded rib­bon on the top.


Life be­comes much more sim­pler with Ex­cel, es­pe­cially for those who aren’t all that good with the for­mu­lae needed to make spread­sheets make sense. To be­gin with, the col­umns and rows are now in­tu­itive and know what you are try­ing to do. An im­me­di­ate anal­y­sis of the sheet can be con­jured up with a sim­ple right click. The data can be pre­sented in chart, ta­ble or an­other sta­tis­ti­cal tool with­out your know­ing even a ba­sic for­mula. This we think is go­ing to make many ba­sic Ex­cel users much more pro­duc­tive. Users can in­sert and edit many on­line el­e­ments to make their spread­sheets eas­ier to un­der­stand.


If you can add video files to Word, we need not even dis­cuss the kind of value ad­di­tion you can now do to a Pow­erPoint pre­sen­ta­tion. But what re­ally caught our at­ten­tion was the cock­pit view that lets you take full con­trol of a pre­sen­ta­tion as you are giv­ing one. With this fea­ture you know where you are in a pre­sen­ta­tion and what is go­ing to come next. Then you can also an­no­tate a slide to ex­plain the con­tents bet­ter as you are speak­ing. There is also the op­tion of zoom­ing in on a par­tic­u­lar part of a slide. This is a full dash­board for Pow­erPoint.


Open the new Out­look and it looks a lot like the Mail app in Win­dows 8 and that is good, neat and clean. Apart from the bet­ter de­sign, you have more util­ity with Out­look. Sim­ple fea­tures like the abil­ity to re­ply to mail from the in­box seems to have been in­spired by the way peo­ple work these days. Even fea­tures like cal­en­dar can now be ac­cessed with­out ac­tu­ally open­ing that tab.


When OneNote was first an­nounced a few years ago it was a real won­der app. But now al­most ev­ery­one has some­thing sim­i­lar. So OneNote has bet­tered it­self with what we thought was an in­te­gra­tion of the other sides of Of­fice. You can open and edit an Ex­cel or Word file within a note if needed. The screen clip­per now ap­pears as a tab be­low the screen and be­comes more handy, while you also have the op­tion of print­ing an Of­fice file to OneNote.


With the new Of­fice, Mi­crosoft is try­ing to make the work­place more so­cial. So Lync, one of the com­pany’s re­cent ac­qui­si­tions, tries to change the way peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate in the of­fice. This en­ter­prise soft­ware lets you col­lab­o­rate with col­leagues us­ing in­stant mes­sag­ing, video chat and VOIP. Of­fice is also in­te­grated to Lync with drag and drop ease so that up to a thou­sand peo­ple can work on one file at time if needed. That is also the num­ber of peo­ple who can take part in a video con­fer­ence. No, there are no fea­ture to cut through the chaos.

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