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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clean, new, Windows 8 style interface
Office 2013 is most likely the last version to be sold as a boxed item, since Microsoft is now heavily pushing the Office 365 format where you rent the latest version of Office on a subscription basis. This version is the home and business edition, which comprises Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.

If you have been using Office for some time, then...
Published 13 months ago by Martin Turner

versus
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good value if you don't have an earlier version of Office
This is a whole suite of complex programs so I'm not going to go into too much detail about each one.

What you get is Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, & Outlook. Although when I say what you get, that isn't strictly true. What you actually get is a very small box containing a credit card sized piece of cardboard. This piece of cardboard has a number on it...
Published 12 months ago by M. Hadfield


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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good value if you don't have an earlier version of Office, 13 Aug 2013
By 
M. Hadfield "Ammonite" (Runcorn, Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC) (License)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a whole suite of complex programs so I'm not going to go into too much detail about each one.

What you get is Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, & Outlook. Although when I say what you get, that isn't strictly true. What you actually get is a very small box containing a credit card sized piece of cardboard. This piece of cardboard has a number on it. That's all you get in the post - a piece of cardboard.

What you do then is sign in to, or create, a Microsoft account. Then you enter your product key. Only at that point do you get to download the software you have purchased. No disc, no manuals, no anything of any substance really. You can have a disc if you want but you have to buy it in addition to what you have already paid!!!!

You can download a 32 bit or a 64 bit version. I've got a 64 bit version of Windows 7 so thought the 64 bit version would do, but Microsoft issue dire warnings about using the 64bit version, so I went for 32!!!!!

I'd read a few reviews about this version of Office and most were unfavourable, so I was a little wary of installing it. I have Office 2007 on my system and I was surprised to discover that after installing Office 2013, all of my Office 2007 programs still functioned normally. Which was great because my Office 2007 suite contains Access and Publisher which are not included in this version of Office 2013.

I'm not a fan of change for change's sake and one of the things I notice about software is that every time I install an upgrade the layout changes (I guess to make me think I'm getting something new), but the functionality remains pretty much the same.

And that's exactly what seems to have happened here.

There's a complete re-design of the look of each window. Most of the colour has gone, it looks flat, it's difficult to locate icons because nothing stands out any more and there is no separation. I'm typing this in Word and because everything is white (document and ribbon) it's difficult to see where my document ends and the Ribbon stuff starts. The scroll bars are almost invisible and it all just blends together. All the other programs are just the same.

The appearance of this suite of programs is dreadful and I'm removing one star for that.

Then it took me a week to persuade Word to open up in a vaguely document shaped (portrait) format rather than the more useless letterboxy shape it seemed to prefer. Even now, a month later, it only gives me a narrow document so the first thing I have to do when I go into Word is resize the window. That's probably worth half a star.

This Office Suite seems to have been designed for use with Windows 8 on tablets and the like - though why anyone would want to use a word processor all day on a tablet I've no idea. This is a business suite used by companies in offices with proper PCs and proper keyboards. Designing for tablet functionality makes it less useful for the prime user base. I'm a writer, I need it to work on a PC at a desk with a proper keyboard.

There is also a pain in the neck page full of templates and other stuff every time you open Word, and Excel, and probably Powerpoint too. It's just really difficult to get to the stuff you want easily and efficiently. And if I want to open a file that isn't reasonably recent that's a several click process. My older version of word would remember where I last opened a file and take me back there when I wanted to open another. This version of word forgets so you have to start at the top and click down through all of your folders every single time. That's probably another half a star.

Word has also been turned into an e-Reader. I've got a Kindle App and an iBooks app on my iPad for that. I have no requirement for Word to do that. I write in word, and when I read it's generally proof reading for which I need editing facilities.

Apologies for focusing on Word, but it's the application that I use for several hours a day. I also make use of Excel and that just looks horrible but is pretty much the same as it was.

There are other little niggles and all in all the whole suite feels a bit buggy to me. Not enough to reduce its usability, just enough to be irritating.

Outlook works fine, but looks awful and there are some default setting changes that are just stupid - pale blue for the subject line - making it hard to read. Luckily if you want to waste several hours of your life on Google, you can find out how to change some of these defaults to make it look like it used to.

