What Office for RT lacks

Office for Windows 8 ARM devices doesn’t do everything Office for x86 machines can do

Microsoft is bundling a subset of Office applications with its power-pinching Windows 8 on ARM devices known as Windows RT, but the apps don’t do everything they can do on traditional PCs.

According to a Microsoft Office Next blog, Office Home & Student 2013 RT will include custom versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.  Conspicuously lacking is Outlook, which Microsoft addresses by including a separate mail program.

RELATED: Why Windows RT has a closed Windows 8 apps environment: power

MORE: Office for Windows RT to ship between November and January

But in addition to coming standard with Windows RT, these Office apps have been adapted to use power efficiently, and that means they drop some features available in the full Office version for x86 devices.

Office for RT doesn’t support macros, add-ins, and features that rely on ActiveX controls or third-party code such as the PowerPoint Slide Library ActiveX control and Flash Video Playback, the blog says.

In addition, certain legacy features such as playing older media formats in PowerPoint and editing equations written in Equation Editor 3.0, which was used in older versions of Office, won’t work. Microsoft notes that upgrading to modern media formats will enable them to play, and that viewing equations does work.

Also, certain email-sending features in Office aren’t available because Windows RT doesn’t support Outlook or other desktop mail apps.

Creating data tables in Excel, recording narrations in PowerPoint and searching embedded audio/video files, recording audio/video notes and importing from an attached scanner with OneNote 2013 RT aren’t supported either in the RT version, the blog says.

However, in Excel PivotTables, QueryTables, Pivot Charts work fine, as does inserting audio/video notes or scanned images from another program OneNote, according to the blog.

With those exceptions, “Office for Windows RT is fully-featured Office with complete document compatibility,” the blog says.

A quick comparison of Office and Office for RT reveals  they are similar, and the blog says the differences are subtle. “Windows RT tablets have special requirements for security, reliability, and battery life,” it says, “and we’ve worked to ensure that the RT version is well-suited for the platform.”

(Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Tim_Greene.)

More on Microsoft:

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Microsoft's sales model for Surface tablets is unfriendly to enterprises

If security were the only factor, Windows 8 would be a no-brainer

 Microsoft bets the farm on Metro 

Windows Server 2012 isn't available yet, but it's running Bing

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Demise of Cius offers lessons for Windows 8

Why aren’t Apple and Amazon dumping on Windows RT?

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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