Microsoft, like many companies, lives by the upgrade sales model — get previous customers to buy the “new thing,” whether they need it or not.
Obviously, that’s been a successful strategy; but with Office 2013, Microsoft seems to have its eye on newer users.
Looking for reasons to abandon the familiar
As a technology writer of long standing, I’ve looked at many new products — most of them enhancements of some earlier rendition. In most cases, product upgrades are successful because they offer compelling reasons to move up — ground-breaking new features, significantly improved ease of use, etc. Both Windows XP and Windows 7 are good examples of worthy upgrades. However, “compelling” is always in the eye of the beholder, which makes the value of new versions of familiar products highly subjective.
Because I write books about Office, I delved into Word 2013 in its early beta stage. As with every new product, I immediately looked for those enhancements that would warrant upgrading. What would lure me away from the version of Word I use almost all day, every day? It would have to be something more than a new look and a larger collection of templates.
Months later, after extensively working with and writing about Word 2013, I was still looking — and wondering. So, to get a better handle on whether moving from Word 2010 to 2013 was worth the time, trouble, and expense, I made a head-to-head comparison of their features.
No new core, must-have features in Word 2013
I think of Word users as being largely pragmatic — the just-make-it-work kind of folks. Flashiness is fine within limits, but when it comes right down to it, we depend on the solid, core features of the program. For example, we need to open, save, and close documents quickly and easily (and possibly in multiple formats, if you please). We need documents to look as we intended — which might or might not include using a template.
We also need to be able to add, edit, remove, and rearrange text; spruce up the look of our pages with themes and styles; add, tweak, and adjust images; and print the document if we choose. All straightforward capabilities you can find in current versions of Word — and Google Docs or any other competent word processing program.