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It's May, and you know what that means. No I'm not talking about how the April showers are bringing the May flowers. I'm talking about the new version of Microsoft Office! That's right, Office 2010 is here, and whether you loved Office 2007 or not, you will love Office 2010. Office 2010 has many great features, and if I was to try to write about them all, you would be sleeping well before the end of this article. Instead, I will hit on just a few major changes and what they mean for your business.
First, when you open the new Office suite, you will notice some similarities, but also some major differences from Office 2007.
The ribbon interface is back, whether you like it or not.
The ribbon extends to all Office programs and is color coded based on the program unifying the suite and allowing you to more easily locate things.
What is new in Office 2010 is that you can completely customize the ribbon interface to fit your needs.
Under File, Options, Customize Ribbon, you can make it your own.
(You can also customize the Quick Access Toolbar from the same Options menu.)
One major change, to the delight of many, is the new File menu. Microsoft removed the "Office Orb" and put the File menu back in. The new setup is quite powerful - everything you need to do is contained in one place.
Microsoft removed the Print Preview function from the Office Suite, at least in the traditional sense. Sure that might sound strange, but when you click File then Print, you get the preview right there, along with the printer options. I find this feature more useful and more expeditious. Another great improvement in the File menu is under the Info option. Almost everything you would need to know about your document is here; including the ability to manage permissions, change compatibility settings, and even manage versions of the document. While these improvements are great, one of my favorite options on the File Menu is Share, which I will go into next.
If you have been keeping up with recent technical news, you have probably heard the latest buzz phrase, "Cloud Computing". I'll be writing about cloud computing in another article, but basically, cloud computing allows you to use servers on the Internet instead of having them at your location.
These servers include File Servers, Exchange Servers, and SharePoint Servers. With the servers in the "cloud", you can access them at anytime from anywhere. Before you start to worry, keep in mind that there are security measures in place to protect your data, making it a safe and inexpensive way to work together without having to shell out the cash for major network infrastructure changes. So what does this have to do with Office 2010? Well, built into Office 2010 is the ability to work on documents in the "cloud" very easily.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a Share option under the File menu. This allows you to share your files more easily. There are many options here, but the ones I will touch on are "Save to SharePoint", "Save to SkyDrive", and "Create PDF/XPS Document".
"Save to SharePoint" requires that you have a SharePoint server either at your location or in the "cloud", and with this you can edit and post new documents right from Office. This is much faster than opening the SharePoint site, navigating to the correct page, and downloading a file.
If you don't know what SharePoint is or don't have a SharePoint site, then don't worry, "Save to SkyDrive" is here to save the day. SkyDrive is a Microsoft Windows Live server on the Internet where you can securely save documents, pictures, video, and other files. Basically anything you can save to your local computer you can store on the SkyDrive. The best part of this is that the space is free! Just go to skydrive.live.com and create an account. They give you 25GB worth of storage, which is great! Once you have the account setup, you can create and edit documents stored on the SkyDrive from any computer, either through a web browser or Office 2010!
Finally, "Create PDF/XPS Document" allows you to convert your Office document into a PDF document. Previously, you either needed third-party software or an Office add-in to do this, but Microsoft now has this ability built-in.
The last feature in Office 2010 that I will cover comes from Power Point. Previously you would create a presentation, save it, and send it to someone. Those who were good with Power Point knew to save it as a PowerPoint Show, or .pps file. Now, you can broadcast your slideshow to an audience right from Power Point. With this feature, you invite other people to view your slideshow. Windows Live sends them an email with a link to your presentation. Then, as you play the slideshow on your computer, the attendees see the screen change along with you. You no longer need to use third-party software or send the presentation to colleagues and tell them when to go to the next slide.
The more I use Office 2010, the more useful features I find. These are just a few of the new features to make your life a little easier and more productive. If you are running Office 2003, it is time for an upgrade, and Office 2010 would be the right move. If you are using Office 2007, and these features are important to you, then upgrading might be right for you as well. From where I sit, there is no reason not to.
About the Author:
Kirk Hayes of Trinity Worldwide collaborates with DeckerWright Corporation in providing technology information to small and medium size businesses via our e-newsletters, blogs and websites.