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MS Office 2010

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Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 was available for quite some time as a beta version, so the product never really had a significant launch because the beta version was extremely reliable. To date, a little over 7.5 million people have downloaded one of the various versions that are available. From that 7.5 million, roughly 650,000 users provide consistent feedback that has helped Microsoft make adjustments that have seen some improvements, in Outlook and OneNote especially.

The Home & Student versions of MS Office include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The Home & Business versions also include Access and Publisher, as well as other additional programs that come with the higher end packages (Professional and Professional Plus).

Windows PCs come pre-installed with Office Starter, which are essentially the basic versions of Word and Excel. It doesn’t include features such as References, Review and View tabs. Restrictions with Office Starter would include being able to edit tables of contents that are already part of the document, but not being able to create the table from scratch.

The 2010 version of Microsoft Office offers more image and editing tools, as well as SmartArt diagrams, one of the components that differentiates Microsoft from their competitors. Users now have access to more artistic editing and effects, filters that allow you to turn images into pencil sketches or oil paintings, and the ability to remove backgrounds.

Word 2010

With this latest incarnation of Word, you find a new navigation pane pop up when you first use the “find” function. You’ll be shown snippets of text matching or similar to the word(s) you enter.

Edit a document simultaneously with other collaborators, as long as you have it stored on SkyDrive. Accessible from the desktop menu, SkyDrive is a collaboration tool similar to SharePoint. Word is able to lock the paragraph that a contributor is working on; when you aren’t working on it, you can hover over the top to see who is.

With MS Word, you can now open a variety of documents and files located online. You are only able to read the file without being able to save, print or edit. This gives you a blanket of security, meaning you can open anything in Word without putting your device in danger of any malicious virus. However, if you really feel that document is safe, you can choose to override the initial default setting and enable editing.

Excel 2010

If you like to use Excel to make real calculations, then you’ll find that statistical, mathematical and financial functions have been changed. In some cases, it’s just a matter of a name change; but in other cases, they increased accuracy as well as adding an additional 50 new functions.

You now have more options for conditional formatting. You can add tags that will bring up mini graphs or show trending data. If you use Pivot Charts to help you organize the information you are storing, you can include buttons on charts that allows you to choose filters that manipulate what the chart shows you, depending on your variables.

You are able to create Slicers that allow you to switch between different settings from the Pivot Table or Pivot Chart. You can actually combine data from underlying tables and charts and tailor the delivery of data to match your needs.

Especially on the 64-bit version, Excel has the ability to work with massive data sets particularly fast. It’s almost as though you have access to a SQL Server.

For daily tasks, use the new filter options to add more data without freezing windows to scroll through data. When you filter a column, you don’t need to scroll through an endless list of checkboxes, you can simply type in what you need.

Overall, you’ll find that that Excel from MS Office 2010 feels a lot faster, everything from opening files to completing backups. You have access to the paste gallery so you can add data and view the finished products after you enter the data.

Powerpoint 2010

MS Office 2010 introduces PowerPoint Broadcast, a tool that allows you to host presentations without needing to be in the same location as the audience. It’s extremely easy to setup: simply choose the Broadcast Slide Show from the Share and Send section. The receiver of the presentation doesn’t need to do anything, and there is no need for them to install something, they will just receive high-resolution slides.

Users have the capacity to turn the slideshow into a video, adding your narration as well as screenshots to the presentation, making it a great sharing opportunity.

The MS Office 2010 new image editing tool is particularly useful with PowerPoint, enabling users to trim videos with a basic editing suite that’s substantial enough for most users. There is also the function to trigger animations with bookmarks.

PowerPoint boasts a lot of functionality; you can use video as a background to a slide and pick a frame as the preview for the slide. You can also embed DivX, MOV, H.264 files, WMV, WMA, and MP3. Additionally, you can add and preview YouTube and other web videos.

Outlook 2010

The 2010 version of Outlook is a heck of a lot faster than the 2007 iteration, operating with a new and improved interface. For many years, Outlook hasn’t provided a very intuitive experience, and they sought to change that with this version. For some users, you will find that it takes you some getting used to; but for most, you’ll see a huge improvement to Outlook that will stand the test of time. It's ultimately making Outlook much quicker, which is always a key objective for an email manager program.

Start with a simple search at the top of the message list, and you’ve find a list of options on how to you would like to search within the program. You have "Quick Steps" that allow you to conduct tasks on a larger scale, creating multi-step macros to help you speed up the process.

With conversation view you can put the message into a thread, mimicking how other email clients and allowing you to see the back-and-forth of a conversation.

OneNote

For the first time, OneNote comes as standard with MS Office 2010 suite. This has been a little bit of a ‘best kept’ secret. It’s an extremely valuable program that doesn’t necessarily come as standard in Office suites. It allows you to record audio as you’re taking notes and to put clippings in different places to make them easier and more logical to find.

The find function is a lot more practical than what you’ll find in other programs. Users are able to search through multiple files, even large files, all at once. You get instant access to Windows 7, which hasn’t been available to users in the past.

Create a OneNote page and link it with another document, linking it with your email messages and the like. Additionally, you can lock the note into a pane on the side of the screen which makes it easier to access. OneNote has always had the function of sharing and syncing your notebooks. You can save from SkyDrive to both OneNote and the mobile version.