Among the many curious aspects of the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT is its inclusion of a so-called Preview version of Office Home & Student 2013 RT. Microsoft previously said that the final version of this productivity suite would ship soon after the Surface arrived. But it’s already available. Here’s how you can get it now.

Windows RT—and thus, Surface with Windows RT—handles a number of things differently than does Windows 8. I touched on power management and driver installation in Surface With Windows RT: Unboxing And Day Two Notes. Windows Update, as it turns out, is another example.

If you look at the Windows Update control panel in Windows 8, you’ll see a Change settings link on the left. This option is not present in Windows RT, which is instead configured to automatically install updates.

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Of course, the Windows Update control panel isn’t even the primary interface for this functionality in Windows 8 or RT. Instead, Microsoft has added a new Windows Update option in PC Settings, and generally speaking, you will use that interface, and not the old-school control panel, to check for and install updates.

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However, to upgrade to the final, shipping version of Office Home & Student 2013 RT, you will need to access the control panel version of this interface. That’s because this update, which is optional, is not currently offered in the Metro, PC Settings-based version. While there are a variety of ways to get there, the easiest is to search for Windows Update with Start Search and then choose “Install optional updates” instead of Windows Update from the search results (under Settings).

This will display the Windows Update control panel. Now, either check for updates or tap the link that says updates are available. In the resulting list, you’ll see “Update for Microsoft Office Home & Student 2012 RT Preview.” Select it and install that and whatever other updates are available.

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After a reboot, you can access your updated Office Home & Student 2013 RT apps, which drop the Preview branding and have some new features, including the Ribbon Display Options feature I wrote up recently.

Before:

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After:

after

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And let’s not forget that the OneNote and Lync Metro-style apps are both available in Windows Store now. They’re free and particularly interesting for those with Surface tablets.

Enjoy!