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10 cool features to look forward to in Office 2010

With the release of the Office 2010 Technical Preview, details are finally starting to roll in. Deb Shinder highlights some of the features she thinks might make the new version worth the upgrade.

With the release of the Office 2010 Technical Preview, details are finally starting to roll in. Deb Shinder highlights some of the features she thinks might make the new version worth the upgrade.


Microsoft kept the details of its next iteration of Office pretty closely guarded up until the release of the Technical Preview in conjunction with the opening of the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) July 13th Now, with the software in the hands of thousands of Microsoft partners, MVPs, and other "selected testers," the cat is out of the bag. I was told by my MVP lead at Microsoft to blog about it to my heart's content.

My first impression was that Office 2010 is going to be to Office 2007 what Windows 7 is to Vista. Although personally I liked both of them, Vista and Office 2007 inspired an inordinate number of complaints from consumers and IT folks alike. Maybe the changes were a little too drastic or maybe it's just that the timing wasn't right. Whatever the reasons, many people skipped the new OS and apps and stuck with Office 2003 on XP.

After using Office 2010 extensively for the last couple of weeks, I'm finding more and more to like about it. One big change is that this version of Office comes in a 64-bit version, so those running a 64-bit OS can take full advantage of 64-bit performance and stability. Keeping in mind that this is beta software and some things could change before the final release, here are the top 10 features that I think will make Office 2010 worth the upgrade.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download and as a photo gallery.

1: The Ribbon

Why would I list the Ribbon as the number one new feature in Office 2010, when the Ribbon was introduced in Office 2007 -- and in fact, was the feature that caused the most controversy? Although some of us loved the new Ribbon interface, many others hated it, so much so that third-party developers soon devised programs to restore the old familiar menus. An example is Classic Menu from Addintools.

Office 2010 not only keeps the Ribbon; it has now been added to all the Office programs, including Outlook and OneNote. But don't panic: The Office 2010 implementation is Ribbon Done Right. The difference is that now you have control over your Ribbon and what items appear on its tabs, and you can even add tabs of your own and put your favorite commands on there. No more despair because a favorite command that was on an Outlook 2003 menu can't be found anywhere on the Ribbon.

All you have to do is right-click the Ribbon and select Customize The Ribbon. This opens a dialog box from which you can make new Ribbon tabs and add or remove commands from the tabs, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

The Ribbon in Office 2010 applications is completely customizable.

2: Office button options

Office 2007 users are familiar with the Office button, the big round button in the upper-left corner of Office applications, from which you can select a variety of tasks and options. Figure B shows the Word 2007 Office menu.

Figure B

The Office button in Office 2007 provided a number of options.
The Office button in Office 2010 has a new look, and it's been added to Outlook and OneNote, which didn't have it before. Figure C shows what you see when you click the Office button (now implemented as a Ribbon tab) in Word 2010.

Figure C

The new Office menu has a whole new look and layout.
You'll find many of the same options as before, along with a number of new ones. For example, in the Sharing section, you'll now see options to save the document to SharePoint or change the file type, as you can see in Figure D. The Back button at the top of the page returns you to the document itself.

Figure D

You'll discover some new options on the menus.

3: Outlook improvements

Outlook is the Microsoft Office program I use most often. It's the first application I fire up when I sit down at the computer in the morning and it's the last application I close when I shut down for the night. And I'm checking my mail and calendar and looking up contacts every 15 minutes (or more often) throughout the day. This makes changes to the Outlook interface very important to me -- I want it to work better, but I don't want to have to relearn everything and I don't want to lose functionality.

The Ignore button that's been added to Outlook is just what those of us who belong to lots of email discussion lists have been waiting for. It allows you to get rid of conversation threads that you aren't interested in. Not only will it delete all messages in your Inbox that belong to the thread, but it will automatically delete any messages pertaining to that thread that come in later. Highlighting a message and clicking the Ignore button displays the dialog box shown in Figure E.

Figure E

The new Ignore button in Outlook makes it easy to bypass entire conversation threads.
Outlook 2010 also makes it easier to manage conversations. When you view messages in Conversation View, you can right-click a conversation title and select from a number of actions that you can perform, as shown in Figure F. If you select Clean Up Conversation, redundant messages in the conversation will be deleted.

