Recently, I got access to the Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview. I spent some quality time over the past week going through the latest version of the suite and delving into all of its new features. In this post, I am going to concentrate on the productivity-boosting enhancements available in the new version. Microsoft says that it has put a lot of effort into productivity and making the product easier to use, but has that work paid off?
Office 2010 replaces the old File menu in all of the applications with something called “Backstage View.” This contains familiar tasks like Save, Print and Publish. However, it also makes a lot of document-specific information including Document Mode, Permissions, Prepare for Distribution, and Versions readily available.
Backstage View didn’t stand out to me when I was looking over the list of new features. However, I was quickly sold on it while testing Word 2010, because it put all of my important document management information into a single view.
Ribbon Menu Enhancements
While Office 2010 keeps the ribbon menu that was introduced in Office 2007, it now extends across the entire Microsoft Office 2010 suite. While the ribbon has just as many detractors as it does lovers, Microsoft has made many improvements over the version found in Office 2007. In particular, it lets you customize it to your particular working style in each application. The ribbon received a lot of criticism in the 2007 release, but these enhancements should build greater acceptance of perhaps the most drastic Office interface change so far.
Support for Co-authoring
Word 2010, OneNote 2010, and PowerPoint 2010 now include a co-authoring feature, enabling multiple authors to work on the same document at the same time. This is a welcome change from having to use SharePoint, where only one author at a time can check a document out for editing. The addition of co-authoring is really ratcheting Office 2010’s collaboration options.
Improved Conversation View in Outlook 2010
Email management can be a challenge to even the most experienced web worker. To help tame your inbox, Outlook 2010 includes an improved Conversation View, which includes:
- Show Messages from All Folders
- Reverse Sort
- Add Columns
I am pleased with the new, more granular Conversation View. The controls are very accessible and usable, showing a definite improvement over Outlook 2007.
While it has been part of the Office family since 2003, OneNote 2010 is now included as part of every Office 2010 edition. This is a well-deserved “bump up” for OneNote, and I hope to that it takes the application further into the corporate mainstream now that it isn’t a separate purchase. The latest release of the popular note-taking app sports version tracking, highlighting and Linked Notes.
As a longtime OneNote user, these features are very handy. I can’t wait until OneNote is available on the web so that I can see how it stacks up against EverNote.
Final Thoughts about Office 2010 Technical Preview
My tests of Microsoft Office 2010 show enough productivity tweaks to make it an attractive upgrade. If the upcoming Office Web components live up to their potential, then Office 2010 is going to break from the tradition of Office releases having to compete against previous versions of itself and make a strong first impression on the web office suite market.
Have you tried Office 2010 Technical Preview?