Microsoft Office 2010: What to Expect from the New Software
In June, new computers with Microsoft Office 2010 shipped to retailers across the country, so chances are that if you buy a new computer, it will have the new version of Office. If you currently use Microsoft Office, you may have received an email asking you to upgrade. This is the first new version of Office since 2007, but the changes are minimal with the exception of new integration to free online services.
If you want free access to your work online, you may find Office 2010 worth the price. Otherwise, you will find it easy to adjust from 2007 to 2010 when you purchase a new computer. There’s no need to rush into it.
Three versions of the program are available for PC users who want to update their office suite. All versions include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. For those who don't use Outlook, Microsoft's integrated email program, the $149 Home and Student Edition is the least costly alternative. Adding Outlook bumps the price to $279 for the Office Home and Business version. At the top of the line is Office Professional that adds Access for database management and Publisher for layout design.
If you want to save money, opt for the downloadable version. For instance, the Home and Student Edition is priced at $120 for the download, $30 less than the boxed version.
Office 2010 looks different, but functions essentially the same as Office 2007. The biggest difference is the online integration to Microsoft’s new “in-the-cloud” version of its office suite, called Web Apps .
Office documents can be shared between a user’s computer and Microsoft's online server, called Windows Live Sky Drive, making documents accessible from any Internet connection.
Web Apps requires a Hotmail, MSN or Windows Live account. The online versions of Word , PowerPoint and Excel do not have all of the extra features found in the installed versions, but all documents can be created, edited and easily shared.
Look for the “Office” tab on your Windows Live homepage to access your documents online. When working from your desktop, select “Share” from the File menu, choose “Save to SkyDrive” and then you may select to save it online as a private document or as a public one. Double click the button and a “Save as” window will pop up. Choose a name and click “Save.” A green status bar will appear at the bottom of the document window that indicates the file is being uploaded. When you visit Windows Live, your document will appear under the “Office” tab. You do not have to leave your desktop to save it to the SkyDrive, but you will need an Internet connection.
Web Apps is similar to Google Docs, a free online office suite from Google that can also open Office documents. The difference with Web Apps is that no conversion is necessary between the desktop and online versions of Microsoft Office documents, while Google Docs must convert Office documents to its format and vice versa, which often results in lost formatting. Web Apps is free with the purchase of Office 2010, or can be used alone.
Documents anywhere, anytime
Storing documents online means you can have access to them from any Internet connected device, no matter where you are. Even if you do most of your work from your desktop, sending a copy to the cloud can provide a backup in case your computer goes down. And, if you collaborate on documents, Web Apps allows multiple users to work on documents and will automatically highlight updates on the revised version. Note that documents can only be shared by others with the author’s permission.
Some people have security concerns relating to storing their files online rather than on their desktop. Unfortunately, the term cloud computing did little to increase a feeling of security. “In-the-cloud” is a euphemism for off-site storage. A cloud computing service houses racks of servers that are just as solid as the computer on your desk.
If you are curious about Microsoft Office 2010, a free trial is available at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/. Office 2010 and Office 2007 can both operate on your computer at the same time. Once installed, you may add a shortcut by right clicking the icon on your desktop and selecting “Pin to Start Menu.” The program will appear in the top section of your Start Menu.
Alternately, Vista and Windows 7 users may select “Add to Quick Launch” and the program will be added to the task bar at the bottom of the screen, just to the right of the Start button. XP users can drag the icon from their desktops to this area of the task bar for the same easy access.
At the end of 60 days, trial users will be required to purchase the product for continued use. With purchase, the product key to unlock the program can be used installed on as many as three computers.
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