Mobile

Office 2013 for Windows RT strips down: Will lack complex features, ship as Preview

We’ve known since February that Microsoft was preparing new touch-enabled Office apps for Windows RT, but now it seems those tablet-focused Office apps won’t have as many features as their desktop siblings.

Microsoft will reportedly remove key features from Office 2013 RT, including VBA scripting, macros, and third-party plug-ins, a source tells The Verge. The move is meant to make the apps more reliable and less of a strain on battery life — which are especially important considerations for Windows RT, since it’s the version of Windows 8 meant for tablets running ARM processors.

Additionally, the Verge says Microsoft will ship a preview version of Office 2013 RT with Windows RT devices, which will likely allow you to view and lightly edit Office documents and will be upgradeable to the full version of Office in early 2013. This isn’t too surprising, since PC makers have been shipping Office preview versions in their computers since the release of Windows XP (and possibly earlier).

Microsoft isn’t commenting on the report, but if it’s true, the company could see flack from serious Office users over removing features like VBA scripting. It would be difficult for businesses to adopt Windows RT devices when they don’t know if their Office documents will be fully compatible with the new platform.

And if it lacks key Office features, Windows RT runs the risk of being more of a casual computing platform, rather than the lean and mean productivity platform Microsoft is pitching.

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