I much prefer Office 2007 in appearance and functionality, if you have that, or Office 2010, then it probably isn't worth the money for an upgrade.

I've had a bit of a moan because Microsoft go off and do what they want to do regardless of what its customers want and they deserve it.

That said I believe the Office Suite of programs to be the best out there. If you don't have Office then yes buy this. What it does is great and I've been an Office user since my first PC back in around 1997. I wouldn't use anything else. But this set of programs just looks dreadful and the wishy-washy appearance has actually taken away a lot of the pleasure for me when I use it.

For functionality alone it warrants 5 stars, but it's only going to get three because Microsoft have just lost touch with their user base with this implementation, and the new design is simply dreadful.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clean, new, Windows 8 style interface, 8 Aug 2013
By 
Martin Turner "Martin Turner" (Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC) (License)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Office 2013 is most likely the last version to be sold as a boxed item, since Microsoft is now heavily pushing the Office 365 format where you rent the latest version of Office on a subscription basis. This version is the home and business edition, which comprises Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.

If you have been using Office for some time, then you will mainly find two areas of difference, which are the interface and the connectivity.

Interface
This is very Windows 8, which means minimalist design, lots of white, icons kept small, and a certain silky smoothness to the way the cursor progresses. Gone are the gaudy ribbons of earlier versions, and the cluttered, semi-3d tabs of the most recent one. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the whole thing seems much more unintrusive than in the past. Although the look is Windows 8, it seems substantially easier to find your way around than Windows 8 does, which is helpful. As with each reorganisation of the Office family, it will take you time to find things you were familiar with, and used a lot. It's good to see easy access to mail-merge appearing again, and a pane for references, which will help academic writers, but I'm at a loss to find the 'Design Mode' which enabled me to produce a design and then send it to someone else in a format where they could put text and pictures in the boxes I'd set up, but not interfere with the design itself.

Connectivity
This is by far the most connected version of Office I've seen. Without leaving Office you can access online data gathering and translation services (though not genuine translation, so be careful what you are putting your trust in!), introduce additional Office apps that enhance Excel and Outlook (mainly, though there are some for other components), instantly acquire new templates and pictures, share with other users, save on your SkyDrive, and do many other things. Microsoft is keen to emphasise the benefits of cloud working, even though some bits don't really offer much yet.

If you've not used Office before, or not for some time, then what you are essentially getting is a suite of the four kinds of things which most people do most often in relation to work:
* Writing, editing, manipulating documents (Word)
* Running a spreadsheet (Excel)
* Creating presentations (PowerPoint)
* Sending and receiving emails (Outlook)
You also get OneNote, which is perhaps most use if you are using this on a tablet device.

Office combines these four things into a slick, integrated interface which does its best -- and this is considerably better than in previous versions -- to offer you maximum flexibility with minimum clutter. Given that Microsoft has been adding every conceivable feature to this basic suite since the 1980s, it's quite a feat to get so much in and it still feel as clean and clear as it does. Some of the things are very whizzy. The latest PowerPoint transitions, for example, will entertain you for hours while you choose between crunching up the paper, turning it into an aeroplane, or (always best) simply having it appear and disappear as you go from slide to slide. Other parts, on the other hand, mainly in Excel, are very little different from what we were doing in the 1980s, though most of the clunkiness has now been removed from the interface.

Overall this is a welcome refresh to what was getting very cluttered and fussy indeed. Office has no realistic challengers as the world's leading business productivity suite, and it's nice to see that Microsoft has worked hard on making the standard better.

Your only real choice will be whether to take this version, the more expensive one which includes Publisher (meh) and Access (excellent), the cheaper one that doesn't include Outlook, and whether you want to buy outright as with this box, or pay the monthly subscription.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Licensing Terms have been changed by Microsoft, March 2013, 2 Jun 2013
This review is from: Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC) (License)
Apparently MS now allow transfer of these licenses to other machines... the product description has been changed but many of the comments refer to earlier terms. There is a blog post here: http://blogs.office.com/b/office-news/archive/2013/03/06/office-2013-retail-license-agreement-now-transferable.aspx that details the change.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Paul Sherry, 17 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Sadly this was a total waste of 165.00...

