Office 2013 for Microsoft Windows RT tablets won't support macros, third-party add-ins

Office 2013 for Microsoft Windows RT tablets won't support macros, third-party add-ins

Summary: The initial version included will be a Preview edition that can be updated to the full version in 2013.

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TOPICS: Microsoft, Tablets
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With the arrival of Windows RT tablets -- including Microsoft's new Surface RT models -- in a couple of months, a few details have emerged about the version of Office 2013 that is to be included with the new slates. And as you might expect, there will be some missing features that will likely be available on the version for the pricier Surface Windows 8 Pro tablets.

The Verge has discovered that the RT version of Office 2013 will lack the ability to support macros or Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts, both favorites of power users. You also won't be able to use third-party add-in utilities with the RT edition. According to one of The Verge's sources, there will be a few other (still undisclosed) "small" features that won't be part of Office Home & Student 2013 RT. The removals are supposedly related to preserving battery life and improving stability.

Considering that RT tablets are going to be marketed more toward consumers, the cut-down nature of Office 2013 RT shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, if you are a frequent user of macros and VBA scripts, you'd probably want to spring for the Pro slate anyway. What may be a little more surprising is that the Office version shipping with the initial run of Windows RT tablets will be labeled a "Preview" edition, which will be upgradeable to the full version in 2013. (Presumably there will be no cost to the upgrade.)

Will anyone considering purchasing a Windows RT tablet really miss these features from Office 2013? Will the missing features impact the success of Microsoft's RT tablet strategy? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below. 

Topics: Microsoft, Tablets

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Talkback

53 comments
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  • I don't see why not

    as long as the end product is still a good office suite.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Make no mistake

      Some users will not be happy to buy a device with a Preview version of Office 2013 RT. Even if they can upgrade at no additional cost to the finished product sometime in 2013.

      This smells like RIM releasing their Playbook without a native email client in their rush to market. For most consumers, Windows and Office are like peanut butter and jelly (and remember that Office 2010 won't run on ARM tablets). Releasing Windows RT-based tablets before Office 2013 is finalized will surely draw fire from users, tech journalists and bloggers.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Made a Mistake

        Dear Rabid: given that general availability for Windows 8 is October, but Office 2013 just recently reached CP status, to expect a full blown version to launch with Windows RT is a bit over the top, don't you think? Even without macros and VBA, Office 2013 Preview will be far superior to any other tablet solution (Docs to Go, QuickOffice, iWorks for iOS, Polaris) and I've tried all four on the iPad and/or Android tablets. In fact, if they can just get the iPad/Android sainted Angry Birds and fart apps for Metro in time, the availability of Office 2013 built in is going to be a very compelling argument for the Windows RT Surface tablet (not to mention REAL USB, micro SD support, and native HDMI out).
        dksmidtx
        • RE: Made a Mistake

          dksmidtx wrote:
          "to expect a full blown version to launch with Windows RT is a bit over the top, don't you think?

          Nope. It's over the top to release a product before it is complete. Thus, my comment regarding RIM (that clearly went over your head).

          Warm (actually, lukewarm) regards
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Is there a tech forum where the people are supportive?

            Hi. I am new to ZDNet. Is there a tech forum somewhere online, where the people are friendly, helpful, and supportive?
            WAKE UP MICROSOFT!!!!
        • You blew any and all credibility

          As soon as you went down the path of using such a lame example as fart apps you lost any and all credibility you might have begun with and I just stopped reading right there.
          non-biased
      • I don't know if I'd compare the two

        A native email client is essential to some people.

        I don't think macros are as essential.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • RE: I don't know if I'd compare the two

          My comments address the Windows RT tablet being released with a "Preview" of Office 2013 RT. For many, if not most, Windows users, a fully-functional version of Microsoft Office *IS* essential.

          I have no problem with Office 2013 RT not supporting macros and 3rd party add-ins. However, Microsoft would do well to make sure that document compatibility is better between Office 2013 RT and Office 2013 than what has been reported for iWork between the iPad and OS X.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Ah, my bad

            Wouldn't it depend more if it works or not?

            If they can throw together a working pre-release, I can see it being "good enough".

            And before you ask, no I'm not getting one. I'm doing most of my work on my Air now, I don't need a new device.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • With that logic...

            ...I would have never used Gmail as it was in beta for like....I dunno, 30 years?
            gomigomijunk
          • RE: With that logic...

            Google's Gmail service, during beta, was *FREE*. One cannot get Office 2013 RT unless one *PURCHASES* a Windows RT-based tablet (when they are finally available). Me? I'm not interested in purchasing beta software (whether it's included in a device by default or otherwise).

            See the difference?
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Except you're not buying it

            it comes free with the tablet.

            If you're going to get the tablet anyway, what's the matter? If you're getting a tablet just for Office, you have weird priorities to begin with. >_>
            Michael Alan Goff
          • RE: Except you're not buying it

            Michael Alan Goff wrote:
            "it comes free with the tablet.

            It would appear that Office 2013 RT will be provided by default with Windows RT tablets. From the article: "Presumably there will be no cost to the upgrade." Even if this is true, I'm fairly certain that Microsoft will be charging $ for both the OS, Windows RT, and their Office suite, Microsoft Office 2013 RT, as part of the total device cost. Thus, I would opine not free as the cost is embedded in the device cost.

            Michael Alan Goff also wrote:
            "If you're getting a tablet just for Office, you have weird priorities to begin with.

            Microsoft's strategy is to use Office 2013 RT as bait. If one does not require Microsoft Office 2013 RT on a tablet, then get an iPad or Android tablet. Both iOS and Android have more maturity on ARM-based mobile devices and their associated app stores have built up a lot more apps.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • But I want a Windows Tablet????

            N/c
            eargasm
          • Who buys a tablet for Office? I do!

            "If you're getting a tablet just for Office, you have weird priorities to begin with". This isn't the case. I purchased the Surface precisely because it has Office. For me, this isn't a toy to play games on and watch YouTube. I want a device that works in the office, on client sites, sat in the coffee shop at the airport and whilst I'm flying. The iPad doesn't do this precisely because it doesn't have Office. Yes, there are office suites out there, but they're not the standard tool used by the vast majority of businesses around the world. What sets the Surface apart from tablets like the iPad and Android devices is support for the standard platforms that most business users work with on a daily basis.
            329400-b43d3
          • Beta software & iPhone

            "Me? I'm not interested in purchasing beta software (whether it's included in a device by default or otherwise)."

            If that's the case, It's over the top for Apple to release a product before it is complete, since Siri still in Beta and it's included with the iPhone 4s, right?
            dvm
          • You are just howling, as your moniker suggests

            Office 2013 on the Rt Tablet is free also--no?
            eargasm
          • You are just howling, as your moniker suggests

            Office 2013 on the Rt Tablet is free also--no?
            eargasm
          • What iWorks/iPad/OSX issues are you talking about?

            I'm honestly asking as I use all the above with no issues as of yet and want to know what I might run into if there is actually issues.
            non-biased
        • So...

          You're guessing that it's going to be more expensive because of it, but you have no proof.

          As for them using Office 2013 as "bait", it's because it is slightly. But nobody is going to buy a tablet just because they might be able to run Office. You can buy several pieces Office software on other OS's that do "just enough".

          I would hope that a person would get a surface tablet (RT) because of the fact that it will likely tie into an ecosystem.
          Michael Alan Goff