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Win RT Rev of Office Missing Key Features

The more I hear about Win RT, the more it kind of makes sense. It is a version of Windows 8 aimed at ARM  devices that will run a lot longer on a single charge. Check.

It will presumably be on machines with solid drives so it will boot almost instantly (and the drives should hardly ever crash). Check.

And it will provide a pure tablet experience, albeit with a keyboard and real productivity, so it will be more straightforward to use than the desktop version of Windows 8 -- which can't decide whether it is a touch tablet or a traditional PC. Double check.

So the news that Office for Win RT doesn't have each and every feature of its fuller Win 8 counterpart doesn't surprise or disturb me. I don't want each and every feature. I don't' like each and every feature. Each and every feature can take a bloody hike as far as I'm concerned.

We are hearing that Office for RT won't support third-party add-ins. Okay, this is bad. I can think of 27 other features they could dump to add this one back in.

Microsoft is also reportedly dropping VBA and macro support. Ouch. Again, I could fire up that list for you Microsoft.

But if we assume that Win RT is a companion machine, and, in a corporate context, is used on the road, on a train or in a lobby, maybe these items aren't crucial. The machine isn't part of a corporate workflow. That is reserved for your other connected device that has the macros or is customized with VBA.

What say you? Do you need VBA, macros and third-party tools in a companion machine? Does Win RT make sense?

Make it all make sense to me at

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/08/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 Randy Vande Griend Rock Valley, IA

It is 2012 and ARM tablets will mature for years to come. Imagine that by 2015, VBA reappears in all product lines. Then we will understand how this came about and accept the bridge products now.

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 Tom Pittsburgh

I generally agree with the comments here. It is a bad plan to forgo VBA/Macro support. If I can get a VBA/Macro runtime that will allow functionality of the document without providing the functionality to actually impliment new code, fine. But to my non-programmer mind, that is not how I understand it works - I would think any runtime would need the whole of that functionality and adding the ability to impliment it would just be adding the view to the software to interact with it. As for the third party software support - eh, I can take it or leave it. Of course most I know of are just specialized VBA so it would resolve itself it the paragraph above were resolved....

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 Bill Milwaukee, WI

I know a lot of power users would like full product on everything, but 95% of users only need the. ASIC functions. MSFT is making the right call. If you are distributing macros throughout an Enterprise, you need to be looking at better tools anyway.

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 Bill Los Angeles

They'd be better off simplifying the user interface than emliminating these things, if this is to be a traveling companion, it doesn't look like you'll be using it for many presenatations. It may make the system more secure without those virus breeding grounds:)

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 David Chicagoland

I can't imagine how MSFT decided to eliminate VBA and Macros, they are part of what makes Office so powerful. I use macros/VBA in Excel in almost every spreadsheet. MS Access is, of course, useless without VBA (and Macros). Without these capabilities MSFT will be selling 20% of MS Offices' capabilities for 100% of the prices.

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 TheKman58 SouthEast USA

Why would the person needing this type of functionality not have the Pro device? I view RT as more a consumer or non-power user device. Do we know how long the battery life is for Surface Pro? Intel is making great strides in that area and Windows 8 is using as less energy was possible. We are talking a free version of the software.

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 Steve Noe Raleigh, NC

Give me Office Functionality that is fully compatible with my MSFT Office Desktop including Outlook, Word and OneNote with battery life to last as long as my iPad, and I'll figure out how to segment my life so I can carry only the functions I need! I love my iPad but I depend on Office and iPad apps don't play THAT well with it. I hope Windows 8 on the tablet will be my new portable device for business - if not, MSFT partners like me will be carrying iPads to business sites.

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