Two Thumbs Up: Office 2013 Enhanced For Tablets, Thumb Control


Still, Word, Outlook and other Office apps fill the screen and appear and behave much like Metro-style apps when used in the new touch mode, which brings up special navigation icons and "flattens" the user interface to make it more finger-friendly. A new "Read Mode" in Word simplifies the experience of text consumption with automatic adjustments of column and text flow as well as the ability to quickly define, translate and look up words when an Internet connection is available, a la e-book reader.

Other finger-friendly features in Word 2013 include object zoom, which enlarges objects such as images, tables and charts with a tap or pinch. A second like gesture restores the object to its original size. Word also now bookmarks the reader's last position and will pick up right where you left off, even if it's on a different device. Of course, this only applies to documents being read from a SkyDrive account and not to documents being read in a non-Microsoft cloud repository.

When used with SkyDrive, Word 2013 saves to it by default. This simplifies document sharing and real-time collaboration with other SkyDrive users and helps keep document versions under control. Word's "Track Changes" feature can now be locked with a password to prevent unauthorized changes from eluding notice.

In a pinch or by design, Word 2013 can be used as an online presentation tool, even if those viewing the presentation don't have Word. Documents can now be shared through a browser, and people can follow along as the owner scrolls through the document. Word can now open and edit PDF documents or use objects from within to create new presentations; the default save format remains that of Word. Alignment guides automatically pop up to allow precise placement of objects, and now images can be placed directly from Facebook, Flickr and other online sites without having to download and save locally first.

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