Office 2013 has debuted for businesses, although it won’t be available to the general public until the end of January (*current scheduled release date). While it may look similar to recent versions, Office 2013 has made some changes and added in some cool new features that are sure to be helpful.
Last Location Feature
Have you ever closed a document, only to open it a day later to spend several minutes figuring out where you last left off? With Word and PowerPoint 2013, this is now a thing of the past, as the software automatically remembers where you left off.
When you open a document you’ve been working on, a little box will appear on the right that says “Welcome Back, pick up where you left off.” Just click the box, and the document jumps to where you were last.
Word just got a whole lot more robust, thanks to the increased PDF editing capability features. In the past, if you wanted to edit a PDF in Word, you would have to convert it first, and then edit it. But the new Word can now do this extra work for you. To edit PDF documents, all you have to do is
open them in Word, make your changes, and save your work. It’s that easy. No PDF editing software required.
Sky Drive Integration
It used to be that OneNote was the only Office produce to have access to the Cloud, but that’s not the case anymore. With Office 2013, any program can now sync to Sky Drive (Microsoft’s free large file storage service) allowing you to save your documents in the Cloud, and access them from anywhere.
Sky Drive integration is also what makes this next feature possible.
Syncing Across Devices
Now you can access your documents from anywhere, regardless of which device you’re using. Create a Word Document on your laptop, but need to edit
using your tablet? No problem, as long as your document is synced to your Sky Drive account, you can access it from wherever you are, and whatever device you’re using. All you need is internet access.
This is just a taste of some of the great features available in Office 2013. Additionally, each software component within the suite seems to have some great changes that are sure to boost productivity (once you learn how to use those new features to your advantage).
*Note if you bought, or are planning on buying, Office 2010 between October 19, 2012 and April 30, 2013, Microsoft will give you a FREE upgrade to Office 2013. Click here to go to Microsoft’s site for more details.
Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you figure out the latest advances in software, and whether or not it is worth it to upgrade. (In the case of Office 2013, it is.) Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.
After a recent install of Windows 8, I found myself scratching my head wondering, “What did I just get talked into?”
While most upgrades require a little bit of relearning, particularly when it comes to new or updated features, it is obvious from the start that Windows 8 is drastically different and requires a learning curve. That’s because Windows 8 was built for tablets and touch screens, and how you use Windows is more like how you would use your smartphone and less like how you would use a traditional computer.
But when you don’t have any of the touch screen or tablet capabilities, such as with a traditional desktop or laptop, should you take the time to upgrade, knowing the learning curve will be steep?
For this computer
user, the answer is a resounding yes. While I’ve only been using the new operating system for about a week now, there are several reasons why I already prefer it to the prior versions of Windows.
More Places to Go, More Things to Do
One of the biggest changes about Windows 8 is that it’s no longer desktop centered. Instead of logging in and going straight to your desktop, the first thing you see is now the Start screen – a screen with colorful, flashing live metro tiles begging for attention.
Click on any of the tiles, and the app opens up in full screen mode, a feature that is similar to today’s tablets. To flip between open apps, access the hidden menu by placing your cursor on the left corner of the screen and dragging down. This will show you any apps that are open and will allow you to jump from one to another as you work.
The result is that you feel like there are more places to go and more things to do on your computer than ever before, because you don’t have to access everything through the desktop. Of course, not all programs function like apps, and more traditional software will only open on the desktop for use, just like the traditional Windows you are accustomed to.
Take Advantage of Apps
Taking a hint from smart phones and mobile OS’s like iOS and Android, Microsoft now makes the Windows Store available to all users. Download apps, games, media and more,
and make the most of your computing needs.
While Apps and the Windows Store may seem like a silly thing to be excited about on a desktop or laptop, it actually gives you more options and flexibility with your software and computing needs.
Makes Your Computer a Hybrid
Overall, Windows 8 does a great job of making computing “feel” more modern. That is, because of all the changes and features that are tablet driven, the new OS goes a long way to making your computer feel more like a mobile, touch screen device, even if it isn’t.
This can be good news to those longing for a tablet, especially if you’ve held off buying one because you are concerned about the cost or the ability to produce work on an actual tablet device. Windows 8 on a laptop or even a desktop alleviates these concerns because it allows you to still produce work like you’re used to, while also being able to take advantage of mobile features like Apps and being constantly connected to the Cloud.
Of course, these are just a few of my initial reactions to the new OS. There are many more reasons, including some good technical reasons, to upgrade to Windows 8. The more I use the operating system, the more I find I enjoy the extra usability the new features bring to the system.
If you are sitting there wondering if you should upgrade to Windows 8, don’t let the lack of a touch screen or other tablet features hold you back. You may just find that you are pleasantly surprised with all of the additions and extra features. (I know I was.)
As smartphones increasingly become cemented into our daily lives, more apps are created to help companies get work done. For every industry, there are probably at least a dozen or more apps that you can use to accomplish any number of important tasks. And then there are the apps that work across multiple industries.
But how do you know if an app is right for you and your needs? You don’t, at least not testing the app.
However, in lieu of that, we thought we’d share some of the top apps used by TechQuility’s principal, Chris Barber. While some of these apps are strictly tech troubleshooting tools, some of the apps listed are great tools regardless of your industry. Maybe there’s an app in here that is a great tool for your business too.
Barcode Scanner: This app was created to scan bar codes to research prices and reviews, scan QR codes and more. Great for when you’re out shopping, just scan an items barcode, and then access price information and reviews to make sure you’re getting a good deal. This app is available for free.
IP Info: This app allows you to view your IP address and other network information straight from your phone. It also allows you to cut information and paste it into other applications such as email, or your remote desktop session to your secure server. This app is free.
Remote RDP: This app allows you to access computers remotely using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) so that you can connect to your computer remotely, via your Android phone. One of the great features about this app is that it supports a Full PC keyboard and mouse setup, making it even easier to access items remotely. This app is not free, but is worth the price.
Smart Tools: An all-inclusive measuring app, Smart Tools features 15 measuring tools in one. This is a great app for
any sort of building / home improvement / site setup project. While the app isn’t free, it’s relatively cheap, and worth the price.
Speedtest.net: This is a phone app version of the classic speedtest.net website, an internet speed testing website. Instead of running to the computer, you can quickly test your internet connection speeds straight from the phone. This can be helpful if
you’re troubleshooting wireless connection slowness. This app is free.
Square Register: Square is an app that allows you to accept credit card payments directly from your smartphone. You do need the app and the Square card reader to use the service, but both are provided for free from Square.
TouchDown: A robust email management app, Touchdown allows you to sync emails, contacts, calendar items, and tasks from Outlook to your Android phone, so that you can keep up with your schedule and emails, even when you’re on the go. While not free, TouchDown does offer a 30 day trial; however we’ve found the app is well worth the price. Requires Android 2.x or higher.
Wifi Analyzer App: As featured in our article There’s a Reason Your Wireless Might Be Slow (And What You Can Do About It), the Wifi Analyzer app is a favorite app for troubleshooting wireless congestion and slowness issues. This app is free to use.
Julie Strier is a freelance