Office 2013 - Ten best features, according to Microsoft

We asked the team behind Microsoft Office 2013 to highlight the 10 new features in the new Office suite that stand out the most

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Whether you love Microsoft or think it's, well, less than lovable, there's no denying the power Microsoft Office has in business. From the smallest operations to the largest enterprise, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and the rest of the suite are ubiquitous. Naturally, IT pros have a deep and vested interest in the newest version of Office.

We asked the folks in Redmond what they thought were the coolest features of Office 2013. Here's a look at what they believe stands out most in Microsoft's newest version of Office.

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Whether you love Microsoft or think it's, well, less than lovable, there's no denying the power Microsoft Office has in business. From the smallest operations to the largest enterprise, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and the rest of the suite are ubiquitous. Naturally, IT pros have a deep and vested interest in the newest version of Office.

We asked the folks in Redmond what they thought were the coolest features of Office 2013. Here's a look at what they believe stands out most in Microsoft's newest version of Office.

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Connect to the cloud, connect to your content

When you are online and signed in, the new Office saves your documents to the cloud (Microsoft SkyDrive) by default. You can get them on your tablet, PC and phone and share them with others by just sending a link. All of your Office applications, documents and personal settings go where you go. That means things like your custom dictionary follow you no matter what device you're using. Plus, when it's in the cloud, it's backed up — you don't have to worry about losing your work.

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Make multiple versions a thing of the past

Managing and reviewing documents is designed to be easier, as all changes and comments are consolidated in a single version on SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro. Even if you don't have Office installed, you can collaborate; threaded comments allow you to see who replied to whom and when. Mark a comment as "done" and it will collapse and gray out to indicate that it's closed, yet it will remain accessible for future reference. Worried about not catching a change? Use the lock tracking feature so that no change can get by without you seeing it.

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Bookmark files automatically

Have you ever closed a report, only to reopen it and spend five minutes trying to figure out where you left off? With the Last Location feature, Word and PowerPoint automatically bookmark your last position. When you reopen the file anywhere — even on your phone — you can pick up right where you left off.

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Use Outlook to stay "socially" responsible

Miss a colleague's promotion? The new Office helps you stay in the know by connecting your social networks. The People Card in Outlook joins multiple contacts into one view, reducing duplicates, and offers the latest social context, including status updates, contact information and pictures from Office, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can even share part of your spreadsheet on your social network pages. SharePoint, meanwhile, will recommend people and documents for you to follow based on your interests and responsibilities.

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Take notes with digital ink

Now you can use touch and "inking" functionality to take notes, write emails and access features with the new Office and Windows 8. Specifically in OneNote, the inking is designed to let you draw, erase and edit content using your finger, stylus or mouse. Inking also converts handwriting into text for you.

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Treat PDF files like Word documents

With the new PDF reflow, you can now open PDF files as fully editable Word documents, making paragraphs, lists and tables act like familiar Word documents. Open the PDF file in Word and you can copy text, tables and other content to reuse in other documents.

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Deliver PowerPoint presentations smoothly

The improved Presenter View in PowerPoint has new tools that make note cards a thing of the past. Now you can privately view speaker notes; see current and upcoming slides; zoom in on specific areas; jump between slides, and even keep track of how long you've been presenting. With the auto-extend feature, PowerPoint automatically enables Presenter View when you connect to a second screen and ensures that your presentation is projected correctly.

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Dress up your Excel data

New Flash Fill reformatting in Excel makes rearranging data much easier. This feature helps Excel learn and recognize your patterns and auto complete the remaining data cells without all the manual formatting. Analysing data used to involve quite a bit of work, but now it only takes a few steps to quickly create different types of charts, including line and column charts, or add miniature graphs (called sparklines). You can also apply a table style, create PivotTables, quickly insert totals, and apply conditional formatting.

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Remember the Forgotten Attachment in Outlook

By detecting keywords and phrases, the new Outlook reminds you if you forget an attachment before you press Send'. Or, you can avoid attachments altogether and share links to documents saved on SkyDrive.

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Use Image Search to find files faster

The search functionality in the new Office is improved and available for email, attachments, calendar appointments and contacts. In OneNote, notes are automatically saved and searchable. You can also search the notes and files you've added to find anything you've captured—a page in a presentation, text in a picture or a comment in an audio clip by typing a keyword or phrase.

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