Microsoft Office 15 will open Office experience to tablets, smartphones: report

Office 15, the forthcoming software suite from Microsoft, incorporates the Metro interface from Windows 8. 

Reuters
A Microsoft store in California.

Late last month, Microsoft launched a consumer preview of Windows 8, the latest iteration of its popular operating system, and the first to be designed as a cross-platform OS – software for use, in other words, on traditional desktops, laptops, and on tablets. Reviews have been mostly kind. Now Microsoft is releasing a very limited preview of its new Office suite, and according to one tester, the entire Office experience is about to be revolutionized. 

The tester in question is Paul Thurrott, who runs Supersite For Windows, a popular tech site. Thurrott spent an undisclosed amount of time with the new Office software – officially titled Office 15 – and he says the products sits "visually, between the new Metro style and the traditional desktop." Metro, of course, is the tiled interface introduced with Windows 8. Thurrott's entire report is here; it's well worth reading in full. 

But here's the bottom line: The new Office will be streamlined and in many cases simplified, with plenty of clean lines and Metro-style widgets. Of particular interest to casual users will probably be the new Word set-up, which includes "touch mode" – the ability to manipulate text by on tablet computers and smartphones. No longer will Word be confined to your laptop or desktop. So is that a good thing? 

Maybe not, writes Preston Gralla of Computerworld. 

"The vast majority of people will be using Office on traditional computers, not tablets, for many years to come and possibly always," Gralla argues. "Making Office more Metro-like is unlikely to make people more productive on traditional computers. As I've written before, I think Microsoft is making a mistake by designing Windows 8 for tablets rather than for PCs. I hope the company doesn't make the same mistake with Office."

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut. And don’t forget to sign up for the weekly BizTech newsletter.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.