Outlook 2013 RT coming to Surface RT – and more

Outlook 2013 RT coming to Surface RT – and more

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Hi. I’ve posted here a few times but I haven’t really introduced myself. I’m Brian Hall, and I joined the Surface team several months ago. I learned about how cool Surface was the first time many of you did when Panos announced it last June. I went to our local Microsoft store right when it became available and bought mine. And I loved it as did my wife and kids (my oldest liked that he got his own picture and his own pin. Shhh. It’s his birthday.). I met more people in random places who loved their Surface as a very productive tablet or were intrigued with mine. And so when I got a chance to come work on the Surface team, helping to tell the Surface story to more people, helping Surface users tell their stories, and generally just getting more people to recognize how great Surface is, I jumped at it.

I love Surface Pro, but I think I like Surface RT even more. I love it for its size, weight, battery life, and of course that I can get things done on the same device that is my personal tablet. Mine has been partly appropriated by the kids (my wife Edie got her own), but I use it in particular when I travel and when I’m doing work at home. I see how great it is today and see the very strong promise for the future.

There frankly has been one big thing missing for me, though. It’s the same thing that Edie asked about when she came back from a forestry industry conference. (Seriously, they sound really interesting, even though not that many people wear chaps or have chainsaws). She came back and talked about a guy she met who had a Surface and was showing it off to other people. He said the one thing he really wanted was Outlook.

That made a lot of sense to me.

In my previous role I helped to deliver a new email service to the world, Outlook.com. When we took a fresh look at the email landscape, it was clear to us that many people love Outlook and wanted a great email service to go with it.

I am also someone that has lived in Outlook when I’m doing real work. It’s how I email for work, know where I need to be and schedule time with other people, and manage all my contacts. So while I liked the Mail app for touch, especially after the updates in March, when it was time to do real work, I needed Outlook.

So I am thrilled for myself, for Edie’s colleague, and for everyone else who really likes Outlook to point out that all Surface RT users will get Outlook 2013 RT, alongside a lot of other cool stuff coming with Windows 8.1. Tami Reller announced this just recently at Computex. This means that in addition to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, which all Surface RT users already have, their Surface will get Outlook 2013 RT as part of Windows 8.1 for free via the Windows Store.

We’ll be able to use Surface RT better for work, with some more IT blessing (but not too much, please).

I use my Surface RT for work quite a bit, and bring it in occasionally. It’s my personal tablet, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be able to jump into work mode at times too. To date, though, it hasn’t been able to work with the corporate network as well as I’d like.

So I’m excited to also point out that the Windows team also announced this week that there are a number of new business features and enhancements that will also come to Surface customers with the Windows 8.1 update. We’ll have better access to the corporate network and better VPN options. And IT departments who want to ensure my device is safe enough to access resources and store corporate files will also be able to do. Surface RT with Windows 8.1 will have strong mobile device management capabilities. This will let the IT department manage some settings, give certificates, and protect data, even if it’s my personal system if I want to let them do that to get access to work resources.

The Surface Type Cover and Touch Cover are about to get even better.

We’ve talked about how we keep making improvements across Surface. This is just making a great product even better.

One of the things I like most about Surface is the Type Cover. I like Touch Cover, but after having banged away on laptop keyboards for many years, I’m just more comfortable with Type. I had used a Lenovo laptop for years and loved that keyboard, and have loved Type Cover just as much since I made the switch to Surface.

At times I have missed some of the dedicated keys on my old keyboard, though. For instance just today I was kicking into a presentation with PowerPoint and instinctively hit F5. On Type Cover and Touch Cover, that is also the key for Search and so I ended up in the search screen rather than what I had intended, which was to start the presentation from the first slide. I figured that out quickly, hit escape, and then Fn-F5 and was in business.

But with an update that will come in about a week for Surface, we’ll have the ability to toggle between what the keys on the top row do, get some quick access to other capabilities like screenshots through shortcuts, and just make some things like paging easier to do with one hand. These include:

Fn + Caps:

Locks F1-F12 into being function keys. Do it again and you get the charms, volume, Home, End, etc. if you are in the function lock mode, you can get the inverse options by pressing the Fn key, naturally

Fn + <spacebar>:

Print Screen

Fn + <spacebar> + Alt:

Print Screen for the in-focus App only

Fn + Del:

Brightness Up

Fn + Backspace:

Brightness Down

Fn + <left>:


Fn + <right>:


Fn + <up>:

Page Up

Fn + <down>:

Page Down

Surface is great and only getting better. I wanted to take this chance to introduce myself and highlight a few things I’m pretty excited about that are upcoming with Surface with Outlook 2013 RT, manageability, and Type Cover and Touch Cover getting even more productive. I hope you are excited about these as well.

Brian Hall
General Manager, Microsoft Surface

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  • ladumond
    1 Posts

    RE:  Microsoft Outlook (office) for surface rt.  I just purchased a surface rt & while it had word, excel & powerpoint, it didn't have outlook mail.  How do I get that program/app for my surface rt?

    This likely means that the Surface RT you purchased is running Windows RT, which was originally installed at the factory.  In order to get Outlook on your Surface, you'll need to upgrade to Windows RT 8.1. The update is free, and this post on the Windows Blog (blogs.windows.com/.../windows-8-1-now-available.aspx) is a great resource on what's new as well as how to get the update from the Windows store.  

    Enjoy your new device!

  • chriswong
    6 Posts

    And enable the click sounds for the trackpad mouse buttons, in addition to the existing click sounds for all the other buttons.  Kind of an obvious one here since the sounds almost take the place of the tactile presses of the Type keyboard...

  • robgordon
    1 Posts

    Great, can't wait for these updates to be previewed June 26th... *Really* want Outlook and the other improvements look like good improvements..

