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12/2/2012
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Add Apps To Office 2013 on Windows 8/RT

Office 2013, especially the preview version of Office Home & Student 2013 RT that comes with the Microsoft Surface tablet, changes the model for writing add-on programs. There are now Office apps and an Office app section in the Windows Store. Many of these apps are free, but it's easy to see enterprise-oriented apps being developed and charged for. Microsoft's implementation of the apps in Office 2013 is clumsy in some ways, but promising.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 for ARM-based tablets, ships with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT. Among the features missing, when compared to previous Office versions as well as Office 2013 for x86/x64 processors, are macros, add-ins, and content that requires ActiveX (Microsoft ActiveX and Silverlight are not supported in Windows RT).

But Microsoft made up for these deficiencies in part by introducing an app model for Office that adds capabilities to the various Office programs. You can make your own apps -- basically webpages that are hosted inside an Office client application -- or buy them in the Office App Store. I tried one of these new apps for Office 2013 on my Surface tablet and saw that it actually worked. I'll step you through the Office app installation process and try to give you an idea of how one app works in the new Office 2013 world view.

Apps for Office 2013 has the potential to provide high quality and useful add-on functions for Office on the desktop or tablet in a much easier fashion than previous Office add-ons. Here are some other references if you are interested in creating your own apps using Web development techniques.

Name: Apps for Office 2013
Price: Determined per-app by author, many free

Apps for Office 2013 works with the Office RT version bundled with Microsoft's Surface with Windows RT tablets. For now, all of the apps are available for free. And, some could enhance your use of Office 2013 on the Surface tablet.
Pro:
  • Several potentially useful apps for Office 2013 RT; Word, Excel, and PowerPoint available for free.
Con:
  • Non-intuitive multiple-step installation process.
  • Does not provide over-the-air (OTA) remote installation from a Web page on a different computer.

Click through to the pages that follow for a closer look at apps for Office 2013, how to install them and how they work.

Next slide: What apps are available?

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