Getting the Office 2013 Customer Preview Beta

Created: Wednesday, July 25, 2012, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:32 am


This post refers to the Office 2013 Preview — this was pre-release software that is no longer available. All techniques mentioned in this post will not work with the final release version of Office 2013.

Now that Microsoft has released a publicly available customer preview of Office 2013, there’s so much to explore and learn. In a few months, the next version of PowerPoint will be officially released — but you do not have to wait that much longer to play with it. In fact, you can get your hands on this new version of Office (and PowerPoint) today, as we shall show you in the rest of this post.

There are two Office 2013 customer preview releases that you can download — both of them differ in how they are downloaded and installed:

  1. The public preview of Office 2013 can be downloaded from Micosoft’s Office preview site.

    The site uses the term Office 365 all the time rather than Office 2013, although the downloaded product is still called Office 2013. Sounds confusing? You get to install Office 2013 as part of your Office 365 subscription. Still sounds confusing? OK, let’s just call this the new version of Office.

    This new version installs straight from Microsoft’s servers using a cloud-enabled technology called CTR (Click-To-Run). That means there’s no ISO, MSI, or other setup files to download. All you need is Windows 7 or 8 installed, and a nice fat pipe connection to the internet. Also add a few hours to the requirements list — don’t try this if you need to be somewhere else in an hour, although I know people who needed 7 hours for the installation to get done! It took me an hour and half to get done with this installation — the installed version number was MSO (15.0.4128.1014) 32-bit.

  2. Yes, there’s also a conventional MSI package available that runs the setup locally on your system — if you choose this option, you cannot run Office 2013 along an older version of Office. You get this version by clicking the link right at the bottom of this page — Microsoft probably wanted to make this link as difficult as possible for you to find!

In addition, there’s also a third option available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers — this is a conventional download option. You essentially get a simple EXE file that works even if you have an older version of Office installed. Why doesn’t everyone else get this simple download? That’s the price you pay for not having an MSDN or a TechNet subscripton! It looks like you end up with the same product with the CTR or the MSDN / TechNet download — the version number for my MSDN download version was the same: MSO (15.0.4128.1014) 32-bit.

In subsequent posts we will explore all these installation options, especially the CTR experience.

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