The New Microsoft Office is now available. The traditional one-time license-based version is branded “Office 2013” while the new subscription-based version is called “Office 365”.

Like most people, I am rather skeptical about upgrading my current Office Suite. I mean, what’s there to improve on for a document processor? After going hands-on with the new Office, here are some features that might interest you to upgrade.

Integrated with SkyDrive
You can easily open your documents stored in SkyDrive. There are benefits for storing online, but one critical benefit that I want to highlight is that Skydrive stores your save history. So, you could have saved your document numerous times, but it is possible for you to retrieve an old version of a saved file, which you may choose to either restore or to download as a separate copy.

It is also possible to open your Office documents using web versions of Office, very useful when you need to work on your Office documents on a device without licensed copies of Office.

Optimised for Touch
The menu and icons are bigger and the navigation works better on touch devices. So if you find yourself frustrated with using touch on your old Office apps, this one’s for you.

Apps for Office
You can install apps – similar to add-ons – to use on your Word, Excel, Outlook. On Word, there are abbreviation list app, label templates. On Excel, you can install calendar date picker, Mindmapper, graph maker. On Outlook, you can integrate your contacts with LinkedIn.

You can now convert PDF documents to an editable format on Word. Previously, one would have to copy text from PDF and paste on Word and risk losing the formatting. Not anymore.

Word also has a read-friendly view, whereby documents are presented page by page. Increase the display font size and the pages will auto-reflow, much like an e-book.

Flash Fill is a new intelligence in Excel that understands your data entry pattern and auto-fills the new cell and the rest of the column. This is really a time-saver: previously you would have to conjure up formula to merge or concatenate values from other columns.

Quick Analysis is another note-worthy feature that helps you generate chart or table faster than earlier versions.

The new Excel also runs files on separate windows. Regular users would truly appreciate this convenience of working multiple Excel workbooks at once, on separate monitors.

Now it is easier to use online images. Powerpoint even warns you that the online image you use might be subject to copyright.

The Presenter mode is also enhanced. You can use the on-screen pointer which will be reflected on the presentation screen, so you no longer require a laser pointer. You can also zoom-in on the slides to draw attention to your audience without leaving the presenter mode.

One important feature that Microsoft provided is the ability to reply email within the window, whereas previous versions will open up a new window. This technically reduces RAM usage and improves performance.

Drafts are also auto-saved at an instant, so you no longer have to fret about lost drafts because you closed the draft message without saving.

There are also mouseover pop-ups that shows you real content that you can interact. For instance, when you mouseover the calendar, you will see the schedules which you can pick for editing.

Improved Online Sharing 
One final feature that is worth highlighting is the improved document sharing features. You can allow documents to be shareable, and when multiple users open the same document, the document will intelligently lock the paragraph that you are editing while allowing other sections to be editable.

You can also do online presentation on your documents by sharing a URL that Office generates so that users can view your presentation complete with screen movements.

Need It? Get It
No doubt, there are new features and improvements introduced on the Office 2013 and Office 365, most of them focused on online collaborations and cloud integration. Visit the link here to read all about the new features and if any of them interests you, then you should upgrade and improve your productivity.

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