People who want to take Office 2013 for a spin can download a 60-day evaluation edition.
The version available is the full Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 suite, which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. The software contains all the features in the paid edition, so you won't miss out on anything.
You will need a Microsoft account in order to access the download page, but otherwise there are no strings attached.
Here's how you can grab the free trial version:
Head over to the Office Professional Plus 2013 download page on TechNet. Click on the Get Started Now button. Log in with your Microsoft account. Fill in the online form with your name, e-mail address, and other details, if it's not already filled in. Make sure to choose either the 64-bit or 32-bit version of Office. Click Continue.
Another online form pops up asking for more information. Again, click Continue. The next page displays the product key, which you'll want to write down or save. Choose your language and click the Download button. Office is downloaded as a 785MB file.
The software comes in the form of an IMG file, which means you can burn it onto a disc to install it.
Alternatively, Windows 8 users can set up the file as a virtual drive by right-clicking on it and selecting the Mount command. Windows 7 users would need to use a product such as Virtual CloneDrive to do the same thing.
Once the file is mounted, you can simply double-click on the virtual drive or run the Office setup file to install the program.
Office 2013's hardware and software requirements aren't especially taxing. But those of you still stuck on Windows XP or Vista are out of luck. The new suite runs only under Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012.
General availability of the suite is expected in early 2013. Microsoft has not yet released official prices, but ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley recently reported on a leaked document showing a $499 price tag for Office Professional Plus 2013.