Although initally apprehensive about adopting yet another new version of MS Office for CAT classes, and holding back for as long as I could, I decided to try out the new MS Office version 2013.
My transition from 2007 to 2010 was a relatively smooth one and the new features and ease of use was a welcoming feature. My first experience of 2013 was not so pleasant! The interface was different, it was blocky and not so subtle in design features. It kept crashing and freezing my poor computer. I immediately took it off and waited a few months before trying again. At the end of 2013, I reckoned it was time to try again.
I installed 2013 again and took some time to familiarise myself with the new interface and features. After a while, I began to get used to it. I realised my students would have a few challenges to overcome but it would not take long before they’d be used to the newer way of working with 2013.
Here are a few things I noticed right away that I knew would ‘challenge’ my CAT students who knew 2010 quite well by this stage:
- The file pane : slightly vamped up interface for the file properties
- File location dialog box : Very different as folders are listed above you and can then browse to a location, it shows the recent locations which is quite useful.
- Saving As vs Exporting : Exporting takes priority now for file types such as XPS or PDF
- Share vs Save and Send : Sending as an attachment in an email or saving in a different format is available here, also shows the older versions of Word to save as
- The ribbon seems to be slicker and also allows for a better selection of styles with text which makes a nice change
Major visual changes and feature enhancements make 2013 a slight learning curve to embrace but you will notice that some aspects have become easier. Word-wrapping around objects is easier, changing the properties of objects happens in a sidebar instead of a dialog box and more. It begins to make working a little bit faster, easier and more efficient the more one uses it.
For a comparison between the versions of Office, visit this link on the Microsoft site.
I say, if you have the licences and your desktops have at least 2GB ram, go for it. It might take some getting used to but you do get used to it and you begin to enjoy it too. There are differences but none that are so great that one might feel lost. Indeed, we should always cultivate a behaviour of exploration in ourselves and our students and Office 2013 will encourage that too as you discover the new features and better-streamlined functionality.