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News 07-17-12 01:50 AM

First look: Word 2013
 
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-conten...-2-640x438.jpg Word 2013 Preview, unveiled today, is part of the core set of Office that will release on Windows RT devices.


Microsoft Word is the most heavily used word processor in the world. Like the Excel spreadsheet, Word is as much a platform as an application. It features an ever-expanding range of bewildering features few people outside a select vertical audience will ever use.

But while its ubiquity has made Word's file formats the de facto standard for word processing documents, the bloat (and cost) of Word have made it increasingly unattractive to consumers, college students, and even small businesses. Google's Google Docs cloud application, open source products like LibreOffice, and mobile apps with word processing capability have all been nibbling away at Word's'and Office's'dominance. Despite all of its depth, Word has suffered because of its declining ease of use. And while Microsoft's Web-based version of Word has allowed for collaborative online document editing, the desktop client has only had the most tenuous connection to the cloud.

Word 2013 goes a long way toward fixing these things. It adopts some of the same design ethic as Windows 8's Metro, greatly cleaning up the interface while still working as a Windows 7 (and Windows 8 "desktop") application. It adds some interface features that work equally well with mouse and touch, such as placing embedded objects within a document. It also introduces a whole new set of collaboration features, while improving the ones that were already present in Word 2011.

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