Microsoft Office 2013 Scheduled to Arrive Early July
Helpful tips from the 30th Signal Battalion

Story and Photo By 1st Lt. Emily Klinkenborg,
30th Signal Battalion

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Change can be great, but only if it is in the right direction. The 30th Signal Battalion Network Enterprise Center has found the right direction.

The NEC, which provides strategic Signal (AKA: Help Desk) support for thousands of Army end users across the Hawaii network, plans to deploy Microsoft Office 2013 in the next two weeks outside of normal duty hours. There have been changes to numerous functions on the updated software that may require patience and a little bit of practice. While change can be exasperating, rest assured that the NEC is always available to assist.

Careful preparation has been made for this transition. For the past three months, Civilians and Military personnel worked together to establish a four-phase operation to pave the way for the theater-wide upgraded version of Microsoft Office. The first three phases involved extensive testing and troubleshooting internally within the NEC to ensure that all outstanding issues were brought forward prior to its launch. Additionally, many individuals from the Signal community volunteered to participate in the test groups.

The test groups discovered a few major differences in the 2013 version. One highly visible difference is the removal of the eSign/Approve-it function. However, the new version of Microsoft Office has its own built-in signing option that ultimately improves functionality.

"The new Office has capabilities that save the user time. One of my favorite new features in Outlook is that it will tell you if the person you are about to send an email to has their out-of-office assistant turned on, so you can see that they are not available," said Lt. Col. Melissa Miles, 30th Signal Battalion Commander. "This saves you the time of sending an email to someone who won't be available to respond. I also really like that you can edit PDF files using Office, which wasn't possible in the past."

The results from the test groups suggest that the pros outweigh the cons in the new upgrade. Aside from its fresh, clean look, some fun features in Word and PowerPoint include a new magnetic alignment guide for various objects which makes lining up images far easier than merely guessing. In Excel, formatting a chart is now simple with tabs located next to the chart for convenience. Outlook has added a few new features that are sure to grab the attention of its users as well.

The NEC has created a Frequently Asked Questions portal page to help users transition to the new software. TTPs and How To documents can also be found on the page should users run into any issues. The portal page can be found at https://army.deps.mil/netcom/sites/516SB/30th/KB/
default.aspx.

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BREAK OUT BOX: For info on the upcoming Microsoft 2013 upgrade, visit:
https://army.deps.mil/netcom/sites/516SB/30th/KB/default.aspx.