Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview: Hands-on Review

24 Comments

Picture 1Recently, I got access to the Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview (s msft). 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?

Backstage View

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.

MSO2010_Backstage_view

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
  • Expand/Collapse

I am pleased with the new, more granular Conversation View. The controls are very accessible and usable, showing a definite improvement over Outlook 2007.

MSO2010_conversation_view

OneNote 2010

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.

MSO2010_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?

24 Comments

Jenny

Found site where you can test drive office 2010 online instead of installing it–www.microsoft.com/click/businessproductivity

A lot of new tricks w/ 2010 if you watch the demos, and it looks like they’ve posted some labs to play around in.

boe

Nothing beneficial for most businesses – no reason to upgrade/purchase –

Like Vista – all bling – no function.

If they wanted to improve Office they SHOULD have –
1. Made outlook open multiple e-mail accounts as full exchange -not an additional mailbox with some functionality or pop/imap with very limited functionality but two seperate exchange profiles simultaneously from multiple exchange servers.

2. Full OLE support for pictures in access – umm wasn’t that functional with Office XP – why take that out? Why should someone have to code to add pictures to a personal database? Might was well use oracle or a real database if you are going to have to use code. Adding Office XP photo editor is the work around but why not just add photo editor back into office if that is the solution?

3. Offer the old menu bar for people (most of my clients) who don’t want to learn the new menu bar. You can finally modify the ribbon to some extent in 2010 however my clients just want their old ribbon bar. Frankly I have no issue with the new menu bar but I’m one person and most of my clients don’t like it so prefer to stick with office 2003. MS could make money selling the new version if they just offered the old menu as a choice with the new ribbon.

Tim

boe –

number 1, check the backstage, you can do that now. they added the ability to switch seamlessly between multiple exchange accounts.

number 2. have you seen the new photo editing? automated background removal, cropping, color correction, effects, framing etc. i don’t know why i would ever go back. as for real data base, one you dont need to write code to add images. two, i am at teched emea right now and saw access services. holy cow, access is basically the worlds simplest web app creator and hosted on sharepoint to boot.

number 3. there are partners out there today who do this but there seems to be a lot of data out there suggesting gains in productivity. also, now that it’s coming to sharepoint and all the other apps it seems like this is going to help drive usage a ton. also have you seen these, they have them for all of the old apps to ease transition.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA100744321033.aspx

Peter Steele

We switched our Exchange server from 2003 to 2007 (at AppRiver) and now I no longer see my “sent” messages in the conversation view. I have the “Show Messages from All Folders” selected but I do not see the messages in Sent Items. I tried moving a message from a conversation in my Inbox to another folder and it no longer appeared in the conversation either. What could be causing this problem?

James Kuypers

Also one feature about Outlook 2010 I like a lot, you can click on an e-mail and see all e-mails from that sender in an instant. That’s what I’d normally would do a sort for and have my whole inbox reshuffled so that I can find that particular e-mail.

The conversation grouping ala Gmail is also a really good addition.

The co-authoring I’m eager to test, but I’m one who has to ‘see it to believe it’.

Also, I don’t know how, but the technical preview has an insanely fast start up time compared to the 2007 products. I hope that stays like that in the final version!

Kate

Check out the Office Facebook page for tons of helpful resources to help you use all the features of your Office programs. You can post your questions to the Wall and get help directly from Microsoft!

http://www.facebook.com/microsoftoffice

Cheers,
Kate
MSFT Office Outreach Team

Simon Mackie

@Tim – for some reason, it doesn’t seem to be working properly on our WP (although it does on other network sites). I am talking to our devs about the issue

Tim

I was more wondering why I can’t even click on them to go to a larger image. WP supports that out of the box. Isn’t this WebWorkerDaily.com?

Simon Mackie

@Tim — we’re hampered by the design of our WordPress template, which means screenshots are often smaller than I’d like. Hopefully that will be addressed in our redesign. In this case, the screenshots could have been a little wider, though.

Raju

Can any tell me whats latest build number exists on this technical preview version?

borax99 (AlainC.)

Got my invitation yesterday – just in the nick of time, I guess, if the Technical Preview is now closed. I’ll be focusing on Word, OneNote, Publisher and PowerPoint. Should be interesting…

Jasper

A question about the coauthoring: Do the change you make appear in realtime in the other authors document just like Google Docs?

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