Figure F

You can perform more actions on a conversational thread, including clean up.
Another great new Outlook feature is Quick Steps. This is a section on the Ribbon's Home tab where you can create single-click links to perform tasks that normally require multiple steps. For example, if I want to forward a message to my husband, instead of clicking forward and then typing his address into the To box, I just click the To Tom link and the forwarded message appears with his address already entered. Figure G shows the Home tab of the Ribbon with the Quick Steps section highlighted.

Figure G

The Quick Steps section of the Ribbon lets you perform multi-step tasks with one click.

4: Easier screenshots

If you're a tech writer, you'll appreciate a new feature in Word 2010 -- the ability to capture screenshots from inside the application and paste them into the document, all in a couple of clicks. The Screenshot button has been added to the Insert tab of the Ribbon, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H

Inserting screenshots into Word is easier than ever.

When you click the Screenshot button, you'll see the available screenshots, and you can click on the one you want to insert into the document. After you insert a screenshot, the picture tools will automatically appear to allow you to perform photo editing.

5: Photo/video/graphics in Word and PowerPoint

The photo-editing tools have gotten more sophisticated in Office 2010. Now you can apply artistic effects, similar to those available in third-party photo editing programs, such as PhotoShop, from within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You even get a thumbnail preview of what the effect will look like when applied to your picture, as shown in Figure I.

Figure I

You can now apply artistic effects to photos from within Office programs.
In PowerPoint, you can apply artistic effects, reflections, shadows, etc., to both photos and videos, as shown in Figure J.

Figure J

You can apply artistic effects to pictures and video in PowerPoint 2010.
The Office 2010 applications also include several new SmartArt designs, to make it more likely that you'll find one that fits the needs of your document or slide, as shown in Figure K.

Figure K

Office 2010 includes a number of new SmartArt designs.

6: Drag-and-drop navigation pane

One of my favorite features in Word 2010 is the new drag-and-drop navigation pane. It's a little like the Word 2007 document map -- on steroids. Whereas the document map only gives you a view of your headers and document sections, graphics, etc., the navigation pane lets you rearrange your document easily by dragging and dropping within the pane. To turn on this feature, click the View tab on the Ribbon and in the Show section, check the box labeled Navigation Pane, as shown in Figure L.

Figure L

Go to the View tab to display the new drag-and-drop navigation pane.
Want to move that third first-level heading (and all the text under it) up above the second one, without having to copy and paste it? No problem: Just drag the heading where you want it in the navigation pane, which displays to the left of your document, as shown in Figure M.

Figure M

You can move whole sections of text by dragging and dropping the headings in the navigation pane.

7: Open in Protected View

When you open an existing document for the first time in Word 2010, if you try to start editing it, you may be surprised to find that nothing happens. If you look more closely, you'll see that the Ribbon is hidden. What's up with that? The document has opened in Protected View, as shown in Figure N.

Figure N

The first time you open a document in Word 2010, it opens in Protected View.

As you can see, a red box across the top of the document notifies you that you're in Protected View and tells you that the file originated from an Internet location. This gives you the opportunity to determine whether it's safe to open. If you click the Enable Editing button, the document downloads, the Ribbon appears, and you can make changes to the document as usual.

8: Excel sparklines and slicers

The most notable additions to Excel 2010 are two new features called sparklines and slicers. Sparklines are tiny charts that fit into a cell, as shown in Figure O.

Figure O

Sparklines are charts that fit into a cell on an Excel spreadsheet.
The sparklines shown in the figure use the line format, but you can also create column or win/loss sparklines. You can edit the design of the sparklines, too, as shown in Figure P.

Figure P

You can edit the design of your sparklines.
Slicers are objects you can use to filter the data in pivot tables, which you can move around or resize on the screen. When data in the pivot table changes, the slicer is automatically updated. Both sparklines and slicers are created via the Insert tab on the Ribbon, as shown in Figure Q.

Figure Q

You create sparklines and slicers via the Insert tab on the Ribbon.

