First impressions of Office 2010 Professional Beta

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First impressions of Office 2010 Professional Beta

IT manager so far likes what he sees.

Have you downloaded Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Beta yet? I have been running it for a short while and have to say it is pretty impressive so far.

The interface feels simpler yet slicker and the whole package seems a lot quicker (the application startup feels a tad slower but from there on it feels quicker) and there are lots of nice little touches to help make you more productive.

Outlook has a new Quicksteps area in the toolbar, offering fast access to typical functions including Move To, Team E-Mail, Task Completion and Reply & Delete.

The Rule area has a new simplified look (with an Advanced option adding more conditions) and the main screen now has an Ignore option, which lets you disregard all future threads to a message, and a Clean Up function. Junk email management is also on the toolbar instead of being buried in an option.

Outlook 2010 has a Text Messaging Connector that allows you to connect to your Outlook Mobile Service hosting provider – you just need to provide your service provider web address, user ID and password. If you don’t have a service provider yet, a link leads to a selection including the usual suspects.

One word of warning: it’s worth scanning through your existing Outlook add-ins (under the Developer tab) as they may not be compatible with Outlook 2010. I experienced difficulty with at least one until I disabled it.

In Word and Excel the Smart Art function has more options for visualising data – Hexagon function, Alternating flow, Funnel and Half Circle Organization Chart, for example. Excel 2010 in particular has many new visualisation tools giving new ways of looking at your long lists of data.

All the applications can now save and share files online using SkyDrive, which offers an online storage location with a 25GB limit where you can view and, soon, even edit your online files when you are on the move.

Jason Slater is an IT manager at an SME. Read his views on business technology at

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