Getting the Office 2013 Preview

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Finding the stand-alone version of Office 2013 isn’t made easy – here’s how.

Microsoft’s preference for the public trial of Office 2012 is the cloud based system with their ‘click to run’ technology and streaming services. You can do that starting here.

That might suit some people however why be the guinea pig for fairly new technologies on top of new software?  A more cautious approach is to download and install Office 2013 ‘straight’.

So how to get Office 2013 software without the garnishes?


I know you’ve heard it before but please, please don’t rush into trying the latest Office preview unless you’re prepared for trouble. The software is fairly stable and works quite well but it is still in the testing stages. If you have a problem you’re pretty much on your own and certainly Microsoft support won’t be any help.

Go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/hh973391.aspx?wt.mc_id=TEC_114_1_33 and waaay down the bottom of the page you’ll see a tiny link to Download the .msi package now.

You’ll need a Windows ID to login. Eventually you’ll get to a download page.

Office 2013 - preview download page image from Getting the Office 2013 Preview at Office-Watch.com

The 32-bit download is the most prominent while the 64-bit version is further down the page.

32-bit Office 2013 Preview – Professional Plus – 640MB

64-bit Office 2013 Preview – Professional Plus – 720MB

The installation process is unchanged from Office 2010 or Office 2007. You might want to choose ‘Customize’ and remove some programs that don’t apply to you like Lync and InfoPath.

After installation follow steps 5, 6 and 7 on the download page to activate the software.

Microsoft says that “Please note the traditional installation does not support fast streaming or side-by-side operation with older versions of Office, and you will need to uninstall existing Office programs on your PC.”

Fast Streaming is the installation of Office components via an online installation as required. ‘Side-by-Side’ operation means running earlier versions of Office on the same computer – but in a different way than has been possible in the past.


Can’t install ‘side-by-side’?

Microsoft says you can’t install Office 2013 in the ‘traditional’ way alongside earlier versions of Office. But that doesn’t explain why the ‘traditional’ Office 2013 installation lets you explicitly replace or keep existing versions of Office.

Office 2013 preview  kleep versions image from Getting the Office 2013 Preview at Office-Watch.com

So what’s going on? You can run Office 2013 (Outlook excepted) on the same computer as earlier versions. It’s not recommended because it’s never been prudent to mix preview software with release versions on the same machine.

The statements about not supporting side-by-side with earlier versions and “you will need to uninstall existing Office programs on your PC” seems to have more to do with a strong Microsoft’s marketing desire to move people to a cloud based service and away from traditional installations.


You can but don’t

If you want to run Office 2013 on the same computer as earlier versions of Office it’s best to use a virtual machine – either as part of Windows or VMWare Workstation. That isolates one version of Office entirely from another.

You’ve never been able to co-exist Outlook versions on the one computer – mostly because you can’t share the Outlook .PST/OST data file.

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