To see a demo of the new Excel features, check out the video at http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/

9: OneNote improvements

OneNote has been a bit of a forgotten stepchild in previous editions of Office, perhaps because it only came with the "lowest" and "highest" editions of Office 2007 -- Home and Student edition and Ultimate edition. Most Office users have the Standard, Small Business, or Professional edition. Microsoft obviously wants to get more exposure for OneNote. According to early reports, Office 2010 features will follow the same pattern as Windows 7; that is, each successively more expensive edition will contain all the applications of those editions "below" it, and more. That means OneNote will be included in all editions of Office 2010.

The most obvious change to OneNote, as with Outlook, is that now it sports the Ribbon interface, as shown in Figure R.

Figure R

OneNote, like its Office-mates, now sports the Ribbon interface.

In OneNote, however, the Ribbon is minimized by default. Just click the small arrow near the Help icon (blue question mark) in the upper-right part of the window to maximize it.

The new OneNote includes a number of improvements to simultaneous multiple-user editing of notebooks. New content that was added (or changed) by another user is now highlighted, so you immediately see what's new. There is also color coding to indicate the author of content that was written by someone else. Searching has been enhanced, as well.

Another interesting feature is linked note taking. If you put OneNote in linked mode, it will automatically link your notes to whatever you're viewing (Web page, selection in Word, a particular slide in a PowerPoint presentation, etc.). Then, when you hover over the link in OneNote, you see a thumbnail of the material to which it's linked and you can click it to open the original.

For editing, OneNote now supports basic styles. You can also add math equations, and there is a miniature translator that provides a tooltip in your language if you hover over a foreign word. Finally, on Tablets and other touchscreen PCs, OneNote supports touch gestures, such as finger scrolling and panning and pinch zoom.

10: Simultaneous editing

Here is another favorite of mine. I often leave a document that I'm working on open on one computer, and then need to open and work on it from a different computer. I get the familiar "file in use" dialog box that gives me the option to open a read-only copy, create a local copy to merge later, or receive notification when the original is available. Office 2010 does away with that annoyance.

Now I can pick up where I left off, or two people can edit a document simultaneously. A notification in the status bar tells you who else is currently editing the document, and where they're making changes. Very cool!

Word can also cache shared documents so you can edit them when you're offline, and any changes you make will automatically be synchronized with the original on the server when you come back online. Now you don't have to remember to merge your document when you get back.

Summary

Office 2010 still has to go through a public beta (expected later this year) before we see it in its final version, but what we're seeing in the technical preview looks promising. Whether you're using Office 2007 or you're still using Office 2003, Office 2010 will offer enough new and improved features and functionality to make it worth considering the upgrade.

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

56 comments
werbegeschenke
werbegeschenke

werbegeschenke Thanks for the FANTASTIC post! This information is really good and thanks a lot for sharing it. I???m looking forward desperately for the next post of yours.

jimrode
jimrode

I really like the new features of Office 2010. It's like 2007 on steroids! The new features listed in your top ten are just a few of the great things Microsoft has added to Office. Thanks for the update.

Tom-Li
Tom-Li

I found almost all classic menu programs in it: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, Visio, Project. Perhaps it lacks classic view for SharePoint Designer and SharePoint WorkSpace?

blarman
blarman

... to retain the old menu bar. I don't have a problem with people being able to use a new UI, but I have used it and I hate it. If I want to insert a picture, it now takes 5 clicks instead of one simple menu option because I have to shift tabs on the "ribbon", find the insert picture, and then click back to the Format tab to do my work. And I can't Customize the "ribbon" to only have one list of the things I do most, I have to keep using Microsoft's semi-logical arrangement. I also lose 1" to 1-1/2" of top screen real estate due to the ribbon. Can someone please tell Microsoft once and for all to STOP SCREWING AROUND WITH THE INTERFACES WITHOUT ALLOWING USERS TO REVERT TO THE ONE THEY ARE PRODUCTIVE WITH?!?!?

