Microsoft Office 2010 Professional

Microsoft's Office suite is one of the most popular office application suites around the world and Office 2010 is the latest iteration

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Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Office 2010 Professional retails for US $420
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  December 1, 2010

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Key Specs

HD space: 3GB
Memory: 256MB
Number of users: 1
OS: Windows Vista/7
Price: $420

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Microsoft claims Office 2010 has more than 100 new features and that it allows integration with ‘Office Web Apps' - a web-based solution that allows users to create and edit documents. The question is, do we need yet more features considering most users never really went beyond scratching the surface of the older suites?

A first glance at Office 2010 told us that the design started with Office 2007 is maintained, with very few alterations. The biggest change relates to the Office button at the left corner of the screen (this served as the control centre in Office 2007). This now gives way to a highlighted ‘File' tab while the ‘ribbon' feature is now standard across all the apps in Office. The major benefit that the ‘ribbon' format helps with is with its intuitive feel and thus time-saving capabilities. Users are not hounded by a never ending myriad of menus to access single functions (something Office 2003 was notorious for).
Examining Word, Excel and PowerPoint - the suite's bread and butter - more closely it appears that Microsoft has not disturbed much with a revolutionary new design in terms of the interface and the position of heavily-used features and tools. The interface itself is similar, albeit a little refined, with smooth operability and a pleasant upgrade to a new ‘Backstage View'. This allows for the editing of personal information and revision dates on a user's documents.

PowerPoint gets added video editing capabilities, while drag and drop for videos into slideshows is now a cinch. Web presentations are now possible too with a feature to create web-viewable slideshows. Most browsers worked flawlessly with this feature but all users require a ‘Windows Live' login, as the presentation can only be put into a ‘Live' folder.

Moving on, our interest was pegged the most when we launched Outlook, the e-mail client that has seemingly stood the test of time. Here the user is offered a refreshing experience that isn't too hard to digest. ‘Conversation view', similar to Gmail's threaded messages, is a much appreciated update that makes it much easier to interact with and manage e-mails. A nicer ‘to-do' list and flattering interface also contribute to make it the best revision in the suite.

A word of mention about ‘Web Apps'; you get a skeletal word processor, with the level of sophistication of Word 95. This proved troublesome most of the time since we found ourselves unable to even edit a document, let alone share it with other users equipped with a Windows Live ID. That said our problems here were no doubt caused by a flaky Internet connection, though this does suggest that you have a fast Internet line if you plan to take advantage of these apps.

For: Interface is yet more refined and easier to use, Outlook’s new ‘Conversation View’ is brilliant, stable.
Against: Still an expensive buy, ‘Web Apps’ seems to require a fast Internet connection, loads of features you may never use but are still paying for.
Verdict: If you’re using Office 2003 or an older version of Office, the newer 2010 suite is a worthwhile upgrade. If you’re a happy Office 2007 user however, Office 2010 doesn’t really offer a massive upgrade, with the exception of Outlook.

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