What do you add to a suite of programs that already include everything apart from the kitchen sink? Three years is a long time in computerese — and that’s around the time since the last version of Microsoft Office (Office 2007) showed up. Office 2007’s biggest new feature was the Ribbon interface (also called Fluent) — and this time, Microsoft has had to create more usability features so that users are convinced to upgrade to the upcoming Office 2010 — and that’s a great thing to happen!
Here are some of the new features as mentioned on Microsoft’s new Office 2010 mini-site:
- All of Office 2010: The Ribbon was limited to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and some parts of Outlook in Office 2007 — now it has been extended to the rest of the Office site with Office 2010 — significantly, Outlook 2010 will now be entirely Ribbonized. There are more SmartArt variants! The new Backstage view that puts everything in one view without having to navigate multiple dialog boxes and interfaces. Lots of stuff here including print options, templates, your recent files, file permissions, and more.
- Word 2010 has more formatting options for text including 3D effects like reflection and shading. There’s a Document Map option that lets you rearrange the content in your Word documents intuitively, and this reminded me of PowerPoint’s outline pane. There’s also improved sharing and collaboration of documents — and integration with SharePoint.
- Excel 2010 has new options to analyze data — the new Slicer feature allows you to quickly filter and drill down data. The Sparklines feature creates mini chart-like representations within cells. Workbooks can be published to SharePoint servers, and shared.
- PowerPoint 2010 provides cool Artistic Effects for photos with live previews. New transitions have been added, and the Animation Painter option copies animations from one slide object to another, and that’s so cool if you have added and fine-tuned your animation sequences and timings for one object and want it repeated on another! There are new video options including reflections for video clips, video trimming capabilities, and new navigation controls. File compression works better and you can save your PowerPoints as video clips. New Slide Sections lets you organize your slides into logical sections. SharePoint integration gets better with the Broadcast feature for slide shows that lets you show your presentations to other in their web browsers!
- Outlook 2010 get the Ribbon now so that it looks and feels like the rest of the Office suite. The new Conversations view nests all messages within a conversation together — and the Clean up Conversation option makes sure that you don’t get intimidated by conversations that have tons of e-mails within them. The new Quick Steps options lets you perform common actions with one click, thus saving you time.
- OneNote 2010 gets overall improvements including the Ribbon — there are plenty of interactive sharing and search options available now — and you can still store all sorts of content: clippings, maps, videos, sounds, URLs, and more. Custom tags allow you to track each sort of information being stored.
- Publisher 2010 also gets the Ribbon interface. Backstage view shows templates for flyers, brochures, business cards, calendars, etc. from Office Online, or even templates shared by other users. The new Visual Navigation pane works like PowerPoint’s Slides pane and shows thumbnail size representations of all pages in a publication. The new Stylistic Text allows you to add flourishes and other niceties to the font of selected text. There’s direct PDF and XPS export available.
- Access 2010 acts as a landing path for external data sources. Richer reports and forms can be created with one click, and Access formats better using improved Office Themes support. And you can publish databases online easily using SharePoint integration.
There are more improvements and new features in SharePoint and InfoPath too — looks like there’s so much to look forward too! And Office 2010 will launch with a web apps suite I discussed in an earlier post.
To learn more about Office 2010, and watch some cool videos, visit the new Office 2010 site.