ActiveAvatar
ActiveAvatar

One day, when there are still a few people willing to buy MS Office, they will come to their senses and have an option button to use the classic look - I have been using 2007 and 2010 for ages and sorry it still sucks! Don't tell me that it is a great interface when I cannot do what I used to do very easily - and tell me why I have to have fancy green balls for anything even vaguely useful on my pretend toolbar! The list of poor design is very long - give us back the Option..... or follow the path of all those other big IT giants that got too self important and now we can't even remember their names. Shame really.

shwymbo
shwymbo

Wow that's fantastic!!! Does it get any better than this? :P

s123479
s123479

I don't know what this author is smoking except he may be trying to show how smart he is that he is totally losing touch with reality. Reality is Office is a tool. I have learned how to use this tool for many many years. If they want to add new features that I don't even care for - fine. But at least it needs to come with an option so that I don't have to relearn everything in order to use the tool. Imagine tomorrow the auto industry decides just for kick to design new breed of cars that basically all drivers need to relearn how to drive! Microsoft Office 2010 sucks big time!!!

ActiveAvatar
ActiveAvatar

It is not the Ribbon - though yes I hate that - but the lack of choice - indeed arrogance of MS. Old or new look should be a choice - lots of us high end users found the inability to customise and the number of mouse clicks to do what was a simple click on a custom tool bar item or a macro, incredibly destructive of productivity. Sadly it has become another big reason a lot of my clients have stayed with 2003 or moved out of Office or even out of Windows. Not good for the marketplace - and no good saying just buy an add on to revert the menus etc - most clients have tighly locked corporate systems where they cannot add anything. Finally if I get any more docx files to convert I shall scream..... make .doc the standard - most clients say if they receive a docx they won't use it - which if it is a tender is a pretty ghastly fate! Just listen to the community Redmond

macdaque
macdaque

As far as I am concerned, Office 2007 and 2010 are of no use if you cannot pull down menus with the keyboard. Going from keyboard-centric to mouse-centric is just a leap backwards - remember this is a word-processor, not any fancy image-editing software!! All functions must be immediately assessible from the keyboard, using keyboard strokes which used to be alt-? pull down menus.

john barker
john barker

IT look good and fast I dont think people will be disapointed with this john barker

mistercrowley
mistercrowley

Most are ok but I went to offline mode and now cannot get back to online mode. All of my searching just ends up with Office 07 stuff. Can any of the gurus hekp me? Even MS is vague if anything really. I sent a smile(frown) so that they could address the issue

Cornan The Iowan
Cornan The Iowan

Anybody know about the following? In Office 2007, the SIZE of the ribbon elements (graphics, tabs, etc.) is tied to the "menu" FONT size in the Control Panel Display Properties (or whatever they call it today). This replaced the earlier "large fonts" checkbox that users had to click in every application as resolutions increased and graphics elements "shrank". Even though I thought "large icons" should have become the default about 10 years ago, at least it was my own choice; I have some non-MS apps that even offer three toolbar sizes. Because I need / like a little bigger menu font, I get even bigger and bulkier ribbon tabs. I'm wondering if the choice of ribbon element size has been put back in user's hands in 2010 or if it will still be tied to the menu font size (which is still dumb). Of course, part of the consequence of bigger ribbon elements is that the tabs are more likely to auto-compress (another annoying feature of the ribbon). In 2010, even if the ribbon elements are user-controllable, if they're still "super sized" then they will still offer fewer choices than the 2003 and earlier toolbars.

Taddd
Taddd

What I don't get, how can you ignore future conversations without missing something important? I mean different mails are automatically grouped together because of what is written in the subject line. But there are quite common phrases and words like "Invitation to my birthday party" which are used very often, what about these? Aren't they about to be deleted without me knowing it? This is the thing that disturbs me the most, no wait the search is still not good, no wait with my search tool lookeen this is no problem, okay I think that is all what disturbes me ;)

boed
boed

Like Vista - all bling - no function. If they wanted to improve Office they SHOULD have - 1. Made outlook open multiple e-mail accounts as full exchange -not an additional mailbox with some functionality or pop/imap with very limited functionality but two seperate exchange profiles simultaneously from multiple exchange servers. 2. Full OLE support for pictures in access - umm wasn't that functional with Office XP - why take that out? Why should someone have to code to add pictures to a personal database? Might was well use oracle or a real database if you are going to have to use code. Adding Office XP photo editor is the work around but why not just add photo editor back into office if that is the solution? 3. Offer the old menu bar for people (most of my clients) who don't want to learn the new menu bar. You can finally modify the ribbon to some extent in 2010 however my clients just want their old ribbon bar. Frankly I have no issue with the new menu bar but I'm one person and most of my clients don't like it so prefer to stick with office 2003. MS could make money selling the new version if they just offered the old menu as a choice with the new ribbon.

