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Bill Bennett


Microsoft’s beautiful, clever, flawed Office 2013 preview

In an ideal world this would be a post praising Microsoft’s latest version of Word, sold as part Office 2013.

Microsoft gave Word, like the rest of Office, a design refresh. It now has a beautiful, minimalist look that gets out of the writer’s way. There are handy new features like the ability to edit PDFs. Best of all, the software integrates smoothly with Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service.

For the first week or so of testing the software I loved it and was gearing up to write high praise. It briefly looked as if Microsoft had delivered the ideal journalist writing software.


Sadly, the preview, that’s Microsoft’s way of saying beta without using the B-word, is unstable.

Sure, instability is what you expect from beta software. I’m not complaining about that. What isn’t so tolerable is that this particular beta doesn’t uninstall – at least not from my desktop.

The traces left screw around with my earlier Office 2010 installation to the point where I worry that may also be unstable. The Word 2010 document icons have changed to  the Word 2013 format and the list of files in the task bar at the bottom of the screen no longer functions. There has been some strange behaviour when saving documents – that doesn’t make me feel confident.

I’ve worked through a long and complex fix suggested on the Microsoft Answers site, but that resolved nothing.

Companies release beta software, we understand early versions are troublesome. Not providing a way to uninstall and get the computer back to normal is not OK.



4 thoughts on “Microsoft’s beautiful, clever, flawed Office 2013 preview

  1. Never ever install (especially) Microsoft beta software on a production machine. You will regret it. Best practice, at least around the campfire, is to wait for SP1 if you’re anxious, SP2 if you’re cautious, at least where OS’ are concerned. I’m still happily on Office 2007, FWIW.

    1. That’s sound advice, but not realistic, new software needs to be seen in context. If I ran it on a secondary machine, I wouldn’t use it for everyday work and give it a proper test.

      The issue here isn’t that the software is slightly broken, it’s that the damage extends beyond the application’s own boundaries.

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