Microsoft is expected to release a new version of Office, called Microsoft Office 2013 (or Office 15) early next year. The new Office, the release version of which is already available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, sports a minimalist interface and, among other features, is very tightly integrated with SkyDrive.
If you aren’t an MSDN/Technet subscriber, you can still download and install Microsoft Office 2013 as long as your computer is running Windows.
Option A: You can go to office.com/preview and download the full-featured edition of Office 2013 that includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Microsoft Access (no Visio here). You can install this version on up to 5 PCs using your Microsoft account.
This is actually Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium Preview and what’s unique here is that you can get Office running on your computer within minutes of hitting the install button. This uses Microsoft’s Click-To-Run installation technology - you just have to download a 500KB installer and it “streams” the Microsoft Office applications to your computer.
The downside is that you have to install the entire Office package and second, this isn’t the final release of Office but a “preview” edition (version 15.0.4128.1025).
Option B: The other option is that you download the Microsoft Office 2013 installer from the Technet website (all you need is a Windows Live ID). Unlike the preview edition of Office, this one is the “final” Office Professional Plus 2013 release (version 15.0.4433.1506) that will continue to work for 60 days from the date of installation.
In order to install this version of Office, you’ll be required to download the full MSI installer (666 MB, OfficeProfessionalPlus_x86_en-us.img) but the advantage is that you can choose which Office programs should be installed on the computer.
Microsoft Office 2013 Pro is available as a 60-day trial while there’s no exact expiry date fixed for Office 365 Preview. Microsoft says that Office Preview will expire approximately 60 days after Office 2013 becomes available in that market. You will thus have more time to play with Office 2013 with the preview release.
Office 365 Preview can be installed alongside an older copy of Microsoft Office whereas in the case of Office 2013 Professional, it will override your existing installation.
One more thing. The Office 2013 preview release streams very quickly (click to run) and you don’t even have to be an administrator of your computer to install it. That’s not the case with Office 2013 Pro.
Microsoft hasn’t specified an exact release date for Microsoft Office 2013 but if you buy a licence of Microsoft Office 2010 now, you will get a free upgrade to Office 2013.