Windows RT tablets and Office 2013 RT

Yesterday we attempted to explain the key things that you need to know about the new version of Windows 8 called Windows RT. As you will have noted, one of the great things about Windows RT is that it will come with a version Office 2013 called Office Home & Student 2013.

What’s set Windows tablets apart from the crowd to date is the ability to run full versions of Microsoft Office software locally on a device.

There are dozens of apps out there for iPad and Android tablets that attempt to mimic the functionality of Microsoft Office, but without fail they all come up short (and that includes Microsoft’s own version of OneNote for iPad and Android). As a result, consumer tablets are generally considered to be consumption devices, not office productivity devices.

The next generation of Windows 8 tablets – including Windows RT tablets – will change that thanks to the inclusion of Office 2013 RT for Windows RT.

Office 2013 Home & Business RT will include touch optimised ARM versions of the following Office programs:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote

Office 2013 for Windows RT apps look and feel very much like the standard Office 2013 versions, but they have been optimised for touch tablets and the ARM processor. That’s all good news for students, home users and casual computer users.

Businesses who want to run a tablet on their company network should beware of a couple of limitations:

  • Macros and add-ins are not supported under office RT

  • Outlook in not available for Windows RT – some mail features can be accessed using the standard Windows RT mail app
  • Recording audio and video or scanning into OneNote 2013 RT is not supported
  • Windows RT cannot join a Windows domain, so you will need to use a cloud service to keep your files in synch.

Intel based Windows tablets will be able to run the full version of any of the Office 2013 suites with full functionality. So if you need to run macros or connect to your windows domain, talk to us about a tablet that will suit your needs.

More information on Office 2013 RT on the Office Blog.


  1. Chris said on December 8, 2012

    Any good sketching/drawing programs for Windows RT? Ones where you can sketch them up and then export via email or import into other programs?

  2. Tablet PC said on December 19, 2012

    Sorry Chris, I’ve not really bothered to spend much time on Windows RT as it suffers from the same limitations as Android tablets and iPads – ARM CPUs. They’re generally not powerful enough for complex work.