It has been a few weeks since Microsoft introduced us to the latest addition to the Office family -- Sway. In fact, as Microsoft points out, the preview was unveiled 10 weeks ago. While the initial preview required anyone interested to join a waiting list, now it's possible to get in on the action straight away; and it seems there has already been great interest in the product.
Microsoft says that there have been 175,000 requests to access the Sway Preview, and the Sway.com website has received over one million visitors. Now anyone with a Microsoft account is able to try out the data collection and presentation tool and check out a batch of new features.
Microsoft's current vision is mobile first, cloud first (if two things can be simultaneously first), and this is perfectly demonstrated by what is being done with Office. Office has been pushed to not only mobile devices, but also the cloud and now Word Online gains the power of Bing in the form of Insights for Office.
The new feature makes it possible to perform searches from within Word Online so you can conduct research with fewer clicks. It could be as simple as looking up a definition, or you might be inspired to look up images related to the document you are working on.
After last month's blizzard of patches tomorrow's last round of Windows updates for the year looks set to be rather quieter.
Only seven bulletins have been announced, of which three are rated Critical and four Important. Of the Critical patches one is for Internet Explorer, one for Office and one for Windows itself -- likely to be for a remote code execution vulnerability.
If you have ever created or sat through a PowerPoint presentation for work, or created a report for school lately, you've surely seen or used clip art. There is nothing inherently wrong with using images to enhance a presentation or document, but the clip art in Office has been downright terrible. The images are typically outdated and cliched examples of business life, drawn by artists who likely came straight from hell (I kid -- actually, I bet they are very nice people).
Today, we may have finally seen the last of these horrid Pablo Picasso-esque nightmares, as Microsoft kills the Office clip art and image library. This is surely a time for celebration, but you are probably wondering where you will get images for your next quarterly presentation. No worries, Microsoft will now be directing users of Office to Bing Image Search instead.
After a long wait, Microsoft announced today that the next version of Office for Mac will finally see the light of day in 2015. Mac users will be able to get their hands on a public beta in the first half of next year, with the final version to arrive before the end of 2015. The latest official version of Office for Mac, Office for Mac 2011, launched more than four years ago.
Microsoft does not reveal what the upcoming Office for Mac will be called, but, seeing as it launches in 2015, it is possible that the software giant will stick to the current naming scheme and call it Office for Mac 2015. What we do know is that it will include Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word, which will make it less feature-rich than Office 2013, which has been available on Windows for nearly two years.
Having unveiled Windows 10 yesterday, Microsoft today welcomed a new addition to the fold in the form of Sway. This is the latest member of the Office family and it's being billed as a way to "reimagine how your ideas come to life". What does this actually mean? In many ways, Sway is an extension of OneNote. It's a web-based way to collect content, store images and text, add videos, and generally piece together everything you might need for a presentation, project, or idea. Sway is currently a preview product and, in keeping with Microsoft's "mobile-first, cloud-first world" there's a strong focus on cross-platform compatibility and cross-device syncing.
Sway is an interesting blend of existing Microsoft products, but it also brings in some new ideas. It's integrated with OneDrive, and has the note-taking features of OneNote. The various templates that can be used to present the data that is collected gives it something of a feel of PowerPoint, but it could also be used for very simple planning and project management like a cut-down, accessible version of Microsoft Project. It's all web-based and Microsoft is touting it as a "new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas".
There are many office suites available nowadays such as Google Docs and LibreOffice, but as fine as they are, none compare to the venerable Microsoft Office. When you send your son or daughter to school, you are hoping that they become equipped to handle the "real world" when they eventually graduate. Microsoft Office is what the business world largely uses.
Sure, you may be able to get by with an alternative to Office, but why would you want to? Oh right, cost; LibreOffice and Google Docs are free, while Microsoft Office costs money. Today, Microsoft announces that money is no longer an issue in this regard, as some students and teachers can now easily score a copy of Office for free.
Microsoft continues its recent trend of bringing exciting new features to rival platforms by adding Android Wear support to OneNote. The most recent version of Microsoft's note-taking tool -- suitably named OneNote for Android Wear -- and a new iOS 8-friendly version of the app is also due to launch today. If you've invested in an Android smartwatch (you'll have to wait a little longer for an Apple Watch version), taking a note is as simple as uttering "OK Google, take a note" -- but be prepared for a few weird looks when you try this out in a store for the first time.
To take advantage of the voice-activated features of the app, you will also need to have the main OneNote app installed on your Android phone or tablet. Forget the fact that your smartwatch doesn't have a keyboard -- notes can now be dictated to your wrist in a way that will not in any way make people who may be nearby think you're a little, er, strange. Or, as the Office Blog puts it, "we hope you enjoy using OneNote in a manner even Dick Tracy would envy!"
China is turning up the heat in its antitrust probe into Microsoft, with the authorities laying down a deadline for Redmond to respond regarding allegations of the software giant unfairly leveraging its products.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has laid down a time limit of 20 days for Microsoft to provide a satisfactory response to the antitrust probe which is focusing on Windows and Office (Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player have also been previously picked out as bones of contention, as well).
Some people love spreadsheets, it's a fact. It's also a fact that a lot of people dislike spreadsheets, and for companies that use them every day, their less-than-efficient aspect can be a hindrance to growth.
Or so says research from Intuit -- an online accounting software provider -- in an investigation of 200 UK small businesses.
All three apps gain exclusive new features, but all gain the ability to export documents to PDF, improved picture editing tools and support for third-party fonts.
The UK government has formally announced that all government departments are to use the open document format [ODF] for documents immediately in a move that is part of the government’s total savings target of £1.2 billion.
A press release stated that the ODF standard is being used for sharing and collaborating on government documents whereas PDF/A or HTML is becoming the standard for viewing government documents.
Keeping tabs of things across multiple platforms generally falls into two camps -- you are either an Evernote fan, or a OneNote user. One thing the former has excelled at is clipping content from the web and allowing the user to easily save it to a notebook. Now OneNote takes a step forward in this arena, adding new features to keep up with its rival.
The feature works a bit differently than WebClipper, but that isn't a bad thing. Users can send an email to me@OneNote.com and it will automatically clip the web content, as well as the contents of the email message.
Google I/O 2014 started yesterday and, thanks to a lengthy first-day keynote, the search giant has already made plenty of headlines one after another. And for good reason, as it unveiled new software, new hardware (albeit none of it was Nexus-branded) and a number of sweeping changes to its portfolio. Say what you will, but Google sure had plenty of interesting things to show without even announcing a new Nexus tablet (as we were used to in the past two years).
The amount of information from the conference is overwhelming, so here is the tl;dr version.