With the recent launch of Windows 8, you might be asking “Which versions of Office can I deploy to Windows 8 computers?” Well, the following versions of Office are supported on Windows 8 (and on Windows Server 2012, too):
- Office 2013
- Office 2010
- Office 2007
If you are considering deploying Office 2013, be sure to check out System Requirements for Office 2013, as well as other compatibility and deployment information in the Office 2013 library on TechNet.
In addition to the versions of OneNote and Lync that are available in Office 2013, there are also separate versions of OneNote and Lync that have been specifically designed to take advantage of the touch capabilities of Windows 8. Both of these apps are available for free through the Windows Store. For more information, see the following:
- OneNote and Lync Come to Windows Store blog post on the Office News blog
- Lync app
- OneNote app
- Demo of OneNote on a Windows 8 touch device from the Office 15-minute Webinar series
A few things you need to consider about these apps:
- These apps can’t be configured or managed by using Group Policy.
- Updates to these apps come through the Windows Store, not Windows Update.
- The apps can be installed and run side-by-side on the same computer as the Office 2013 versions.
- The OneNote app doesn’t support saving OneNote files to the local hard drive. You must save the files to a network location, like SkyDrive or SharePoint.
You can use Group Policy to block user access to the Windows Store and to specify a list of supported apps. Group Policy settings for the Windows Store are under Administrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsStore. For more information, see Managing Client Access to the Windows Store.
To find out whether other applications that your users are using will work on Windows 8, go to the Windows Compatibility Center.
Surface with Windows RT
The recent launch of Windows 8 also saw the launch of the Microsoft Surface device. The Microsoft Surface devices that are currently available run Windows RT. Windows RT is an edition of Windows 8 that is pre-installed on PCs and tablets (for example, the Microsoft Surface) that are powered by ARM processors.
So, your next question probably is “How do I deploy Office to a Surface with Windows RT device?” Actually, Windows RT already comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT installed. Office Home & Student 2013 RT includes the following applications:
- Word 2013 RT
- Excel 2013 RT
- PowerPoint 2013 RT
- OneNote 2013 RT
This version of Office has most of the same features as the Office Home & Student 2013 version that you can install on a PC. However, there are some differences. To see a list of those differences, check out the “What Office Home & Student 2013 features are unavailable in Office Home & Student 2013 RT?” section in Introducing Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview.
A couple of key things to note about Office and Windows RT devices:
- Office Home & Student 2013 RT does not include Outlook. Windows RT does include Internet Explorer, so you can use Outlook Web Access (OWA) to access Exchange Server-hosted e-mail. You can also use the Mail app that is included in Windows RT to access your e-mail.
- The first wave of Windows RT devices that ship have the Preview edition of Office Home & Student 2013 RT. When the final edition of Office Home & Student 2013 RT is available, Windows Update will automatically update the device to the final edition.
- You cannot install any other version of Office on to a device that is running Windows RT. This includes Office 365 ProPlus. Only apps from the Windows Store (for example, the OneNote app and the Lync app) can be installed on Windows RT. In the future, Microsoft Surface devices that run Windows 8 Pro will be available. Windows 8 Pro supports the installation of other versions of Office. [For more information about Office and the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, see the more recent blog post Office and the Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro device — what’s supported?]
- Office Web Apps and apps for Office are also supported on Windows RT, although you might experience some issues with installing apps for Office in the Preview edition. Those issues should be resolved after you update to the final edition of Office Home & Student 2013 RT.
- A device that is running Windows RT cannot be joined to an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain. Therefore, you can’t use Group Policy to manage and control the configuration of Office installed on a Windows RT device.
Here are some other resources about Windows RT and Office that you might want to look at:
- If you are interested in learning more about how Office is optimized for Windows RT, see the Building Office for Windows RT blog post on the Office Next blog.
- For more information about Windows RT, see Windows RT: Frequently asked questions.
- If you want to more technical details about Windows 8 for the ARM processor, see the Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture blog post on the Building Windows 8 blog.
- For a feature comparison between Windows 8 and Windows RT, see the Announcing the Windows 8 Editions blog post on the Blogging Windows blog.