I’m sure that you already know that if you get a Surface 2 or the older Surface RT, it comes pre-installed with Microsoft Office 2013 RT – which includes Word (RT version). If you have a Surface RT and haven’t upgraded to Windows 8.1 yet, the Windows RT 8.1 upgrade will also add Outlook to your Office apps so you may want to consider it.
Although Office 2013 RT is much like Office 2013, there are some differences. Namely there are some features of Word 2013 that are not included in the RT version, similar to PowerPoint RT – see our post PowerPoint on Surface RT: what’s not included.
So, here is what’s NOT included in Word RT on Microsoft Surface:
- Macros, Add-ins, Forms and Custom Programs – yes it’s true. If you use these functions on your other Windows devices, like your PC or laptop, you will not be able to use them on the Word RT version.
- SkyDrive Sync Integration – Although by default your Surface allows you to save to SkyDrive – OK, it’s now called OneDrive – you still need to be online. EXCEPT….the Windows 8.1 update now allows you to mark your OneDrive files to be available offline.This, however, is not done for you by default because of space limitations. So you have to turn it on yourself. See our post Windows 8.1 Quick Start Guide for instructions.
- Equation Editor 3.0 – this feature was used in older versions of Office and unfortunately the Word RT version does not support it. You can view the equations written in older version of Word but you cannot edit them.
- Group Policy Support – Surface RT/2 was designed as a personal device, not an enterprise device (Surface Pro/2 is enterprise) and so it cannot be managed with enterprise tools like Active Directory and Group Policy.
- Grammar check for some language versions of Word – this feature is available for some languages but not for others. Here are the languages it works with: “English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Danish, Italian, Norwegian Bokmal, Portuguese–Brazilian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese–Simplified, Chinese –Traditional and Korean” – per Microsoft.com.
So, in short, Word 2013 RT version is nearly the same as Word 2013. It has a few limitations but I would not call them deal-breakers. As a matter of fact, from my point of view, the fact that you have Office (including Word) bundled for free on a Surface 2 is a huge plus. My biggest complaint is the lack of Group Policy support but you have to understand that I am looking from the perspective of administrating the Surfaces in an enterprise environment. And from what we are told the Microsoft Surface was not designed for that – fair enough.
Note: MS Word 2013 RT is a desktop application. So, you can start it in the Metro Interface but it will open in Desktop mode.
Also note: If you sign into your Surface RT/2 using a Microsoft account, your Word documents and personal settings roam with you. It’s easy, just sign in and go. But you do need an active network connection 🙂
You may also like our posts on the Outlook series.
Joanna is a former IT Director for a major public university, who gave up a high paying career to blog full time. She is proud to be a professional geek. Joanna loves all things technology and Surface tablets are her passion. She and Tim created LoveMySurface.net to help others be more productive using these awesome tablets.