The public beta of Office 2010 is finally here
I have had access to Microsoft Office 2010 through my TechNet subscription for 2-3 days now, and yesterday the technical preview of Office 2010 got released in a public beta. Anyone interested can now download it and take it for a spin. It’s available in seven languages – English, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, French and German. The Office 2010 Mobile beta got released at more or less the same time, and can be downloaded from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Office 2010 contains lots of improvements and new functionality, and Microsoft seems to have managed to redefine the game of office computing! Office 2010 is connected to Microsoft’s cloud services and is on it’s way to be connected to other cloud services. It’s funny to look back to pre-Internet times, when Microsoft Office was just four applications, with little integration between them and no use of the web for document authoring, collaboration and management. But when Microsoft bought Groove, perhaps the most important buy up Microsoft has done, things started changing.
Let us start with OneNote. In typical Microsoft style, they don’t succeed with their first and second attempt on creating new applications. So also with OneNote. In Office 2010 OneNote has finally gotten the attention it deserves. It is now part of the full Office suite, and not a separate purchase, and undergone many improvements. The biggest improvement is without doubt that OneNote has now become a collaboration platform with its new coauthoring feature. Have you ever liked doing project work on a wiki? Thought so, I’ve basically hated it myself. With coauthoring, a project team can share and collaborate on OneNote pages and notebooks. I started using OneNote frequently when I got introduced to Office 2007, and with Office 2010 I can definitely see myself making use of the coauthoring and collaboration tools for the research projects that I support.
A few words about Powerpoint 2010. I haven’t been able to play with it to much yet, but I see several news sites pointing out that the biggest news is that it enables you to edit video directly in the application, without the need for a third-party tool. I’m not a video person, even though I once in a while use iMovie on my Mac, but I can see that this will give videocasts of lectures a boost. I’m not sure that I would publish presentations online via SkyDrive, but I guess that SlideShare will come up with something here!
The first application that I tried after having installed the new office suite, was Outlook. Outlook has through the years gone from an email client to a conversation management tool. But to start with the e-mail first, Outlook 2010 comes with improved IMAP support. You can now also have your Trash folder on the IMAP server, but Drafts are still stored locally on the computer. I hope Microsoft improves the IMAP support even more before the finale release of 2010.
I mentioned Outlook as a conversation management tool. First of all, you can now see if the person you are about to write an e-mail to is online or not, and then rather then sending an e-mail start an IM conversation with the person. I started using Outlook, when I saw the great Xobni plugin (link to my blog entries about Xobni). And the biggest news in Outlook is the introduction of Outlook Social Connector (OSC), which appears to be a tool that ties into SharePoint 2010 and aggregates information on any user’s emails, phone conversations, and IM sessions with you. OSC will be your bridge in to into major social networks. Appearently LinkedIn is gonna be the first social network to be connected. This is a functionality that Lotus Notes has had for almost a year now.
Word seems to be feature complete these days, and no big news to report from this application. But I should mention the possibility to upload your documents to Microsoft’s SkyDrive. SkyDrive is 25 GB with free online storage, and something you should really consider using. Do you have a good enough backup solution in place for your personal files?
Excel 2010. I rarly use spreadsheets in my work, but my guess is that Excel, as Word, is more or less feature complete and no bigger new functionality is introduced in 2010.