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

I HATE the Ribbon. If the fact that the hate of the Ribbon interface is soo strong that it spawned third party products to remove it from Office isn?t a clear and LOUD message to Microsoft that the Ribbon it isn?t the end all to interfaces nor is the hatred of it by existing office users is NOT just a phase that they will be over after using the Ribbon for a short while then I don?t know what anyone could do to make this clearer to Microsoft. I have co-workers who think the Ribbon is genius but they also believe anything new by Microsoft is absolutely perfect. I imagine the pro-Ribbon users also believed Microsoft Bob was going to be the next revolution in Windows computing. HAH! Personally I've got no problem with Microsoft pushing a new & revolutionary interface onto its users that is confusing and at best, awkward to use, so long as it's an option. Users shouldn?t be stuck with the Ribbon. I?ve been using Office 2007 since it was first released and after many months of daily use I found the Ribbon no better or easier to use now then when It first used it. QUESTION - If the Ribbon were the next best thing to sliced computing then why haven?t all other software vendors integrated it (or something similar) into their products? Better yet, why hasn?t Microsoft moved all their products to using the Ribbon? After all Microsoft Office isn?t the only software Microsoft puts out that has been successfully using the Menus & Toolbars interface for many years. Why haven?t they pushed the Ribbon into other product families outside of Office? ANSWER - We see the Ribbon?s use restricted primarily to Office products because Microsoft HAS realized their mistake and so to do damage control and without admitting any mistake on their end, they are trying to make the Ribbon less hated by making it as customizable as possible. After all if the Ribbon was all it is touted, shouldn?t we have seen it in more use outside of the Office product line? Change for the sake of change is dumb; If it ain't broke then don't break it by trying to fix what ain't broke in the first place. All the Ribbon did was demonstrate just how arrogant Microsoft?s Management & Design folks are.

metilley
metilley

Both of these should be included in the new Office Package (or at least a "professional" version).

Loong
Loong

I'd like to the the option to select multiple items during a Paste Special, e.g. Value, Format, Column Width, etc.

RG Bargy
RG Bargy

Yet another overblown overloaded over complicated programme for tech-heads. No attractions there for the dedicated word-smith. Long live Word 1997. Gives me all I want, and more...

mccrea
mccrea

I think I will wait for the much more useful much more stable open office, and mozilla versions. Why give Microsoft hundreds of dollars for a product that will take year to work correctly?

jimmyreed4tech
jimmyreed4tech

"Office button (now implemented as a Ribbon tab)" Come on, just say they gave up on the dumb idea of putting a circle in the upper left hand corner and calling it a button! :-)

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

There is no need for anyone to buy Microsoft Office, and there hasn't been for several years.

Justin James
Justin James

Deb - That looks really nice, thanks! BTW, the "quick steps" bit looks like the Macro Recorder, which a LOT of people miss. I recently wrote a macro which can be replaced by it, for example ("Mark as Read and Delete"). J.Ja

Frowie
Frowie

I am most curious about how the applicatoin will handle conflicts in simultaneous editing. For instance, if we are both editing the same document and I decide to delete a sentence while you decide to edit it. How will it determine what to do?

Ben.reed
Ben.reed

Almost everyone touts the new stuff. What I'm most interested is the quiet 'kill-off' of features. So, what's lost in the new version? Better yet, let's see a paper showing the feature loss version to version. For those of us that must maintain backward compatibility, to retrieve old records as an example, not being able to pull up or edit an old doc or xls due to a feature drop can have huge ramifications (look at the changes to VB support in old xls files)... B.

ted
ted

For those of us who have never used OneNote, could you either provide an idea of what it is best used for or provide a link to an article that explains what OneNote is all about? If Microsoft want folks to use it, it would be helpful to know what its purpose is.

chris
chris

Any chance of them putting a "Use classic interface" checkbox somewhere in the Options for those of us who can't stand that ghastly abortion of a ribbon thing, or are we going to be reliant on Addintools to do the job for us?

