Microsoft talks about touch features in Word 2013

With the release of the Office 2013 preview version a few weeks ago, Microsoft hyped up the touch screen-based features in the productivity software suite. However, Microsoft couldn't just adapt its current mouse and keyboard code to support touch screens in Office 2013, especially for the popular Word software program.

In a new post on the official Word blog, Microsoft goes over how it put in touch-based features in Word 2013. It used an example to show how hard it would be to adapt mouse controls for touch devices:

Let’s imagine you have a pointing device of some kind. It reports a pointer down message, then a drag, and finally a pointer up message. What do you expect to happen? If your pointing device is the left button on a mouse, you expect to create a selection over the range of that drag. But when that pointing device is your finger, you expect the document to scroll.

Microsoft said it created a new way to navigate through Word documents on touch screens. Word 2013 automatically adjusts the content of a Word document to fit a window. The blog says that Microsoft set up a way for users to access a "zoom overlay" that previews what the text in the document will look like before pinching it with fingers on a touch screen product.

The Word team also worked with the Microsoft Excel team in offering Word 2013 users selection handles that, which used on a touch screen, can select cells, rows and columns on a table. The blog adds, "For figures, we added in live layout and the ability to drill into complex figures such as charts and SmartArt. We also made the handles larger on figures, so you can more easily grab them to resize or rotate."

And what if a user is typing on a virtual keyboard while using Word 2013? Microsoft states, "Now, Word can figure out exactly where the keyboard is and automatically adjust the content to stay above the keyboard. This allows you to type a lengthier memo without needing to manually scroll the document."

Source: Official Word blog | Image via Microsoft

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17 Comments

I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

The Office team exist in their own private world.

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

Because two finger sized selection points would look great on a 4 inch screen. You do understand there is a difference between tablets and phones, right?

McKay said,

The Office team exist in their own private world.

That's not an excuse or a valid reason.... they're all MICROSOFT. A great company would stay unified even if it does have different divisions.

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?
Windows phone and Windows 8 are both Modern (metro), however styled differently. Although Office always didn't quite fit Windows, it's something that can be use. In this case, it's not exactly the same as windows 8, but it does fit in somewhat.

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

It doesn't look the same now, but how do we know what it looks like in WP8?

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

I can't lend you my shoulder if you want to cry

Since when has microsoft ever been consistent lately.
Heck, they can't even decide whether to ditch or stick with metro as a name.
And windows 8? Don't even get me started with how much inconsistency there is in that department.

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

If Microsoft hated consistency, they wouldn't be doing everything their doing with Metro. Of course, I personally believe the Office team in particular isn't being as consistent as the rest of Microsoft since, although all of Office 2013 uses the Metro design language, the only Office 2013 app that is an actual Metro app is OneNote, so, I guess...

andrewbares said,

That's not an excuse or a valid reason.... they're all MICROSOFT. A great company would stay unified even if it does have different divisions.


I believe all of Microsoft's divisions are unified more so than ever. Except for the Office division.

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

Perhaps it will be different by time it's released. Or maybe WP8 might end up matching in style.

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

Microsoft also doesn't seem to know what anti-aliasing is.

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?

Consistency has never been Microsoft's strong suit.

andrewbares said,

That's not an excuse or a valid reason.... they're all MICROSOFT. A great company would stay unified even if it does have different divisions.

Ya you have NO FREAKING clue how Microsoft works.

Imagine herding cats, then imagine herding 50 cat leaders of cat herds.

Even back in the Win95 days, the Office team was freaking recreating the OS Dialogs, even when they did not have to, to add the functionality they wanted. They just didn't give a crap, and hat is how it was.

In the early 00's one of the things that hurt the TabletPC was the Office team dumping a lot of the writing features. For example, you could wordprocess using your own handwriting, without conversion to text, but would handle the leading, word space, kerning and editing like it was a normal font.

The office team is independent and have had idiots doing crazy stuff at time that the Windows team has hated.

There is also the fact that Windows NT is a highly complex OS technology, and often even App and MSPAINT level developers do not fully understand what the OS is doing and will sometimes recreate functionality that already exists in the OS. (This ha been a big problem with traditional *nix programmers moving to Microsoft, as they are spending time with code that is outdated on Windows, but sadly still needed on *nix OS models. (Just writing for an Object based OS and thinking full time in lower level object interactions, let alone code and higher level Object based interfaces is a challenging transition for a *nix minded developer.


a0me said,

Consistency has never been Microsoft's strong suit.

This has a lot of truth at App integration, as Microsoft sees themselves as a platform/OS provider and always assumed developers would fill the voids and create the interaction to sell software. This seldom has happened like planned though.

However when it comes to core consistency, you never had to worry if Delete would work or Backsapce would work nor worry how they would work.

Full Keyboard usability of Windows and that level of consistency is something Microsoft pulled off rather well, along with a lot of other CUI things that were drilled into the OS and developers had to work to break them.

For example:
I had a former pupil contact me recently as she is on the board of a university that was putting in place a new SharePoint system. The person demonstrating to the board how to work SharePoint was unfamiliar with it and was a life long Mac user.

My former pupil took over the introduction/class and not only was demonstrating features and helping set up SharePoint features for the board.

Afterwards was surprised when people were asking how long she used SharePoint., which she replied that she never seen it before. She explained it was just simple stuff as it works like all other Microsoft products and follows basic usability concepts.

And she mentioned my name as a past instructor that taught the basics of user interfaces and core Microsoft usability concepts.

It is these core concepts that people forget unless they spend time going between a PC/Mac/Linux and noticing the little crap on OS X and Linux that just doesn't always work the same way, nor work at all sometimes and can make someone crazy.

Edited by thenetavenger, Aug 17 2012, 6:14pm :

BajiRav said,
I like how the selection handles look completely different from the ones on Windows Phone. I guess Microsoft just hates consistency?
well that's what they look like in windows 8, i'm pretty sure windows phone 8 will be changed accordingly

thenetavenger said,
However when it comes to core consistency, you never had to worry if Delete would work or Backsapce would work nor worry how they would work.

Simple example: why Word, PowerPoint and Excel -which are part of the same suite, Microsoft biggest selling application "Office"- have completely different behaviors when you open multiple windows? That's right there is inconsistent and extremely annoying at the same time, and this happens with one of the biggest selling application in the world.

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