Microsoft Office 2010 summary review

With Office 2010 now released, this week's blog will review the overall feel and new features of Microsoft Office 2010. If you currently use Office 2007 or Office 2003, this will help you decide whether to upgrade.  This blog will examine new features common throughout most of the Office 2010 programs.

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First impressions

Fans of the drop-down menus in Office 2003 will be disappointed to find that the Ribbon is here to stay, however fans of the Office 2007 system will be happy to know there have been no drastic changes to the interface, as shown in Excel 2010 below:

The design has been made more minimalist, slightly more squared off and predominantly lighter for a more modern look.


The ribbon

A fantastic new feature has been added to Office 2010, a fully customisable ribbon which you can use to create your very own tab with whichever buttons you like in any order you like.

This feature alone makes upgrading worth considering. Imagine no longer having to click back and forth between tabs to work with your favourite buttons because they're all on your customised tab! Now it is a reality and will make the upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2010 much smoother and easier.

Unfortunately, there is still no option to run the ribbon down the left or right side of the screen. With today's wide-screen monitors, screen height real-estate is at a premium while often there is plenty of wasted space on the left and right of the screen, particularly when using Microsoft Word which typically uses an A4 portrait layout. A "move ribbon to left/right" option would be a welcome addition.


Powerful graphics manipulation

Office 2010 introduces an even more powerful graphics engine which is a dramatic step forward from the graphics engine in Office 2007. Backgrounds can now be removed from pictures (much more powerful than the old "Set Transparent Colour" feature) and an impressive range of artistic effects.


Built-in PDF writer

Those who have attended Microsoft Office training with T7 Training Systems will know there is a free downloadable PDF writer add-in available from the Microsoft website for Office 2007. PDF writing ability is built directly into Office 2010 so it will work straight out of the box, no downloads required.


Backstage (the Office button)

The Office button has been replaced with the File tab, however the File tab is vastly different to both the Office button of Office 2007 or the File drop-down menu of Office 2003 and produces what Microsoft call Backstage.

While I am concerned new users will find Backstage to be disorentating, it does make many features easier to see and use as shown with the print tab of Backstage above.


Other new features

There are other new features including 64-bit versions (which, though 64-bit computers are still plagued with missing and obscure drivers which are difficult for the average user to sort out, the performance increase of Office 2010 64-bit version is exceptional), screen capture utility (allowing pictures of your screen to be easily added to your documents), new SmartArt layouts and protected view as well as many features more specific to invidivual programs which I will be covering in some detail in future blogs over the next few weeks.


Should we upgrade?

If you are currently using Office 2003, then you should certainly upgrade. The quality of documentation you can produce in Office 2010 is far superior to Office 2003 and the customisable ribbon makes the transition much easier.

If you are currently using Office 2007, it may not be worth upgrading. However if you work with PowerPoint, there are definately good reasons to upgrade and your presentations will be of a higher quality than those made with PowerPoint 2007.

Office 2010 is compatible with Windows XP (as long as you update it to SP3, available for free from the Microsoft website), Windows Vista and of course Windows 7. It is also reasonably light on resources so in most cases you will not need to upgrade your computer hardware.


Nicholas Jankovic

T7 Training Systems


Friday, 9th July 2010


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