Thurrott previews Microsoft Office 15, lots of screenshots

By on March 16, 2012, 6:30 PM

Paul Thurrott has managed to get his hands on a copy of the Microsoft Office 15 Technical Preview. He's posted a plethora of screenshots and more details about what we can expect on his website. He outlines his experiences from installation to usage but stops short of a full review since Office 15 isn't even in beta yet.

Although only a handful of select partners have received the Office 15 TP -- and under a strict NDA, I might add -- information has inevitably begun leaking like broken faucet about the upcoming office suite. Here are some of the things we already found out last week.

Thurrott installed the Office 15 TP onto a multi-touch tablet running Windows 8 to get the full experience. He had some installation issues while performing a clean install, but successfully upgraded from Office 2010 with no problems.

The Office 15 TP install left a curiously large number of irrelevant live tiles on the Metro home screen, which is one of probably many quirks to be found in the TP.

My first stop, as always, was Microsoft Word. This application shows a decidedly friendlier face than does its predecessor, in a full screen experience that indeed mimics some Metro-style design. There's a split view on first load that provides a list of recent documents and then a larger Get Started area with various document templates. If you're familiar with Office for the Mac, its similar, but nicer looking.

Source: winsupersite.com

The Office 15 TP contains all the usual suspects you'd expect to find in a Professional or Enterprise edition of Microsoft Office, but it looks like the upcoming version will also include "Lync" and "My Site Documents". These two items are expected to usurp Sharepoint as the preferred method for inter-office communication and collaboration. There appears to also be integrated Skydrive support, which could prove to be useful for sharing documents amongst home users.

Overall, the UI is clean and minimal. The infamous ribbon is minimized by default and the Metro interface is present, however some refinements are still left to be made. 

There appears to be a full screen mode, presumably useful for tablets. Also, there is now a "touch mode" toggle which further tailors the experience for tablet users -- a mode which Thurrott claims worked pretty well on his tablet.




User Comments: 14

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Guest said:

Looks like Microsoft is implementing every stupid idea in their products, Metro being the most stupid idea they could came off, the one that came with the Metro style idea should have been fired instantly.

No Start button another stupid idea another one that should have been fired at Microsoft.

ikesmasher said:

why do they need to change their UI in everything..

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Meanwhile in the corporate world (which I'm guessing is the main target market for MS Office) everyone still uses Office 2003.

Also what's with the ridiculous number of different programs? I'm sure many of them can be merged, e.g. Excel/Access, Word/PowerPoint/Publisher

Guest said:

my computer crashed (windows xp) so i had to reformat and i found out today that all updates are going to end by july 2012 service pack wise.. 2012 is the official end to the microsoft computer world, it was def seen coming but I'm on the verge of giving up with this company. they just want to be like everyone else instead of being the actual "innovating" company they once were.

like how someone else here said... why didnt they fire the "take away-start menu" employee - that guy/team does not know anything about windows if that was an idea. yea lets go back to the one icon "task manager" like 3.1 had on its desktop... I'm 23 yo btw, i used to love microsoft...

Guest said:

Office 15, they aren't shy with the numbers.

Leeky Leeky said:

I like the icons, not so sure about the whole Metro-like UI.

Guest said:

Stop crying about change. You do not need to buy it if you do not like it, there are alternatives or just keep with the current version of word.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

slh28 said:

Meanwhile in the corporate world (which I'm guessing is the main target market for MS Office) everyone still uses Office 2003.

Also what's with the ridiculous number of different programs? I'm sure many of them can be merged, e.g. Excel/Access, Word/PowerPoint/Publisher

So you want all the combined functions of Word, Powerpoint and Publisher in one program? What about the users who just use Word and would have to struggle through almost 3 times as many menu options to find the feature they want to use?

And how many users of Excel are there and how many of those need to struggle through the many options of Access to find what they need?

