Office 2013 reading features in Word detailed

With the new Office 2013 preview version now available for Windows users to check out, many of the preview users have been writing documents on the new version of Microsoft Word. However, Microsoft said it wanted to improve not just the writing features of Word but also how people read documents on the application.

In a new post on the Office Next blog, Microsoft goes into some details about how they have tried to make documents look and read better in the new Word. The blog states:

When you open a document in Read Mode, you’ll immediately notice that we’ve minimized the application UI as much as possible. When you read, the UI can be a distraction. Our goal was to eliminate distractions so the content had your full attention.

The new Word also supports Office 2013's full screen mode, which gets rid of all of the user interface elements. For touch screen-based hardware, the new Word has been optimized so that users can read each page of a document with a flick of a finger.

The Read Mode in the new Word also has sliders so that users can adjust the size of the font or the width of the columns in the document. It can also re-size the Windows itself. The blog states:

Whatever size you make the window, or if you rotate your tablet between landscape and portrait modes, the screen will always be divided into equally sized columns that stay as close as possible to the column width you prefer.

The new version of Word also includes some handy reference tools when you read a document, such as being able to look up a word in a dictionary, a quick translation in case the document is not in your native language and a way to search for topics in a document via Bing.

Source: Office Next blog | Image via Microsoft

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14 Comments

My only complaint when it comes to reading documents in Word 2010 is that image intense documents lag like crazy when scrolling when compared to other forms of text+picture content (web pages, and even Adobe PDF). As far as the interface getting in the way, that was more-or-less not a problem with Office 2010, because it was easy to hide the ribbon.

I've actually found it much faster and much, much smoother than any other program I've tried. Though, I'm guessing that these days with Word, that also has a lot to do with your graphics card too.

~Johnny said,
I've actually found it much faster and much, much smoother than any other program I've tried. Though, I'm guessing that these days with Word, that also has a lot to do with your graphics card too.

I would hope my graphics card is OK for a word document! I'll have to check out 2013 to see if it is any smoother.

Office 2013 uses the GPU to accelerate rendering; you can override this and have it use the CPU instead, which may potentially increase performance if you have a strong CPU but weak GPU.

To do this go to File>Options>Advanced, then choose "Disable hardware graphics acceleration" under Display.

Shadrack said,
My only complaint when it comes to reading documents in Word 2010 is that image intense documents lag like crazy when scrolling when compared to other forms of text+picture content (web pages, and even Adobe PDF). As far as the interface getting in the way, that was more-or-less not a problem with Office 2010, because it was easy to hide the ribbon.
Office 2013 so far is extremely smooth for me. I think it's your graphic card that is causing the lag. Office 2013 uses hardware graphic acceleration, which causes problems with older graphic cards.

Shadrack said,

I would hope my graphics card is OK for a word document! I'll have to check out 2013 to see if it is any smoother.

My mistake, I'm so tired I thought you were talking about 2013 in the first place . Yeah, 2013 is leagues smoother than 2010 in complex document rendering and responsiveness

Arkose said,
Office 2013 uses the GPU to accelerate rendering; you can override this and have it use the CPU instead, which may potentially increase performance if you have a strong CPU but weak GPU.

To do this go to File>Options>Advanced, then choose "Disable hardware graphics acceleration" under Display.


This will also improve the Save feature in large to very large documents.

~Johnny said,

My mistake, I'm so tired I thought you were talking about 2013 in the first place . Yeah, 2013 is leagues smoother than 2010 in complex document rendering and responsiveness

Haha..ok, cool. I'll try it out. Thanks.

Yeah, our documents are generally 100-200MB and filled with photos. Compressing the pictures helps, but REALLY shouldn't have to do that in this day and age. My laptop is a relatively new ThinkPad with 8GB of ram and an i7 software (I think I got it at the end of 2010). I can't think of the model, but I know the graphics card is nVidia mobile something with dedicated VRAM... modern games run relatively smoothly on the system, anyway. But Word 2010 documents lag when it comes to pages with photos.

link6155 said,
Office 2013 so far is extremely smooth for me. I think it's your graphic card that is causing the lag. Office 2013 uses hardware graphic acceleration, which causes problems with older graphic cards.

But that's not a new feature. Graphics acceleration is present in Word 2010 as well.

Could the delay come from decompression? Even though images are displayed using the GPU, they're still decompressed using the CPU. It would be a waste of memory to decompress all the images in the document even if they don't get displayed so they're probably kept in the original compressed format until they scroll into range. Thus, the decompression bottleneck might be enough to slow down the scrolling.

Pam14160 said,

This will also improve the Save feature in large to very large documents.

I don't see how disabling graphics acceleration would improve saving. Could you explain, please?

TomJones said,

But that's not a new feature. Graphics acceleration is present in Word 2010 as well.

Could the delay come from decompression? Even though images are displayed using the GPU, they're still decompressed using the CPU. It would be a waste of memory to decompress all the images in the document even if they don't get displayed so they're probably kept in the original compressed format until they scroll into range. Thus, the decompression bottleneck might be enough to slow down the scrolling.

Word 2010 had basic graphics acceleration, for things like smart art and some image effects. In 2013, everything is GPU accelerated with Direct3D and DirectWrite (and much more efficiently than it was before too), from images to tables to the text itself. There's also been some other obvious responsiveness improvements gone on underneath too, I can only hope that the Office blog goes into detail about the improvements one day

Shadrack said,

Haha..ok, cool. I'll try it out. Thanks.

Yeah, our documents are generally 100-200MB and filled with photos. Compressing the pictures helps, but REALLY shouldn't have to do that in this day and age. My laptop is a relatively new ThinkPad with 8GB of ram and an i7 software (I think I got it at the end of 2010). I can't think of the model, but I know the graphics card is nVidia mobile something with dedicated VRAM... modern games run relatively smoothly on the system, anyway. But Word 2010 documents lag when it comes to pages with photos.

Yeah man office 2013 handles these massive documents easily you can read all about the underlying code that lets it do this on their blog (if you can be bothered)

My problem is getting rid of the program. I installed and the uninstalled Skydrive, but there is no uninstall program for Office-13 or -365 (same). After wasting hours on the phone with Microsoft support I was directed to a forum page where there was a complex registry editing set of instructions to remove it. I am not confident enough to do that.

The trouble is that the program interferes with the running of the installed Office 2010 programs in Excel and Word. I now have to open the program and select the file I want from the "recent" file list.

I think Microsoft have a nerve promoting these "click-to-run" programs without a proper uninstall one included.

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