New Office 2010 features : An evaluation overview

Microsoft's Office 2010 features new functionalities that are worth a detailed look. Here's a quick rundown of Office 2010's features worth exploring.

Microsoft's latest enterprise version of Office 2010 features several new and useful tools. While consumers can download the basic version for free, corporate users will have to pay a premium. Importantly, the Office 2010 features incorporate integrated ways to increase personal as well as team efficiency. Here are some tips that can help you take a faster decision and leverage the features in Office 2010.

1. Migrating to Office 2010:
Migrating to Office 2010 is easy, and an in-place upgrade will preserve all settings as well as preferences. For migrating older files, Office 2010 features a high speed batch converter called Office migration planning manager (OMPM) tool. For compatibility with older versions, you will need to use an Office compatibility pack. This allows users of the older version to open and edit newer version files. There is also an Interactive Command Guide (free download), which helps users find older menus in the new Ribbon. Office 2010 features a new graphical Ribbon that groups even Outlook, OneNote, and SharePoint–something that was not possible in Office 2007.

2. Leverage the new Office 2010 features:
- Sophisticated video handling in PowerPoint: New features in Office 2010 ensure that you can trim, correct, animate and manipulate videos completely within PowerPoint. Apart from this, a PowerPoint presentation with narration can be converted to a single video file (WMV format).

- Conversation view in Outlook: Tracking and managing long mail trails is difficult. Office 2010 feature has a conversation view that consolidates related messages from multiple folders. Now you can read related mails without having to search for them.

- Mail tips in Outlook: Office 2010 features Quick Steps that will allow storing updated information on the recipient. For example, it tells you that the person whom you are sending a mail to is "Out of Office" or warns you about the large mail size. It takes full advantage of the Exchange 2010 server.

- Backstage for all Office products: This Office 2010 feature replaces the good old File menu. Backstage makes it easier to work with all aspects of managing documents. You can also revisit earlier versions of the document using this feature of Office 2010.

- Simultaneous editing (co-authoring) for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote using SharePoint 2010: Multiple users can now edit Word and PowerPoint files simultaneously. For Excel editing, you don't even need Excel—just a browser is enough.

3. Office 2010 on cloud:
There is a lot of excitement around availability of Office 2010's availability over the cloud. The server products from Microsoft's Office family (SharePoint, Exchange and Office Communications Server) are already available on cloud, which is known as the business productivity online standard suite (BPOS). I am sure that Office 2010 Web apps will also be made available on the cloud as a subscription service.

Just buying a new version of Office 2010 is not going to increase productivity. Efforts must be put into using the new features effectively.
CIOs looking for software as a service platform will benefit from such offerings. However, the web versions of Office 2010 are not designed to be a replacement for the full version. They are light weight reduced functionality products designed to work with browsers. Therefore, most users will have to use a mix of full client and web versions depending upon their business.

4. Investment required for Office 2010:
Office 2010 features—new and improved ones—are designed to provide specific business benefits. Of course, just buying a new version is not going to increase productivity. Efforts must be put into using the new features effectively.

Effective usage is the key to maximizing the productivity and efficiency offered by Office 2010's features. Further, using Office client along with SharePoint 2010 is a powerful combination for streamlining teamwork. SharePoint 2010 must be deployed as an end user empowerment solution – not just as a development platform.

About the author: Dr Nitin Paranjape is the CEO of Max Office Services. He started his career as a gynecologist, but later moved to IT. His company offers productivity enhancement services focusing on Microsoft Office System and Windows.

(As told to Yuga Chaudhari.)

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