mattohare
mattohare

MS made a real mess with MS-Access in 2007. Somethings seem to take twice the effort. I'm always resizing the query grid when I create a new query. It seems to take about 15 minutes to turn off all the new creature comforts (such as tabbed interface instead of MDI). Are they doing anything to fix that?

kallal
kallal

All of the common alt keystrokes work in word remain working with the ribbon. And, you can even use the keyboard to select other options in the ribbon. There is a large part of the market that is VERY fast becoming exposed to touch screens on tablet computers. The main difference is you don't have to try and navigate down a narrow little menu hallway that if you fall out of you have to start over (really very silly, and hard to use compared to the ribbon). And on touch based systems the old menu bar system just complete 100% breaks down. With ribbon...very nice... With large ribbon targets if you miss, it is a easy re-fire one click affair to hit it again (menu you go all the way back up to the top and start over). So, with ribbon u build much faster and better motor skills. Thus again for aging population, large easy targets is much better and again for touch screens again far better. However the ribbon options can be used via keyboard shortcuts if you want. So, you have keyboard use here. Keyboard still works and is not taken away here. I don't understand why you think the ribbon has taken away the ability to use the keyboard here?

greenjuice
greenjuice

As you say, the Office 2010 ribbon size is tied to the 'menu' font size set in Control Panel. However, apart from the basic options of large, medium and small, it is still possible to fine tune how various components of a window appears in Windows 7, and therefore in the Office 2010 ribbon. It is not intuitive to find this: 1. Right click on the Desktop and select Personalise 2. Select 'Window Color' along the bottom options 3. Select 'Advanced appearance settings...' 4. Under 'Item' is a dropbox of options, starting with Desktop. By going through these, you will be able to customise each component of a default window. For example, on my PC, changing my Custom Text Size from Small (100%) to Medium (125%) resulted in the Font settings in this dropbox changing from SegoeUI size 11 to size 14. Set at 'Medium', my desktop icons were an ideal size for me, but it made my Office ribbons too large. I used this method to reduce the size of my Office ribbon. Obviously this method will also have an effect on all other windows, not just Office ones. Hope this might offer you some options to try out.

macdaque
macdaque

Office 2007 was a flop, and so 2010 would be too. There is nothing more productive in 2007 / 2010 - and I agree, old menu bars must be retained for productivity reasons. Old keystrokes to pull down the menu bars eg. alt-f s to save must be retained - the existing mass market has been completely ignored!!!! Big BOO for 2007 / 2010.

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

I just got word from a co-worker who installed Office 2010 last night that the Sphere Button (object in the top left corner of an Office app that replaced the traditional FILE menu) has been taken back out and the traditional FILE tab has been put in its place. This may not be a complete step in the right direction of undoing the dumb change of the Ribbon Bar but it does show that there has been enough negative feed back about all of the menu changes that Microsoft is undoing some of the bad changes they made with Office 2007.

kallal
kallal

> Why should someone have to code to add pictures to a personal database You don't have to. They have added a new picture control. Not only can you bind it to a path URL path name, but you can bind that path name to a collum. Also, if you store pictures internal, there is now no bloat. The new picture control can be used in continues forms (something you could never do before with the ole control). So this new fantastic native picture control would allow you to display a open or closed folder icon to display the status of a project for example. Or you could even show a picture of part in a parts catalog, or a country flag next to a persons name. This control works without having to write any code at all. Here is a video of an continues form with pictures in it. and, at the half way point, I switch to running the access application 100% in a browser, and again you see the new picture control work perfect in a continues form running inside of a browser. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU4mH0jPntI

chaz15
chaz15

In some uses, simultaneous editing needs to be prohibited, for obvious reasons. Hope there is an easy option to prevent this when required AND that this can be set as default behaviour. Worst feature of Office 2007 is inability to permanently set recent documents to zero.

