Dave Kinsey 2013-02-01 02:55:37
Should I upgrade to Windows 8 and Office 2013? This article was composed on my Microsoft Surface (Windows 8) tablet at 50,000 feet while on my way from Phoenix to Nashville to visit family. With the included Word 2013, my Surface is an ideal tool for this task. It easily fits on my tray. The keyboard is great and the touchscreen complements it well. On an iPad, I could use Pages (or similar application) and one of a myriad of keyboard/cases to accomplish the same task. I personally like the Logitech magnetic-attaching iPad keyboard/case. I’m just more at home using Word 2013. Windows 8 – Microsoft’s response to iPad & Android Tablets Apple and Google both created specially-designed software to power their phones and tablets (iOS for Apple and Android for Google). Microsoft instead performed substantial user-interface gymnastics on their core operating system enabling Windows 8 to efficiently run on both tablets and PCs. So Microsoft tablets, such as the Surface, are essentially very small PCs, while iPads & Android tablets are more or less huge smartphones. Should your tablet be running Windows 8? The Surface is a good tablet, but I have a hard time specifically recommending it over iPad or Android for everybody. The built-in Office 2013 is very useful and there are some nice features, but there are a great number of excellent apps for iPad and Android which also work well as a business tools. Virtually all modern tablets can easily connect into the office to either control your PC or connect to a Terminal Server. There are a number of pros and cons to each; it really depends on what you’re looking for. For serious work, I’m still working on my laptop or a PC. Tablets and phones are useful extremely portable tools, but they are still no substitute for a real PC. Windows 8 on the desktop? The dramatic interface changes of Windows 8 are likely to slow adoption by businesses. It was clear that Windows 7 was the right platform for business computing even before it was released. At no point, however, did I recommend Windows Vista for businesses. It’s still too early to tell, but it’s possible that Windows 8 may be another operating system that businesses should predominantly skip over. The typical software incompatibilities and issues with new operating systems do not seem particularly large with Windows 8 (much less than from XP to Vista), but there are still some issues which will be worked out over time. Sticking with Windows 7 for your business PCs makes the most sense right now. Office 2013 At the time we went to press, Office 2013 hadn’t yet been officially released and the version initially bundled with Surface is a pre-release version. Office 2013 has been streamlined to be more tablet-friendly, but should run well on regular PCs as well. There are quite a few new features included with Office 2013 which make a compelling case for deploying it on PCs as well as tablets. Some feature highlights include: 1. Integration with SkyDrive and Share point - This allows you to perform real-time sharing and collaboration of your documents with others you have given permission. 2. Reply Comment - This feature is akin to Instant Messaging inside of Microsoft Word. This can come in handy when collaborating over Sky Drive to ask someone to review or edit your document. 3. PDF Reflow – Allows you to open up a PDF document and convert it to Word. Microsoft isn’t intending this to be a real replacement for the paid versions of Adobe Acrobat, but it does a serviceable job and is substantially better than trying to highlight a PDF and perform a copy/paste. 4. Object Zoom – As part of the Windows 8 streamlined look, a document feels a little more like a web page. With a tap of the screen or click of the mouse, inserted objects will expand for better visibility and another tap/click minimizes back to original size. 5. Recommended Pivot Table and Charts for Excel – This is a quick and easy way to be presented with various ways you could use pivot tables and charts to summarize the data in a spreadsheet. Chart formatting control has also been enhanced, making it easier to change the various items. Office 2013 supports both Windows 7 and Windows 8, but not Vista or XP. I currently expect to see Office 2013 on Windows 7 in business environments before seeing it on Windows 8. However, it makes sense to take a reasonably cautious approach with respect to Office 2013 to ensure that your applications correctly integrate with Office 2013 or Windows 8. Proper validation, testing, and training are always the key to successful upgrades. Dave Kinsey is the owner and president of Total Networks. Total Networks is the technology partner to many law firms throughout Arizona. Services include document management, backup and disaster recovery, business communications, and general IT support (for firms with or without in-house technical staff).
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