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Eight Best Features in Microsoft Office 2013

By:Christine Fettinger

Microsoft recently released a preview of the Office 2013 products. These designs update users favorite programs for cloud and tablet optimization. This version makes it easy to open, save, edit, and view files by a variety of users, locations, and devices. The new feel also adds in the current style of computer usage, including social media plug-ins, applications, and other expansive features. After experimenting with the preview, I cannot wait to see the real version.

Office 2013 8 Best Features:

1. Flash Fill

I have often theorized about Excel’s “cells” and whether they refer to the torturous labor involved in organizing information in the program. I don’t know how many times I can remember staring at an Excel spreadsheet, knowing exactly what I needed to have done in a column but not wanting to type in information all over again. Now, it seems that Microsoft has heard our outcry and sent us a miracle: Flash Fill.



This feature notices the formula or data revision involved in the first row of a column and gives users the option of continuing this down the entire column. In this example, it recognized that I wanted a column with only last names, only dollar amount, and only items in order to continue planning a company picnic. Already I can foresee how much time users will save – not to mention how much stress will be relieved.

2. Resume Reading

Now, Word 2013 automatically saves your spot upon closing the program. When you open it up later either on your phone, tablet, or home computer, the new design remembers your place, so that you don’t waste time on racking your memory, searching the document, or scrolling. So, if your computer’s about to die at a local coffee shop and you don’t have your charger, you can take a break with no worry of finding your spot later. When you log on to any device, you will be right back where you need to be.

3. Alignment Guides

Another feature in both Word and PowerPoint helps out with the design of a page. When you have an idea but can’t quite line up the pieces by eye, it doesn’t look as professional as it could. I always want my files to be formatted perfectly so the important content is what catches the eye. When dragging a photo or word in a document, dashed red lines appear to show different ways to line up the item to best suit the rest of the layout. It is extremely helpful in making presentational material more precise.

4. Inking

When using any of the programs, Microsoft has made it easy to write onto files using either your finger or stylus on a mobile device or the mouse on a computer. Now handwritten text can be added seamlessly to the Office programs as well as erasing or drawing. The stylus can alternately be used as a laser pointer during presentations. When editing on the go or while sitting at a park, this feature has made working on a tablet even more productive.


5. Read Mode

There is a new viewing mode in Word that mimics the feel of an e-reader. You can easily zoom, scroll, and open images within a document. It is an enlarged version that is easier on the eyes. It wraps the text into two columns that have an easier reading feel. You can edit the interface much like a PDF (see feature number seven).


6. Facebook and Apps for Outlook

Taking in mind the tablet and social media connection most computer users enjoy, applications have been added to the Outlook feed. Now, notifications from Facebook, Groupon, and other sites can be read alongside email. Now, you don’t have to log in to check what’s happening. It’s there in front of you, so you can easily return to your work.

7. PDF Compatibility

PDF’s can now be easily edited. The Read Mode can open PDFs where text, images, and other edits can be made. Also, it allowed me to go into normal editing mode and add text! With the full menu bar, I can’t wait to see what else I can do with this PDF in Word.


8. Translation Tools

I have always been disappointed or sadly amused by internet translators. I was hesitant to try the feature on Word, but decided to give it a shot. There were some mistakes in the translation to Hindi, but the translation to Italian was spot on. I am very happy with the usability of Word with other languages and translation. Even with the slight mistakes in Hindi, the benefit from taking a PDF, editing it in Word, and being able to translate it into English could be a very useful tool. This will make language classes as well as international communication much easier. As this is where business is heading, I think it was a smart move on Microsoft’s part.


I did not see any glitches or crashes on my time on Office 2013. Though, I’m sure that with the preview being tested, most of the bugs will be fixed by the time of the actual release of the programs. Overall, I really enjoyed the new Office. It did not feel foreign from the Office 2010 feel. It felt only expanded. There are even more new features involved in each of the programs. Microsoft has done a great job of retaining feel but enhancing usability.