IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Microsoft Office 2013 review

Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint get the touchscreen treatment, cloud storage and a bunch of new features.

Outlook 2013

Once you get over the whitewashed interface and start fiddling with Outlook 2013, new features start to emerge.

Outlook 2013 - Mail

Visually, the email view looks similar to the Mail app for Windows 8 Metro. Unread emails are highlighted with a blue bar, with the currently selected message highlighted in a dull grey. As with the rest of the Office 2013 apps, the ribbon interface can be tucked away if not needed, and if you're only reading, replying to or forwarding messages, it's certainly superfluous.

If you've got the Reading Pane open, you can take advantage of the new Inline Replies feature, which allows you to reply to a message from within the Reading Pane itself, with your reply entered at the top of the incoming message.

Outlook 2013 takes advantage of Windows 8's new notifications system, alerting users to new messages in their inbox with a pop-up in the top right corner of the screen. We prefer the more discreet System Tray alerts of Office 2010, but it's something which may grow on us.

Other mail features include Site Mailboxes, an Exchange-based feature that allows you to create a shared mail folder, calendar and task list for everyone in a particular team, which could prove handy for businesses that have employees clustered on particular projects.

Calendar

Attempting to access your Calendar exposes another Metro-inspired element of the new Outlook the new navigation menu. Switching between Mail, Calendar, People (previously Contacts) and Tasks is now performed by left-clicking on the relevant option at the foot of the page. When in Mail, you can also hover over the Calendar option to see a pop-up containing details of your forthcoming appointments, although you can still have a pervasive mini Calendar running down the right hand side of the screen, if you prefer.

Outlook 2013 - Calendar

Very little else has changed with the Calendar. A new bar marks the time of day across your Calendar presumably for those who finds clocks and watches a little high maintenance. A mini weather forecast is also embedded in the Calendar view. Apparently it's going to rain for the next few days

People

Metro rears its head once more, with People now replacing Contacts in the Outlook menu. As with the Windows 8 app, contacts are amalgamated from social services such as LinkedIn, as well as your various address books. This is also meant to automatically pull in photos of your email correspondents from the social networks.

Outlook 2013 - People

Favourite People can also be added to the To-Do Bar running down the right-hand side of the Outlook window, allowing you to see at a glance if/when your team members are free for a meeting.

Touch

Outlook 2013 includes a Touch mode that theoretically makes it easier to navigate on a tablet. The buttons and commands on the ribbon are still far too small for our liking, and we're really not sure we'd want to use Outlook on a tablet without a stylus or keyboard/trackpad to hand.

Outlook 2013 - Touch

There are some hidden touch gestures that work quite well, though. Pinch to zoom on the Calendar view, for example, neatly switches between day, week and month views.

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Most Popular

FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores
data protection

FCC commissioner urges Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores

29 Jun 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022
Internet providers look to ease cost of living crisis with cheaper broadband
broadband

Internet providers look to ease cost of living crisis with cheaper broadband

29 Jun 2022