Now, as I am sure you have heard, Office 2010 has been released to developers as a technical preview. I have managed to secure a copy, so I will review it now for all those who weren’t lucky enough to acquire it. So, what can you expect from this revolutionary new software suite, planned to be seamlessly integrated with Microsoft’s Web-Apps?
Now web-apps have only been released to a select few, randomly chosen, to have their skydrive upgraded to include web-apps. I was not a member of the lucky few, so I won’t be posting screenshots off of the internet on here. If you want these, or you want to read a review of them, you can Google the subject.
Well, I am sure you have seen screenshots online, and I imagine that you would think, like me, that it is very similar to Office 2007. There are no new GUI changes like the Ribbon; no 4-Dimensional, psychic interface. By all standards it looks very similar to its younger sibling, the main difference is that the Ribbon has spread into the previously immune programs, but other than that, it hasn’t changed all that much.
The main changes happen backstage, a coincidence considering the name of one of the new features in all of the Office suite programs, Backstage. Gone is the old Office Menu, that Start Menu doppelganger, replaced by the new Backstage. When you click on the new button that has replaced the office menu, and it brings up Backstage, a full page menu screen with all the preferences and options that used to be much closer to hand. From here you can: save, print, open, close, start a new document and change your options, the main problem is that it now takes up the entire screen.
Now, I mentioned the Ribbon earlier. Not much has changed in that respect regarding Word, Excel, and several others. But those who were without before now have it, most notably OneNote and Outlook. Now, I am not sure if this is a good move. Personally I like the ribbon, but I know some who have avoided upgrading to 2007 for this very reason, so those who dislike it are likely to be bitterly disappointed.
In Outlook the Ribbon doesn’t work very well, as things like sending and receiving are on a different tab to the replying and forwarding, so you tend to swap between them a lot. But, on the other hand, it looks sleeker and more in-keeping with the rest of the suite. It now also cleans up conversations, so it identifies emails with the same subject or by the same sender, and lists all of the emails in that ‘conversation’ by clicking on an email.
OneNote is another program to have received the Ribbon treatment, and it definitely works there. It had been skipped out of the previous build because the developers felt that it didn’t have enough menu items for it to be worth it, and of course they were lacking resources. Given the choice between having a Ribbon, or some of the great new features we saw in 2007, then I suppose they made the right choice.
But if they didn’t have enough menu items for it to be worth it last time, what is the difference now? What has made it worthwhile? Well, as far as I can tell, nothing. It has 6 tabs, none of which comes close to reach right the way across the screen, and I don’t have a particularly large resolution. It still remains as useful as ever, but I imagine that the developers felt that they needed to add something, but they didn’t have anything revolutionary lined up for this new version like before. Another thing that is relevant is that they will be starting to include this in the Professional Plus package, as one of the main uses is collaboration between professionals.
There isn’t much else new for the other apps. This isn’t so much a ground-breaking upgrade, as a refinishing of the old software, much in the same vein as with Windows 7. And I don’t criticise it for this. Office 2007 was good, and worked completely well, but I wouldn’t say there is enough to warrant a hefty price tag like that of 2007. I hope Microsoft will have the decency to lower the price a bit, but I will certainly be upgrading.