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About Microsoft Office 2013 for Windows

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Standard system requirements

Computer and processor 1 gigahertz (Ghz) or faster x86- or x64-bit processor with SSE2 instruction set
Memory (RAM) 1 GB RAM (32 bit); 2 GB RAM (64 bit)
Hard Disk 3 GB available
Display Graphics hardware acceleration requires a DirectX10 graphics card and 1024 x 576 resolution
Operating system Windows 8 or 7; Server 2012 or 2008 R2
Browser Internet Explorer 8 or later; Firefox 10.x or later; Safari 5; Chrome 17.x
.NET version 3.5, 4.0, or 4.5
Multi-touch A touch-enabled device is required for any multi-touch functionality, but all features and functionality are available by using a keyboard, mouse, or other standard or accessible input device. New touch features are optimized for use with Windows 8.
Additional requirements and considerations Some functionality may vary, based on system configuration. Some features may require additional or advanced hardware or server connectivity.

Office 2013 at IU

Office Professional Plus 2013 is available to students, faculty, and staff (previous version not required):

Visio 2013 and Project 2013 are currently available through separate purchase from Software House International (SHI).

Choosing the 32-bit or 64-bit version

To run the 64-bit version, you need 64-bit-capable hardware and a 64-bit version of Windows 8 or 7.

Important: Microsoft recommends running the 32-bit version of Office 2013; see 64-bit editions of Office 2013. Unless you need some of the noted benefits of using the 64-bit version, UITS also recommends that you install the 32-bit version.

If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements or the Microsoft recommendations above, or are concerned about compatibility issues with other programs or plug-ins, UITS highly recommends you install the 32-bit version.

If you wish to install the 64-bit version, you must uninstall all previous versions of Office and related tools. You will need to reinstall the 64-bit versions of these tools, if possible. Some Office 2010 products can be reinstalled after Office 2013 64-bit installation is complete.

Using Office 2013

  • Conversation View: By default, Outlook 2013 enables Conversation View for all mail folders. You can disable this on a per-folder basis or for all folders at once.

  • Modern interface: In keeping with the "Modern" (previously called "Metro") interface in Windows 8, Office 2013 has a new look. Color shading and shadows are gone; the look is flat and stark, mimicking the tiles on the Windows 8 start screen.

  • Start screens: Each app supports a new color-coded start screen: blue for Word, green for Excel, orange for PowerPoint, and green for Publisher. As with other applications' start screens, Word's displays a list of recent documents. Though creating a blank document is the default option, you can alternatively select a template, search online for templates, or click Open Other Documents to search for a document on disk or in a SkyDrive folder. If you are logged into SkyDrive, the top right of the screen shows details of that account.

  • Account login: The Backstage view in Office 2013 applications (accessed via the File tab) includes a new Account tab (Office Account in Outlook) where you can log into your SkyDrive account or switch accounts. You can also see a list of connected services, such as Twitter and Facebook, and add services, such as LinkedIn and SkyDrive. The Office Updates area gives you information about the status of any available updates. Click Update Options to disable or enable updates and to view a history of Office 2013 updates.

  • SkyDrive integration: Office 2013 is designed to integrate with the cloud, in particular with SkyDrive and SharePoint. If you use SkyDrive, the account details will appear in the top left corner of all application screens. Click your account details to switch accounts and to manage them. Office 2013 applications default to saving to SkyDrive or SharePoint, but you can save to your local disk if you wish.

  • Syncing across devices: When you save your Office documents online, they are available to you (and others) from any device at any time, via Office 2013 on a PC or tablet, or via the WebApps. Microsoft has upgraded the WebApps for Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint with the new Office look and application color coding. In addition, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will save the last location where you were working before you saved, down to the letter, cell, or image, even if you open the file on a different device than you last used. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint keep track of where you were working last, and display this when you re-open the file.

  • Touchscreen use: Some new Office 2013 features are designed to make working with a touchscreen easier. Word's Read Mode opens a document in reading view, allowing you to scroll through the document by swiping horizontally with your finger. On a desktop with a touchscreen monitor, you can change this behavior back to the more traditional page navigation mode if you wish. Click the Touch Mode button on the Quick Access Toolbar (to the right of the program logo of each application), and the Ribbon toolbar will spread its icons further apart for easier access to fingers. You can use gestures such as tap, pinch, stretch, slide, and swipe for various features.

  • PDF editing: In the past, you could save a Word document as a PDF file, but couldn't edit PDF files in Word without first converting them to Doc or DocX format. The new Word 2013 can open PDF files, edit them there, and then save them as either DocX files or PDFs. When opened in Word, the file retains the structure of the PDF file, even for elements (e.g., tables).

  • Formatting task panes in PowerPoint: Formatting images, shapes, and other objects in PowerPoint is more intuitive. Right-click an image and choose Format Picture to open a task pane displaying the formatting options available for that object. Click another object, and the options in the task pane will change to show only the options available for that object. You can leave the pane open as you work, so that it is visible without cluttering your workspace.

  • Easier charting: For those confused by the plethora of charting options in previous versions of Excel, the new Recommended Charts feature is useful. Select the data to chart and click Insert and then Recommended Chart to see options such as line, bar, and pie charts that the program recommends for your data. Click each chart to preview what your data will look like in that form. After you select and create a chart, small icons will appear outside its top right corner when you select it, giving you access to work with chart elements, styles, and colors, and with the chart data itself.

  • More graphics options: In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, and Outlook, new icons on the Ribbon toolbar's Insert tab let you insert pictures from your local PC or from various online sources; the online options include inserting images within the online Office Clipart collection or from your own SkyDrive or Flickr account. (To access your Flickr account, you first need to authorize Office to connect to it.)

    More information of interest to IT professionals is available at What's new for IT professionals in Office 2013.

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Last modified on April 08, 2014.

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