Microsoft Promises an Office Version with Metro Interface

Office 2013 runs in desktop mode on both Windows RT and Windows 8

Office 2013 is offered for free on the newly released Windows RT and is now up for grabs for Windows 8 adopters too, but in both cases it uses the desktop UI to provide access to its top-notch productivity tools.

But since Windows 8 and Windows RT rely so much on the Metro/Modern user interface, the Redmond-based technology giant is planning a new version of its productivity suite that will attempt to make the most of this new design.

Microsoft's Vice President of Office Program Management, P.J. Hough, said in an interview with Mashable that an Office flavor with Metro support would arrive at some point in the future.

Both OneNote and Lync are already available as Modern apps, so Word, Excel and PowerPoint are very likely to get similar versions anytime soon.

“I think the mistake would be to take what we have today on the desktop and somehow make it work in the Windows 8 environment. Over time, we will have to re-engineer the Office products — re-imagine them in new ways. We're committed to delivering a full set of Office experiences on Windows 8. We've gotten a lot of experience from OneNote and Lync, and we're going to continue down that path,” he said.

Hough admitted that Windows 8 was mostly optimized for touch and this is one of the reasons why Office isn’t yet capable of running the Metro UI.

Even though some of the features implemented into the new Office 2013 could be easily used in touch mode, others are not and it takes a lot of time to optimize them in this regard.

“Let's just say our apps were not naturally touch applications. I think if you look at what the Windows team did when they designed the interface, they obviously designed for touch first. In fact we did a lot of work in [the Office apps] to touch-enable them, but the contract Windows has for these particular apps is different than the internal capabilities of Office,” Hough explained.

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