Office 2013 and Exchange RTM

I woke up this morning to the news that both Office 2013 and Exchange had reached RTM (Release to Manufacturing) status. I’ve been using the Office customer preview for a while, and I’m generally pretty pleased with it, so I’m certainly looking forward to being able to install the final version when it hits TechNet in mid-November.

Generally I think that Office feels cleaner, and while I haven’t found many new features that I’m frequently using (except the handy way that text re-aligns in real-time around an image in Word, and the guidelines that help you line things up nicely), I do like the little improvements, like how smooth the movement of the cursor is while I’m composing a message in Outlook (I know, but when you notice it, you’ll like it!).

There are some things that I’m not so keen on. I used to use the To-Do bar in a collapsed position so that I could always see my next upcoming appointment without taking up much of the screen. It now seems that I can’t have it collapsed, so I either have it fully expanded or not at all. I know there are other ways to see your next appointment quickly, but when I normally have Outlook on its own screen it was always there. Mousing over “Calendar” brings up useful information, but only when Outlook has focus.

Incidentally, I found some of these Outlook 2013 tips useful.

On the Exchange side, I think it’s time to start looking into the new Exchange Administration Center (EAC – always makes me think of Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo, dude!) and all the new PowerShell cmdlets and changes in the Exchange Management Shell. I expect I’ll be posting about that in the future, especially since we’re losing some discoverability that used to be in the EMC and isn’t in EAC.

I’m looking forward to seeing which new features we’re going to get in the next update to Office 365. In the past, especially with Exchange, you would plan upgrades for a long time since it was a significant project. In the Office 365 world, having the upgrade path be managed by Microsoft and suddenly having a new version is quite fun – it’s like waking up to see what Santa has brought on Christmas morning! 🙂

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