Everything you need to know about Office 2010

Computerworld reviewer does a deep dive on the Microsoft suite

Preston Gralla at our sister publication Computerworld has put together what I believe is the most thorough review yet of what's in the coming Office 2010 suite from Microsoft. In it, he gets deep under the hood of the productivity software and has particularly high praise for the Outlook e-mail program.

"If you need only one reason to buy Office 2010, it's to get the latest version of Outlook," writes Gralla, who was given access to the release-to-manufacturing version of Office 2010. "The more I use it, the more I realize this is the Outlook I've been waiting for."

Outlook makes the best effort so far of dealing with e-mail overload, the glut of messages in inboxes and the complicated trail of messages on the same subject, he writes. One feature, Conversation View, simplifies the task of following an e-mail thread. It puts a small triangle next to every e-mail that has more than one message in a thread. By clicking the triangle, you can see a chronological list of every message in the thread, allowing you to click on any one message to open it.

Outlook is not perfect, however, Gralla continues, in that clicking that triangle first only displays messages you've received; you have to click it again to also see messages you've sent. Also, it groups messages by subject line even though they may be unrelated. He gives an example of e-mails he sends to different people all with the subject line "Long time, no speak" that end up all lumped together. But Outlook also does a good job of aggregating messages from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter into its display.

Also of note in Office 2010 is the new and improved Ribbon in Microsoft Word. I found the Ribbon in Word in Office 2007 inordinately complex at first, with its series of tabs organizing different features and functions replacing the various pulldown menus of earlier versions. It took me several days just to find "Save As." It turned out that what I thought was just an Office logo in the upper left-hand corner of the application is in fact a functional button that gives you your "Save As" options. Gralla mentions that Microsoft recognized that was confusing and has replaced the Office logo with a File button that should be easier to recognize. Also, the Ribbon is migrating to all applications in Office, including Excel, OneNote, Outlook and SharePoint.

Gralla also takes you through the 2010 versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Office 2010 goes on sale to business users May 12 and to consumers some time in June.

I noted in a previous post that Office 2010 will be available for either on-premise or SaaS deployment.

If you are unsure of whether to take the plunge and buy Office 2010 for your business, check out Preston Gralla's review to get a better understanding of what it offers. And if you've already got your hands on Office 2010, let me know what your impressions of it are.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Take IDG’s 2020 IT Salary Survey: You’ll provide important data and have a chance to win $500.