brigitdryad0
brigitdryad0

I'm coordinator of a regional network of classified ad newspapers. Our ad sharing network database was originally developed in Access '97, rolled later into 2000, then updated a couple of years ago into 2003. We didn't think we'd changed much in what functionality we used, but a few months ago, when a manager intent on keeping the office headquartered at our office ordered us to migrate the database off the network laptop back to our servers--which only have '97--we had our hands full for awhile, and spent 3 months doing double entry and pulling double reports to work out all the kinks and bugs (come to find out now that we STILL don't quite have them all worked out). The previous coordinator--who does the majority of the database maintenance since she was trained in such at a past job for the state of Oregon--said she couldn't just open the 2003 file in '97, she had to manually paste every piece into the new file. She also said the moves UP to NEW VERSIONS were no less painful. Now, I'm no dbadmin (yet), but I'm familiar with having something created, tweaked, perfected--and then, for whatever reason, having to go create or program it all over again, tweak, perfect... It was a nightmare. Long story short, I too would welcome a comparison of not only features gained, but features LOST across versions.

steve.hards
steve.hards

Since I 'discovered' OneNote just a few months ago I've been raving about it to anyone who will listen! Microsoft really missed the mark in not promoting it as a productivity tool. I've completely eliminated the post-it notes that cluttered my workplace by transferring all those odd bits of information and ideas into OneNote where they can not only be organized quickly and easily but, if appropriate, Ctrl+1 instantly tags an item as 'To Do'. At any time you can generate a list of all to do items that you have not checked off and with one click you can generate a ready-to-print page of them. Other examples of what it can do include the ability to grab a screenshot at any time by using WindowsKey+S. If you copy some text and paste it into OneNote for future reference it automatically gives you a hyperlink to the source file or web page. Searches in OneNote also find text in pasted images. Think about the power of that! And I'm only just scratching the surface here... It's worth spending 10 minutes going through the built in interactive tutorial first time you open it.

Hill Runner
Hill Runner

I use OneNote like as a whiteboard on steroids for multistep projects. I take a clean OneNote page and start by jotting a project goal statement and vision statement (a statement about what the completed project should look like.) Next, I brainstorm ideas for the project. Each idea can be a separate floating text pane that is easily moved around the page for organizing thoughts. OneNote also senses when you?re making a list or outline and automatically formats. You can easily add screen shots from your pc or the internet to the OneNote page. You can also link in any supporting documents, videos, pictures, or mind maps you may have on your pc. Once you have organized components, priorities, and sequences you are ready to commit to defining a next action. OneNote seamlessly integrates with Outlook for calendaring and task management. You can think of OneNote as an electronic filing cabinet for projects as well.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I was using Office 2007 for about 6 months. Got frustrated with the ribbon and lack of options. Went back to 2003. Now I can find the menus, options, and commands I need. Life is good.

ted
ted

I also would like to hear abut any new features for Access, but I disagree on the evaluation of Access 2007. It added some nice touches like saving repeated imports and exports. That was a real time saver.

kteirvine
kteirvine

Thank you so much for this solution. The ribbon size in Outlook had decided to 'go large' and this was driving me insane. I adjusted the 'menu' font from 17 to 14 and hey presto it was back to normal

Justin James
Justin James

I think it needs a few tweaks (of course, it's a Version 1 product), especially with its handling of tables (and a "Paste Special" is desperately needed, especially for pasting from Web pages), but it has reaplaced the maintenance of dozens of 1 - 2 paragraph Word files for me in a very happy way! J.Ja

chris
chris

From what I understand of Access 2007 it added some new functionality. Okay, it's functionality which I shall never use, but there are people for whom it will be useful. What annoys me about Access 2007, and in fact the whole of Office 2007, is that they've messed with the interface so I just can't find anything. I recently wanted to create a database with several relations, some lookups, multiple queries and some calculated fields. I decided to do it in 2003, and had it done in a couple of days in between doing the rest of my job. I have no clue how I would go about it in 2007!

mattohare
mattohare

I do a lot of ad-hoc analysis and scrubbing. It may have made your life easier, but they did it with something I don't need much. They did a lot to make my life purgatory if not hell. I've heard the same from other analysts. One was on an evaluation team in Oregon and said that MS ignored half of their input. I can only imagine that they're trying to cut developers out of making applications (a fair point). In the process, they're also cutting out the analysts.

