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Office 15 leaks indicate Metro-influenced UI and touch mode


February 29, 2012

The public beta of Office 15 is due out this northern summer

The public beta of Office 15 is due out this northern summer

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While Microsoft isn't set to release Office 15 as a public beta for a few months yet, the company provided a sneak peek to a select group of businesses, partners and OEMs on January 31st in the form of a technical preview. Despite the testers being required to sign non-disclosure agreements, some screenshots and details have started to leak out from those who received access to the beta.

The most immediately obvious change is the influence of Microsoft's Metro UI, which was originally created for Windows Phone 7 and will be seen in Windows 8. In Office 15, Microsoft looks to have merged the Metro UI with its much-maligned Ribbon interface that debuted in Office 2007. The ribbon's default setting appears to be collapsed which, along with a fullscreen "backstage" menu, results in a much cleaner look - although users will be more concerned with how easy it is to use.

Like Windows 8, Office 15 also looks set to embrace touch to enable easier use on tablets and touch-enabled PCs. Windows President Steven Sinofsky has said in a blog post that desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote optimized for touch and minimal power usage will be included with Windows 8 on ARM (WOA). A (currently non functional) Touch Mode button suggests that users will be able to switch between touch and mouse/keyboard inputs depending on the device on which they are using the application.

Microsoft is yet to respond to the leaks - and probably won't - so we'll just have to wait and see if they - and others, such as possible Skype integration - prove correct or not. The company has said is that the Office 15 public beta will be available this northern summer, with expectations that Office 15 - or whatever the new version of Office will be called - will be released before the end of the year. Additional leaked images can be seen at The Verge.

Sources: The Verge, ZDNet, MSDN Blog, Office Blog

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Though touch screen computers do have a place in the market (along with a pretty high gee whiz factor), they are not the end all be all solution for every need of a computer. With that said, it looks like Windows (and I can only assume Apple, as I don't follow them) is trying to force touch screen computers onto the market. Granted this OS seems to be capable of dual interface, it begs to question , will the next generation/iteration be solely for touch screens?


Microsoft? Wasn't that the company that used to make that software that nobody liked? you know, the ones that forced "upgrades" down everyones throats and force-changed how everything works, so that nobody ever knew how to use anything anymore, until eventually nobody bothered to use them anymore at all?


@christopher, you mean the company that sold 100mil copies of Office 2010?

Marcus Olson
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