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A Technical Review of Microsoft Office 2010

A Technical Review of Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 is the latest version of Microsoft's popular Office suite. The last version of Office was Office 2007. Office 2010 has got several new user interface and functionality upgrades. This article gives you a comprehensive technical overview of Microsoft Office 2010.

System Requirements for Office 2010
Let's have a look at the system requirements of the new Office suite (Courtesy: Microsoft's MSDN Library website for Office products). Office 2010 will be available in seven editions: Starter, Home and Student, Home and Business, Standard, Professional, Professional Academic, and Professional Plus. Three important editions are compared here; any other edition has similar system requirements as one of these. Office 2010 Starter is an advertisement-supported edition available only to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). You can get the Starter edition preloaded in your new computer.
As you can see, the premier edition of Office 2010, Professional Plus has the greatest hardware and software requirements. The other two editions above have system requirements comparable to each other's. This is the first time Microsoft has released Office for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.
Technical Publication, Ars Technica noted an anomaly in the system requirements. Office 2010 supports 64-bit edition of all Windows operating systems, except that of Windows XP. For Windows XP, it supports only the 32-bit edition. Ars Technica enquired about this, and Microsoft confirmed that the 64-bit edition of Windows XP is not fully equipped to support the advanced features of Office 2010.

Office 2010 Feature Upgrades
Office 2010 packs many new user interface and functional upgrades. Exploring all these features can take up much more space, so we will check out the most important ones in this section.

1. The Ribbon & Tabs
Instead of menus and toolbars available traditionally in Office suites, Office 2007 introduced a new user interface feature called the 'ribbon'. In Office 2010, the ribbon with some modifications replaces menus and toolbars in all applications. The ribbon is an array of buttons and tasks on the top of the work area; it is arranged in various tabs. These tabs stand for menus in Office 2003. Outlook 2007 still has toolbars and buttons, but Outlook 2010 replaces them with the ribbon.
While earlier versions of Office come with toolbars having basic customization, Office 2010 ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) are fully customizable from the Options button in the File tab.
Besides the main tabs available, contextual tabs are displayed dynamically, while you are working with special objects such as tables or images.

2. Blogging & Web Compatibility
Office 2010 can register a blog for you with any of the blogging providers (such as WordPress, SharePoint Blog, Windows Live Spaces, Blogger, etc) and update it from your PC.
With this new version of Office, Microsoft introduces Office Web Apps. This is an online companion to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote that makes documents and notes available anywhere with the help of the Internet. Users can take advantage of this functionality through a Windows Live account, and business customers will get the functionality through Microsoft SharePoint 2010.

3. Copy-pasting
Another cool feature in Office 2010 is that you can see a live preview of how a copied piece of text will look when pasted. In order to see the preview, right-click where you want to paste and hover over one of these Office pasting options-Keep Source Formatting, Merge Formatting, or Keep Text Only.

4. Backstage View
In Office 2007, there was the Microsoft Office Button that gave access to such tasks as Save, Print, Options, Help, etc. In Office 2010, all these tasks are integrated in the File tab, which takes different colors in different Office applications. The File tab is known as the 'Backstage view'.
There is a document Info tab in the Backstage view that shows you some valid information about the document with options for protection, compatibility checking, sharing, and version management. The Info tab is opened by default and gives a preview of the document on the right hand pane.
The Help button provides access to the application help and shows the activation details of your Office product. The Print button gives you various document printing options with the Print Preview on the right hand pane.

5. Outlook's New Features
Outlook 2010 gets a better treatment than the other applications. One of the radical changes in Outlook is in its email handling. Email handling is now easier with features that control email overload. There is a feature called 'Quick Steps' that appears on right-clicking a message. The Quick Steps menu gives access to most of the common tasks you can perform on the message. Also, the Quick Steps menu is customizable, allowing you to add to it any task you want.
Message threading is improved in Outlook 2010. By right-clicking an email, you can find all the related messages, and arrange them in the Conversations view or in the normal view.

6. Other Features
File saving options in Office 2010 are more advanced. Various document formats are now supported, including PDF and XPS (XML Paper Specification). OpenOffice document formats can now be opened within Office 2010. This feature is not originally present in any other version of Office; Microsoft later released a Service Pack update that enabled this feature in Office 2007.
Besides these features, photo editing tools are available with much better capability in all of the Office applications.
PowerPoint 2010 comes with video triggers and controls, which were not available in its previous versions.

You have seen only some of the features of Office 2010. There are several changes in every application in this suite. With this version, Microsoft is introducing web-based documents for the first time through Office Web Apps and may prove to be a close competitor to Google and Zoho, who already dominate the market for web-based office software. Several companies have already upgraded to Office 2010, and many others are following. With its extended support for various file formats and specifications, Office 2010 will remain as the most popular office suite for all professionals.


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