Microsoft Office 15 UI and touch-friendly features detailed

By on March 7, 2012, 10:11 AM

Microsoft disclosed the existence of the Office 15 technical preview in January, and a subsequent leak in February gave us a first glimpse a its fresh Metro look. But up until now there has been little details available about the forthcoming release. Now, The Verge is spilling the beans on a handful of new features and improvements in each of the core applications for Microsoft Office 15.

First up is a 'Read Mode' for Word that automatically reformats text into columns and removes distractions from the user interface, which should significantly improve the reading experience for users, especially on tablets. The feature will tie in well with a Resume Reading function that automatically bookmarks the last position in a document, letting users pick up where they left and continue reading at a later time.

Microsoft is also adding two new features that seem tailored especially for touch devices: Object Zoom, which allows users to zoom in and out on pictures and objects with a double click or tap, and Expand and Collapse, which gives you a one-click option to hide or reveal paragraphs under their headings.

Other enhancements for Microsoft's word processing program include smoother scrolling, video embeds, updates to the Dictionary and Translation feature, and better collaboration and sharing features.

Excel received a new Quick Analysis Lens feature lets users quickly access ways to visually represent data. Microsoft also added some formatting controls to rapidly reformat and rearrange data, as well as chart animations so that they pop a little bit more in your PowerPoint presentations.

Speaking of PowerPoint, The Verge says it will be easier to drop Excel charts into presentations without disrupting the existing formatting of a presentation. Microsoft will switch to a default 16:9 aspect ratio for PowerPoint presentations and is throwing in touch controls to make it easier to move through slides.

Lastly, Outlook and OneNote are getting a few updates as well. The first will receive in-line replies, better multiple email account support, and a weather checking tools user can consult before scheduling meetings. OneNote is receiving a Metro update with auto-updating file views, tables support, and touch support.

All in all, Office 15 will bring a significant revamp to the productivity suite's look and feel that's better suited for tablets and other touch-enabled devices, while adding some new features to the mix in the process. Although the interface hasn't received such a drastic overhaul as to confuse current desktop users, Microsoft is clearly trying to clean things up using a sort of merge between metro and ribbon.




User Comments: 9

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psycros psycros said:

So Microsoft thinks people will want to use a productivity package on devices that are inherently anti-productivity. But even worse, their going to force that touch interface onto the PC, insuring that you're slowed down and frustrated on your desktop as well! At this rate Wordperfect might make a comeback.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

psycros said:

So Microsoft thinks people will want to use a productivity package on devices that are inherently anti-productivity. But even worse, their going to force that touch interface onto the PC, insuring that you're slowed down and frustrated on your desktop as well! At this rate Wordperfect might make a comeback.

The Office 15 you are seeing is the Windows on ARM version. The regular desktop version's UI can be adjusted to show the ribbon, if you like. A lot of people dislike the ribbon, so this change is rather welcoming.

And what you said about touch-devices being inherently "anti-productivity," who's to say Windows 8 won't change that? If this version of Office is as efficient on WOA as Microsoft said, then, more than ever, buying a tablet will now be justifiable for those who seek productivity on the go.

Mudvayne819 said:

I hate the office suite, i preffer openoffice to any office suite, for the simple reasons like...

If you upgrade a outlook 2003 to 2007, it works perfectly.

If you upgrade a outlook 2007 to 2010, it works perfectly.

But if you reinstall a outlook 2010 with a 2010, everything is screwed, you loose your contacts and many other things. Yet you go on office help center, and do the step by step way to save your contacts, and it doesnt work. Any programs that can do this simple job, you have to buy that program.

This is plain bullshit and its a major issue where I work. every time i need to reinstall a computer, the user loose his contact and many other minor things. It consume lots of time by our IT staff, just for.... OUTLOOK.

Also moving from office PC to Mac is another huge problem, the pst file on windows doesnt work on mac, you need to convert them to ost if i remember correctly and then you loose many settings and info like contacts etc.

While I at my desk use mozilla thunderbird, i can save any settings, emails, contact etc i have on one single file and i can import it where i want without any problems. AND thunderbird is FREE LOL. So why should we pay 100 to 300$ for a office suite that isnt even compatible with itself.

So right now i started a project at my job to switch all our software to open free software to get rid of all these minor problems that consume major time to fix them.

Also the 2010 office UI fail horribly. stuff like you need to go in File / Import, to Export stuff, whats this seriously? not enough budget to make another menu entry for export? and we are talking about the company that has the biggest monopoly in the PC industrie... seriously thats plain BS.

So that is why i dont use the office suite and I encourage anyone doing the same

OpenOffice, LibreOffice, NeoOffice are all free alternative that work way better then MS office and its FREE.

And for mail software mozilla thunderbird is the best so far.

my 5 cents.

Mudvayne819 said:

TL; DR: MS Office sucks, it isnt compatible with itself, use free open source project as an alternative.

Guest said:

I really hope this metro oversimplified garbage is just a passing fad. Win 8 is a disaster in terms of mouse/keyboard usability, and I'm a huge Windows fan.

Butch said:

mudvayne819 said:

I hate the office suite, i preffer openoffice to any office suite, for the simple reasons like...

If you upgrade a outlook 2003 to 2007, it works perfectly.

If you upgrade a outlook 2007 to 2010, it works perfectly.

But if you reinstall a outlook 2010 with a 2010, everything is screwed, you loose your contacts and many other things. Yet you go on office help center, and do the step by step way to save your contacts, and it doesnt work. Any programs that can do this simple job, you have to buy that program.

This is plain bullshit and its a major issue where I work. every time i need to reinstall a computer, the user loose his contact and many other minor things. It consume lots of time by our IT staff, just for.... OUTLOOK.

Also moving from office PC to Mac is another huge problem, the pst file on windows doesnt work on mac, you need to convert them to ost if i remember correctly and then you loose many settings and info like contacts etc.

While I at my desk use mozilla thunderbird, i can save any settings, emails, contact etc i have on one single file and i can import it where i want without any problems. AND thunderbird is FREE LOL. So why should we pay 100 to 300$ for a office suite that isnt even compatible with itself.

So right now i started a project at my job to switch all our software to open free software to get rid of all these minor problems that consume major time to fix them.

Also the 2010 office UI fail horribly. stuff like you need to go in File / Import, to Export stuff, whats this seriously? not enough budget to make another menu entry for export? and we are talking about the company that has the biggest monopoly in the PC industrie... seriously thats plain BS.

So that is why i dont use the office suite and I encourage anyone doing the same

OpenOffice, LibreOffice, NeoOffice are all free alternative that work way better then MS office and its FREE.

And for mail software mozilla thunderbird is the best so far.

my 5 cents.

OpenOffice, LiberOffce etc are fine an dandy unless you work for a REAL corporation with hundreds of extremely complex spreadsheets all created in Excel with scripting and complex macros. When I tried opening one of my forcasting spreadsheets on LibreOffice I could almost hear the gears grinding to a halt just before it crashes. That's not to say that OpenOffice/LiberOffice couldn't accomplish that same thing, but I'm not re-writing those spreadsheets from scratch. Bottom line is that in the real business world, you simply cannot function without MS-Office, it just that simple.

Guest said:

And just the way Bill Gates & Group planned it. No competition allowed.

Guest said:

"TL; DR: MS Office sucks, it isnt compatible with itself, use free open source project as an alternative. "

Sorry, but I have to disagree. LibreOffice and OpenOffice just don't work for me. They simply don't have the features I need (namely a graphics system that isn't stuck in the 20th century.)

And I don't use Outlook by the way.

Guest said:

How do you lose your peoples contacts because you have to "reinstall" a computer?

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