steve.hards
steve.hards

Hey, Justin, agreed about the tables and replacing a lot of those short 'note' files! I do a lot of drafting now in OneNote instead of Word or Notepad. You have also reminded me that the handy 'type on the page' calculator function has replaced the occasional need to call up Calculator or Excel for a quick calculation. It all adds to one's ability to work efficiently.

argeedblu
argeedblu

My first intense exposure to the Fluent Interface was in Excel (even though Access is occupies a more significant place in my life.) When I first looked at the then new interface, yes, the air turned blue. However, I had to be in a position to orient users for a large local organization that had decided to roll out 2007. Let's just say that if I had not forced myself to use the new interface I would still not understand it. As it happened the time and learning curve that I invested in the Excel UI greatly eased my transition into Access 2007. While it has its flaws, I very much prefer the Fluent Interface, and like very much what I have seen so far in 2010 Glenn Access MVP 2007, 2008, 2009

mattohare
mattohare

And Tabs are ok for a web browser (even there I'd rather MDI though). Just so you know, comparing a database management software with a web browser is not the best of comparisons. I don't use Firefox or IE for database management. LOL I'll look at five or six sheets of data at once, spread over two monitors. Tabbing does away with that. And yes, I could and did turn it off. It took quite a bit of search and research to find how to do that. There is still no way (that I can find) to turn the 'Navigation Pane' back into a separate window.

kallal
kallal

Why bother to even re-size windows? The new UI has tabbed forms just like FireFox. Everyone been ranting and raving about that browser! If you want you can disable tabbed forms in access and go back to the old way. However, with tabbed windows you always get a full screen size form and they follow the size of the application size. If you run the application full screen then you can?t even re-size the forms. So, I fail to see your problem here (tabbed forms can't be re-sized). You can still choose the old way if you hate a tabbed UI like FireFox.

mattohare
mattohare

I have to resize windows far more in 07 than I did in any previous version. They open new windows to take up the entire screen. (Never mind that it may occupy two monitors.) All new query grids leave acres of space for the table or two that I put in most queries, and put the column grid way at the bottom of the page. It took a week or two to get the settings right so I *could* do MDI properly. I don't see why they had to force us into the side bar instead of a window for the list of objects. I'm sure all of you are right that there are new things there. They didn't need to make other things harder to use in the process. If they're following the same 'tradition', I expect they'll force us into a tabbed interface completely? I'll have to open separate MS-Access top-level windows to get any work done? Oh, and they gave us no way to remove those auto-filter arrows in the column names. What a waste of space!

kallal
kallal

There are several big features in access 2007 that really help. The report designer been re-done. With stacked controls (control layouts) you can now delete, or insert new columns in a report without having to painstakingly move all controls over to fill the space when you delete a column in the report. The old way had us deleting a text box in the detail, then moving all the text boxes from the right over to the left (a hard and slow task). You then delete the text box in the heading, and then move all the heading labels over left to fill that hole. To say this was tedious was an understatement. You also have to constantly flip between design mode and view mode. In 2007, you can do the above change by clicking on the collum and hitting delete key (about a 200 times less work). You save HOURS of time in the report writer. And you don?t even have to flip between design and view mode anymore. This is without a doubt the largest developer time saving change in access 18 year history. We also have a new picture control that allows pictures to be displayed in continues forms. That means you display a country flag icon besides a persons name. Or have a partnumber and part picture. Or you can have a task with a graphic folder icon that shows the task open or closed. This can all be done without code and thus means we don?t need to use 3rd party controls (like a listview). And we FINALLY have transparent buttons, and buttons now allow graphics + text. And there is a built in date picker. And, now email (sendobject) and reports can produce PDF files without any 3rd party add-ins needed. And also 2007 has email forms in which you can send out a form as HTML to any HTML email client, they fill out the form and then when then sent it back to you it automatic goes into your database. I could write on for many more paragraphs about new features in 2007. Anybody who doesn?t think there?s an amazing amount of features in access 2007 for developers hasn?t played with the product enough. Funny how some people are debating there seems to be few features in 2007 (it was one of the largest releases in the history of access and my above feature list was limited). I am testing 2010 right now and it continues this tradition. The feature set of new things in 2010 even dwarfs access 2007. So this product is a serious roll these days. Albert D. Kallal Edmonton, Alberta Canada kallal@msn.com