In June 2010, Microsoft unleashed Office 2010 to the general public. While many people made the switch to Office 2007 three years ago, a lot of people stuck with Office 2003 and are only now considering a move to the latest software.
Windows 7 was released in the second half of 2009, but with all the bad press surrounding its predecessor, Windows Vista, many people and have held off.
So, are Windows 7 and Office 2010 any good? Is it worthwhile upgrading? What does the new software offer?
Well first, let’s tackle the question about Windows. Windows is the platform on which all the programs run. It provides access to all the programs and data on your computer.
Windows XP was a solid, reliable, functional operating system which didn’t require much memory or processing power from the computer and did the job it was intended to do. With a few tweaks along the way (called service packs), Windows XP ran like a dream for several years.
Then came Windows Vista. It had big ideas. While many of these ideas were good, it chewed up a lot of memory and processing power which resulted in computers running slow. It also had a tendency to frequently spit the dummy.
Many people in the industry, purchased an XP downgrade option, which meant that a computer that came installed with Windows Vista could be downgraded back to Windows XP.
But then came Windows 7.
Windows 7 is a gem. Designed by a new team (the team that developed the popular Office 2007), it kept all the good ideas from Vista, threw out the rubbish and made everything run fast. It’s also got some nice new features like a redesigned task bar that consolidates the old quick launch toolbar and the program buttons.
In a nutshell, get Windows 7. You won’t be disappointed.
So now let’s talk about Office 2010.
Office is the umbrella name for the suite of popular desktop programs including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher, Project and OneNote.
When Office 2007 was first released, the changes were so dramatic that it caught everybody out. Gone were the toolbars and menus. And in their place was this strange new world of tabs, ribbons, groups, launcher buttons, the Office button, pushpins, a new file format and a Quick Access Toolbar (or QAT).
Initially, nobody knew where to find anything and there was a steep learning curve.
Office 2010 is, thankfully, very similar to Office 2007, with just a few tweaks here and there. Once you have found your way around, it is a nice system to use.
Here’s a brief summary of what’s new for Office 2010. The features below are present in every Office program. Each individual program also has unique changes, such as sparklines, slicers and new functions in Excel and ligatures in Word.
Tabs, Ribbons and Groups – these are now in place across all Office programs. Previously some programs had only had half the job completed, such as Publisher and the main screen in Outlook.
The File is back – the Office button has been replaced with a File tab.
The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) and the ribbons are now fully customisable.
Backstage is a whole new screen that offers better control over file selection, printing and program options.
There is a recently used file list and a recently used places list.
There is a revised pushpin format.
New – skydrive, skydrive explorer & the cloud.
2010’s file format is now backwards compatible – i.e. compatible with older versions of the program.
Files can be saved as pdf.
The print dialog box has been expanded and simplified.
Web applications – a move towards browser apps.
An integrated screenshot (screen capture) tool.
Macro bugs have been fixed.