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Category: Software Published on Friday, 23 July 2010

Microsoft Office 2010: Nice, but not a Gotta Have It 

It's been three years since the Boys from Redmond revised Microsoft Office --- it was four years between Office 2003 and Office 2007 --- so you'd think there would be some major changes, right? Unfortunately that's not the case.


I've been playing with Microsoft Office Professional 2010 ($495) since the beta version was made available last year and, aside for a few tweaks and several nifty features that I probably won't use, it's pretty much the same as Office 2007. The one big change is that it runs a lot faster on 64-bit computers, taking advantage of their extra memory.

For those of you unfamiliar with Microsoft Office, it's a suite of the company's most popular programs, including the latest versions of Word, Outlook, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, Sharepoint WorkSpace and Communicator. There are other versions of Office available including a stripped down Home and Student version ($149.99) and Home and Business ($279).

Now, don't go running all over town screaming "Mikey didn't like it!" That's not true. BUT, I don't think it's a "gotta have it" upgrade for folks already using Microsoft Office 2007 if they're happy with what they have, although those of you still stuck in the dark ages --- using Office 2003 and earlier versions --- should give serious thought to making the move.

A few of the key changes include:

  • The ability to edit photos within Office programs.
  •  Videos can be edited within PowerPoint 2010.
  • An improved - - - and much more comprehensive - - - "ribbon" that changes depending what what functions you want to perform.
  • The introduction of Microsoft Office Backstage, which replaces the traditional file menu.
  • An improved Navigation Pane that simplifies the search in Word documents. It also gives you more options as to how the search function is performed.
  • New visual tools in Excel 2010 give you a visual summary of your spreadsheets and analyses.
  • Application Parts makes it easier for a novice to design his own databases in Access 2010.
  • Files can be edited by several people at the same time.
  • Slide shows created in PowerPoint 2010 can be instantly broadcast via the Internet.
  • New tools in Outlook 2010 allow you to eliminate redundant messages and ignore those you don't want to see. You can also reply to a message and delete it with a single click.
  • You can determine the availability of your colleagues on the network within any Office program using Communicator.
  • You can use Office Web Apps to post files to a SharePoint SkyDrive folder on Windows Live and then access and edit them from any computer connected to the Internet.

There's a lot more, but these are the big ones.

If you think you can improve your efficiency and make use of these new features, go for it!

More information can be found on the Microsoft Office website at

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