Microsoft is finally ready to debut Office 2010, and people are already excited about the facelifts Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and SharePoint have received. Microsoft has nipped and tucked some of the old features weighing down Microsoft 2007 to reveal a suite that’s easier to use and has more modern capabilities, such as collaboration and Web-based access. Here’s a look at the major highlights of the new-and-improved Office 2010.
Google was the first to do it with Google Wave (see Google Wave: The Future of Business Collaboration on AllBusiness.com), and now Microsoft is jumping aboard, allowing you to work on the same document as your coworkers simultaneously. Google calls it “collaboration,” Microsoft calls it “coauthoring,” but it’s the same concept. Instead of passing a document from person to person, coworkers can create and edit the same Word, Excel, OneNote, or PowerPoint document together in real time. Everyone using the document can see the document being worked on live and can even talk about it through a messaging system as changes are being made. Microsoft adds some unique functions to control the chaos of having too many cooks in the kitchen by adding tools such as paragraph locking, which keeps people from overlapping changes.
Microsoft Office Backstage
In Office 2010, clicking the Office Button to “Save As” or “Print” will bring up a whole new view called Microsoft Office Backstage. Instead of having to click through the File menu or the Ribbon tab to manage your document and perform functions such as print, save, share, blog, or choose a new template, the Backstage view brings all these functions together in one easy-to-navigate place that can be used across every Microsoft Office application.
Office on the Web
Google Docs has finally made it out of beta, and now Microsoft is giving it some competition by gearing up for similar Web-based access to Microsoft Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint. These free Web-browser versions have fewer features than their desktop counterparts but still provide you with the basic tools to get the job done.
New features such as Slicers and Sparklines allow you to easily identify trends, analyze data, and share your findings with others. Slicers allow you to slice out specific sections of your business data to quickly filter it and compare numbers and trends over a set period of time. Sparklines let you embed a visual snapshot of a data trend within the worksheet for a quick visual representation of what your business has done during the past month or year. A Project Gemini add-on will become available in 2010 for large companies that need worksheets that can handle huge amounts of data.
These new features in Outlook 2010 give you more control over your e-mail and calendar:
- Conversation View: Group messages on the same subject.
- Ignore Thread: Mute out all future e-mail messages on a particular thread.
- Mail Tips: Receive alerts that warn you when you’re about to send an e-mail you probably shouldn’t send (e.g., sending e-mail to someone who’s out of the office or sending a confidential e-mail to someone outside the company).
- Quick Steps: Create new e-mail messages, appointments, contacts, or tasks by right-clicking on the Outlook icon in the taskbar.
New video and photo features for PowerPoint 2010 will give your presentations more pop. Embed YouTube and other online videos directly into the slides, add screenshots, and play with the enhanced photo and video editing features that are like stripped-down versions of Adobe Photoshop and Apple iMovie. And with the new Broadcast Slideshow feature, you can present slideshows online instead of having to e-mail large attachments. The user simply clicks a link in an e-mail message or instant message and the presentation opens up in the user’s Web browser — even if they don’t have PowerPoint.
Instead of downloading and re-uploading files, SharePoint Workspace 2010 allows you to access your SharePoint documents offline, make changes, and have the changes automatically sync as soon you get back online. It also lets you tag authors of documents and share files more easily.