Reviews Microsoft Office 2013
RCT SCORE 6.9 / 10

RealClear Summary

Microsoft's flagship suite of productivity software has been given an overhaul for 2013. Among the changes are more touch-centric controls for users taking advantage of Windows 8's touch features as well as improved integration with SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service.

Perhaps the biggest change to Office is Office 365 -- it's not new software, but a new pricing model. Rather than pay a one-off fee of $139 for your single copy of Office (or more, depending on which option you want), Office 365 costs $199 a year for up to five machines. This annual fee gives you, Microsoft promises, a steady stream of upgrades that the standalone product won't receive -- especially in later years. In other words, an Office 365 subscription is a ticket to a fully up-to-date version of Microsoft Office, indefinitely.

The real question is whether it's worth it to pay for productivity software (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) in an era of free, open-source alternatives. On this, reviewers were on the fence. If your work or personal life requires serious text editing, PowerPoint creation or spreadsheet creation, then the answer appears to be yes, you need the Microsoft Office. Casual letter writers, however, can get almost all of the functionality in free cloud software like Google Docs. 

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Built at Web Speed
Office 365 feels grown up and ready for the fast pace of the Web. It's custom-made for people who use many devices, including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Wall Street
Office in the Cloud
Office 2013 looks better than Office 2010 and includes new convenience features, with a minimal learning curve for existing users.
Do You Want a Subscription?
Office itself is a polished product, but your decision on whether to get 2013 or 365 should mainly come down to how many computers you own.
You Can Skip It
Microsoft's Office Suite is really only suited for people who have serious productivity needs. Freebies like Google Docs are good enough for the rest of us.
Big Improvement But Still Needs Polish
The reason you should upgrade and get the new version isn't the cloud integration or the cool new features. It's the subscription model.
A Right Mix of Features, Ease of Use
Mostly Office 2013 gets the right balance between streamlining and oversimplifying; there are some places where we miss specific power user options, though.
Nothing Here Worth Paying For
Ultimately, the late adopters won't see anything that makes them want to add an annual payment to Microsoft to their budget.
Makes Sense to Subscribe
Given that you also get additional SkyDrive storage and 60 free minutes of Skype, it's a no-brainer. If you only use Office on one or two computers, though, it's not clear whether...
Well Worth It
Familiar tools coupled with new features and a simplified and redesigned interface make Office 2013 well worth the paid upgrade.
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