    A Juno Pulse VPN client is the single biggest thing I need right now though as its preventing the use of the Surface RT for work outside the office.

  • samcode7
    2 Posts

    Will the keyboard get updates to support Win8 gestures? Like many of today's trackpad. Please provide it, as this is the feature that I think is going to be really helpful.

  • NM8
    1 Posts

    I own an RT and love it... except for forced use of SkyDrive. As someone that likes to use your Surface for work at MS, you probably don't have an IT policy that prohibits use of third party cloud storage.  However, most corporations and government IT policies will likely never allow this since it puts files in someone else's control.  Not having the ability to sync OneNote and my other documents over USB or Bluetooth is maddening and keeps me from recommending Surface to coworkers.  If you really love Surface for business, you'd think MS would make it more business IT policy friendly.

    You can use the RT desktop version of OneNote and save those notebooks locally.  If you enable Windows File Backup, you can also auto save your work on your SD.  You can also then plug your USB to your RT and sync your OneNote notebook.

    Nice thing about Microsoft products is that typically there is more than one way to do things.

  • jbigelow
    4 Posts

    Will Windows 8.1 for Surface RT be coming as a preview at the end of the month? Some of the press I've been reading has been reporting that only Surface Pro will be getting the preview build and RT users will have to wait until later in the year.

  • relmsp
    1 Posts

    Glad to see executive support for: Surface RT (the form factor is unbeatable; I think too many users want everything and the kitchen sink packed into their device. With RT, I lavish in 10-hr. battery life, and use it also as a light, satisfying e-reader with 16:9 screen ratio and the awesome, napped felt feel of the microfiber on my Touch cover. When I need heavy-duty computing, I use Remote Desktop or, better yet, a program called Team Viewer for full control of a PC on which I install any and everything I need). I am as vocal and enthusiastic an evangelist for this product and its direction as you could want. That said, some constructive criticism (and this is perhaps one of the few forums where I think crying out in the wilderness actually makes sense): please put the MS foot firmly on the accelerator to bring VPN (particularly Cisco) connectivity to the Surface. Using Remote Desktop won't work for most office environments without it, and, needless to say, corporate computer users are still the "high ground" of Microsoft loyalists. Please enable your power users by giving them this crucial need (which, ironically, Apple does offer in its iPad, though I firmly believe that iPad is currently still no more than a toy, as it lacks file management capability, and the ability to add files/content except through iTunes - what's the point?). The other is regarding the Touch keyboard. I'm of the school that the Touch keyboard is evolutionary, and strongly prefer it to the admittedly more familiar Type experience. Why? Despite the modest learning curve, it's lighter, sleeker, and, importantly for a tablet, it just feels so much better when you have it folded back and are using the device to read/surf (no clicking keys on your fingers; just a satisfying, confident tactile experience like holding a nice book). The only problem: the acknowledged problem of build quality on this particular component. With only mild, loving use, I have had not one, but TWO Touch covers split at the seams (the two fabric layers come apart, exposing the internal metal bits of the keyboard). That's not just cosmetically awful (who wants to bring a device to a business meeting that looks like a tattered pair of jeans?), but compromises it's use. The Surface team got it SO, so right with the look, feel, and idea of the Touch keyboard, particularly the revolutionary approach to making it with the napped, felt-like outer surface. But everything about the Surface is undermined when one of it's principal and most obvious innovations quickly becomes a tattered embarrassment. Hope that better materials, gluing, process, or manufacturer can be chosen to address this not insignificant issue. Thank you so much for reading this (hope that you do!) and best of luck running the Surface line, which I think has been grossly underestimated by the general public, and perhaps underserved by MS marketing instincts also. (One more, given your Outlook.com experience: harmonizing the keystroke shortcuts between the Outlook.com procedures and the Win8 Mail app or coming Surface RT Outlook would be really, really nice. Can feel a little schizophrenic, when memorized keystrokes in one MS mail interface require relearning in another, esp. since the substance of what you're doing is of course the same!)

  • dotMorten
    2 Posts

    My I suggest FN+Esc for "Break"

  • dotMorten
    2 Posts

    You forgot the "Break" key

  • MikeGoatly
    2 Posts

    Actually, I noticed the other day that I couldn't cancel a build in Visual Studio with the keyboard shortcuts because I was missing the Break key - any chance we could get that added? Perhaps FN+Esc?

  • chriswong
    6 Posts

    How about a hotkey for Insert...?!

    6 Posts

    I don't have a Touch Cover, but you should be able to use ctrl+v.

  • MikeGoatly
    2 Posts

    Interesting - I've been able to do Fn + CapsLock for function lock for a little while now. I've just checked and the other shortcuts are working for me too. (very handy now I know they're there)

    Does this mean that there's a different update coming in a week or so, or was this post written a while ago?

  • nsteussy
    1 Posts

    I have long wanted a quality ARM laptop.  Lightweight, efficient (RISC) and long lasting.  The Surface RT seemed the perfect device.  Until I discovered the Microsoft business decision to only run Microsoft signed executables.  My work (biophysics) uses a host of GNU software that could easily be recompiled and ported to the Surface RT but for this limitation.  I dearly hope the Surface RT 2 has them change their minds.

    if it could be recompiled, it could be a Windows Store app and run on RT as well as 8

  • bobby.brot
    2 Posts

    So good news, the next big news that would come up for Surface I hope is the new energy efficient Intel Haswell processors (4th gen Intel core family) to be included with the current Surface or future Surface products.

  • Bigsby
    1 Posts

    I can't wait to get my hands on my Pro in 10 days. I was a bit set back, the only thing after I got a PT-pt keyboard, about the functions keys. It looks like my thoughts are being heard around Redmond.