When I tried to download the software the Microsoft web site blocked the download and I've been unable to use the product..

The Microsoft website stated the purchased software was out of region.. I reside in the UAE, I bought the software on the Amazon website.. There was NOTHING to indicate at the time of purchase that there were any constraints regarding geographical use of the product.

I feel very disappointed and conned.! I could not find any way to cancel the purchase.

Regards

Paul
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as 2010, 18 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have found Office 2013 a bit harder to work with than the 2010 version, and the only reason I bought it was that it was about 100 cheaper than 2010.
It doesn't have very clear slider bars, I can't move emails into tasks, and my contacts list seems more basic than it used to be.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buying on a business trip? Beware of Microsoft regional download restrictions!, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is not (yet) a full product review as I have not been able to download the software! I made the purchase (out of grudging necessity for work) whilst on a business trip and found that Microsoft would not let me download the software since they restrict downloads by region; I bought a "UK" download which is not accessible from outside whatever region Microsoft have defined. Whatever that region is, I am not currently in it! A call to their customer support confirmed this was the issue. So now I have just paid for a product that I cannot even download until I return home. Why did I buy the download version? Because I need it today. Time for plan B.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't work in other countries with limited internet - beware!, 4 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC) (License)
Very poor in its description of requirements. No disc included, installation is through an online process. I phoned Microsoft's helpline and they informed me they no longer supplied the program on discs. This is silly and ignorant as it does assume that everyone has a good internet connection. Unfortunately this was bought for a colleague in Africa and it wasn't the case for us. We had so many problems trying to install it, not only was the lack of internet a problem but one of the error messages said that this could not be installed outside of the UK! There needs to be a warning of these limitations to stop people buying something that won't work. We returned it in the end. To be fair to Amazon, they refunded us in full with no problems. Just beware of Microsoft...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars beware the regional version, 11 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC) (License)
I was sent the US version. It's obviously not something you check on the box if you order from amazon.co.uk. It took hours of phone calls to Microsoft to sort this one out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Few New Bells and Whistles, 13 Aug 2013
By 
S. Porter (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC) (License)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's hard for me to say anything about MS Office 2013 without an "ugh!". The Home & Business product includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. To be honest, I've never used OneNote in my life and don't think I'll ever need to, and I haven't used Outlook since the 90's, because it was so cumbersome, so I'm not going to be able to say much about those applications.

The box contains instructions on where to download the suite from and gives you an activation code. Microsoft have clearly not thought about users in areas with limited bandwidth. I have rudimentary broadband speeds in my area, but even I struggled and it took me four attempts to successfully complete the download and register the software. If you happen to live somewhere without Broadband, or with heavily restricted bandwidth you're going to be cursing Microsoft for this decision.

Whilst I've still not embraced the 'marvellous' ribbon interface, all the important Word, Excel and Powerpoint features are still there, but if you are updating from a previous version, you'll have to redo all your personalisations. The integration of SkyDrive is OK, but I have no need for this and frankly don't understand why the default position is to save my work to the cloud. It seems Microsoft (and other organisations) haven't grasped the notion that the cloud is pretty useless when you can't get online and there isn't a universal Wifi service in place. Fortunately you can change this default to the traditional documents folder location if you wish to. You may also need to change some of the other default settings, for example, it isn't always easy to start working on documents without first making them editable documents. It might be a nice security feature, but it's really a feature I've no need for and feels like an intrusion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spot the difference !, 12 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have Office 2003, 2007, 2010 and now 2013 - and I only upgraded to 2013 to match a clients software - but what a complete waste of money if you own either 2007 or 2010 - it is virtually the same.
I was expecting Outlook to be absorbed into the latest version (like previous upgrades) but it isn't - you can run Outlook 2010 and 2013 on the same computer - which just proves that all they've done is to change the front screen (to lots of horrible white).
But if, like me, you are downloading through Firefox - don't !
When my download stalled I got in touch with Microsoft (who were really helpful) and they basically asked me to do the download through Explorer - which I did and it worked fine.

So if you own 2007 or 2010 - don't bother with this upgrade - you really don't need it.
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