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Microsoft Office for Windows 8 RT isn't quite everything it is on the desktop, universal adoption not guaranteed

Will Microsoft Office for Windows RT be the same as Office on the desktop? Microsoft has released some more details about what Office for Windows RT will contain and more importantly what it won't contain.
September 14, 2012

The theory goes like this: The average computer user loves Windows and everyone will rush out and buy Windows 8. Then since they love Windows 8 so much they will all rush out and buy tablets running Windows 8 RT and then for good measure they will buy a Windows Phone. What’s more, Windows 8 RT comes with Office and everyone knows and loves Office, another superb reason to buy a Windows 8 RT tablet. And so ends the theory.

Microsoft has released some more details about what Office for Windows RT will contain and more importantly what it won’t contain. The blog post on the official Microsoft blog starts with some long winded explanations about how tablets are different to PCs and they software needs to be written slightly different (welcome to the real world Microsoft). They can’t rely on everyone having 4GB of memory, a quad-core desktop CPU and 2TB of disk space. So Office for Windows RT has been “optimized”. And when we say “optimized” we mean things that won’t be in Office for Windows RT.

“Windows RT tablets have special requirements for security, reliability, and battery life, and we’ve worked to ensure that the RT version is well-suited for the platform,” wrote David Brodsky, Partner Test Manager and Josh Pollock, Principal Development Manager.

Here is the list:

  • Macros, add-ins, and features that rely on ActiveX controls or 3rd party code such as the PowerPoint Slide Library ActiveX control and Flash Video Playback
  • Certain legacy features such as playing older media formats in PowerPoint (upgrade to modern formats and they will play) and editing equations written in Equation Editor 3.0, which was used in older versions of Office (viewing works fine)
  • Certain email sending features, since Windows RT does not support Outlook or other desktop mail applications (opening a mail app, such as the mail app that comes with Windows RT devices, and inserting your Office content works fine)
  • Creating a Data Model in Excel 2013 RT (PivotTables, QueryTables, Pivot Charts work fine)
  • Recording narrations in PowerPoint 2013 RT
  • Searching embedded audio/video files, recording audio/video notes, and importing from an attached scanner with OneNote 2013 RT (inserting audio/video notes or scanned images from another program works fine)

Oh, and one more thing – it isn’t ready yet. When Windows RT devices become available they will include preview (i.e. Beta) editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. But don’t worry, when the fully working version (around November)  is ready, Microsoft will send out updates!

This could be a chance for Android apps like Quickoffice HD Pro, Documents To Go, OfficeSuite Pro and Google Docs to shine!