Window 8 RT and Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.,)

Wow. That was quick. I already have a comment on the Windows 8 posting I did last night titled “Windows 8: Confusion everywhere—three main variants” (here).

Reader ‘friendlyfont’ asked: “Does this mean you cannot use MS Office with Windows 8 RT?”

Great question—don’t you just hate it when a trainer of facilitator at a lecture responds to one of you questions with “That’s a great question”? But it is a great question.

The answer is “no”, followed by a kind-of “yes”.

First the “No”. No, you cannot install Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2010 on Windows 8 RT. In fact you cannot install or use any full Windows version of Microsoft Office, including the new Office 2013, for use with Windows RT.

Now the “Yes”. However what Microsoft has done is create complete new installs of some of the Office components that will work with Windows 8 RT. The Office components you can get for Windows 8 RT are: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The main component missing here is Outlook. There is no Outlook for Windows 8 RT.

As far as I know this version of Office is called Office RT and a version of it comes installed as part of the Windows 8 RT install—but I am not certain about this.

It is important to note that the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote in Office RT are not full and complete copies of the real Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote that you get on Windows 7 or can get for Windows 8 Core and Pro. However, having said that, Microsoft say that about 90 percent of the most commonly used functions from these tools work in the Windows 8 RT versions exactly as they do in the real versions.

I no longer have an install of Windows 8 anywhere so I cannot try these Windows 8 RT-only versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote out.

One would assume that they are file format compatible with the real Office versions. By this I mean that hopefully you could start a document using real Word on Windows 7, then work on it somewhere else using Office RT Word, and then bring it back to your Windows 7 PC and everything will be okay. But until we start to hear how well this actually works I cannot be sure.

As far as I know there are no current plans to do a Publisher, Visio, or Access version for Windows 8 RT. If you need these then you should avoid Windows 8 RT.

Hope this helps you ‘friendlyfont’.

Update >>>

I just found this on the Microsoft site that tells you a bit more about Office RT and in particular the Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview version that is pre-installed with Windows 8 RT.

There is also this on Paul Thurrott’s Windows Super Site which covers Office RT on the Microsoft Surface RT tablet.