Office 2013 or not 2013

So where was I? … Ah yes, last year seems so very far away, however I had to set work aside to look after family – all now good, and Excel can have its day again!

Recently, we’ve had a lot of users buy themselves new computers, loaded with Office 2013 – they’ve had a few questions, and some are Rental Workbook users who’ve had some troubles.

So do I like it?

The short answer at the moment, is no.

Microsoft have done their usual – release a product that hasn’t been fully tested.  At the moment, I can see its possibilities, but I can also see its faults.

From experience, trying to run the Rental Workbook fails miserably – why, you might ask? I wondered the same thing… so I found out from Microsoft that when you have a program that checks protection, Excel now has a new algorithm that takes a minute to run. Microsoft assures us that it’s for our own protection, but unfortunately  when you have a product that is protected (with a password, just like the Rental Workbook) it means that when you change from one sheet to the next, it takes a minute to change – which in turn, causes the user to think that Excel has crashed. Especially when you press Save, and it’s checking each of the 16 pages!

Luckily for us, we’ve been working on a different model and have released a RW that will work with Office 2013 (see our Rental Workbook page).

Anyway, what else about it?

Massive sheet tabs – For so long, I’ve used Excel with a multitude of sheet tabs – often over 12, so now Office 2013 is tablet-user ready, you can only see four tabs in the same space. Great if you’re going to click with a finger, but not so great if you’re still using a mouse…

Office 2013 also assumes you work in the cloud, and some of us do, however I don’t like the fact I have to click open 3 times to get a file just because it’s not saved in the cloud belonging to Microsoft… My personal cloud storage is with Dropbox – brilliantly sorted out so that it automatically uploads my phone photos, I can use it just like a normal storage folder from my computer, yet it’s storing ‘onine’ – in the cloud. yet… when I try to use it from Office 2013 it becomes a chore.  Whilst I understand the marketing issue behind getting users to use Microsoft’s own cloud (SkyDrive – a great at the moment ‘free’ product in itself, I’m not saying Microsoft’s online storage is bad), it really doesn’t help people who already store their information elsewhere.

Perhaps when Microsoft have fixed the protection issues, it might be worth upgrading, until then, I’d recommend using Office 2010, it’s a fantastic, stable product that works brilliantly.  After searching online, you can till buy the full version for only $109, so that’s considerably cheaper than an upgrade to 2013 (around $500).


Edit: Since the automatic updates, Office 2013 has become much more stable, and some of the new quick analysis features are really exciting.

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