The University I work at uses Office 2010 currently, Office 2007 before and we will move onto the next version at the start of the first academic year after its released (and after testing etc). Thats a few thousand PCs right there. Plus in the corporate world any tablet users who go for Windows 8 will be needing a version of Office thats tablet friendly and the people they work with will want to be able to view the documents those users create correctly so they will need an up to date version of Office for that.

Also consider Office 365 with Exchange and Office applications on the cloud etc. There are a lot of options available to corporations and they won't all be sticking with Office 2003.

Still, even as a Windows Phone 7 user, there isn't any need for a third of the screen to be taken up by that blue Metro dialogue box when it could be used to display useful information instead. But new features for Office that integrate with the cloud services and tablets are welcome in my opinion.

Guest said:

As a Windows Phone 7.5 user for five months now, I don't believe I and fellow users will have any problem with this newer interface for Windows. We are already using a good bit of it.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

slh28 said:

Meanwhile in the corporate world (which I'm guessing is the main target market for MS Office) everyone still uses Office 2003.

Also what's with the ridiculous number of different programs? I'm sure many of them can be merged, e.g. Excel/Access, Word/PowerPoint/Publisher

Businesses are edging towards Win 7 Enterprise :o

Guest said:

Microsoft's motto is: If it ain't broke... break it.

psycros psycros said:

yukka said:

The University I work at uses Office 2010 currently, Office 2007 before and we will move onto the next version at the start of the first academic year after its released (and after testing etc). Thats a few thousand PCs right there. Plus in the corporate world any tablet users who go for Windows 8 will be needing a version of Office thats tablet friendly and the people they work with will want to be able to view the documents those users create correctly so they will need an up to date version of Office for that.

Also consider Office 365 with Exchange and Office applications on the cloud etc. There are a lot of options available to corporations and they won't all be sticking with Office 2003.

Still, even as a Windows Phone 7 user, there isn't any need for a third of the screen to be taken up by that blue Metro dialogue box when it could be used to display useful information instead. But new features for Office that integrate with the cloud services and tablets are welcome in my opinion.

Right here we see the fundamental difference between academia and the real world. Your school is spending money on a product that brings no added value to the workplace and requires a huge amount of retraining. Tablet users in the corporate world? As if public sector companies are interested in slowing down productivity and wasting money. All of the cloud options for Office work fine with 2007/2010 so there's no need for some half-baked touchscreen (LOL!!) version. At least you admit that Metro is a terrible UI with that WP7 comment..well, as much as any apologist ever would.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

psycros said:

Right here we see the fundamental difference between academia and the real world. Your school is spending money on a product that brings no added value to the workplace and requires a huge amount of retraining. Tablet users in the corporate world? As if public sector companies are interested in slowing down productivity and wasting money. All of the cloud options for Office work fine with 2007/2010 so there's no need for some half-baked touchscreen (LOL!!) version. At least you admit that Metro is a terrible UI with that WP7 comment..well, as much as any apologist ever would.

I admitted Metro is a terrible UI? Don't think so mate, that particular screen didn't look quite right is all. And do you agree the cloud options are a valid reason to upgrade? If a business is currently using 2003 why wouldn't you upgrade straight to Office 15. Do your retraining on the newest version available surely? Yes businesses already on 2007/2010 might stick with that but sticking with 2003? There are plenty of reasons to have stopped using that already.

Also I could have sworn there are a few iPad users in the corporate world - who is to say they won't use Windows 8 instead when its available. Those people will like a version of Office that works with the touchscreen. I don't see how you can write it off entirely.

Arris Arris said:

Installed Windows 8 Consumer preview and had a play. Really don't like the UI, but then again I initially disliked Windows 7 changes. Forcing a big clunky touch interface on desktop users isn't going to be a move. Most desktop(productivity) users have multiple applications open competing for desktop space, having half the screen covered with huge options that you might not be looking for isn't really an optimization in my opinion. Hiding away options in context menus is the best way, I've tried to think of UI improvements for the current generation of application menus myself, and this would have never been something I would have given a second thought to.

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