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Microsoft adds sex appeal to MS Office

tech-reviews Updated: Feb 04, 2010 17:54 IST

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Finally there is a product from Microsoft which has sex appeal, the Microsoft Office 2010. Gone are the days of Bill Gates types extended applications which were productive though but geeky in essence lacking any passion in their making or using.

The change started in the 2007 version, and MS Office 2010 has taken the average Joe's computing pleasure to newer levels where the user's own creativity is the limit to what can be achieved. Apps like PowerPoint have touched new highs and I'd say this is one of the reasons to experience Office 2010. Looks like Microsoft has poured a lot of passion into PowerPoint this time.

Excel sparks up too, with new features, my favorite being one called spark lines. Outlook and the rest of the gang have added more features in usability and productivity. But a lot more could have been done to Word which seems like a left over ex. But in sum, MS Office 2010 is certainly high on the 'coolness' factor, is fun to use and is also highly productive. The focus clearly is intuitive design, collaboration and productivity.

Powerpoint - Raw Passion Unleashed
Powerpoint is the clear winner, the sexiest of the whole lot in MS Office 2010. Imagination is the limit and the pleasure of making a presentation is something completely unexplored for a common user so far. Take the video editing feature for instance. Powerpoint in MS Office 2010 allows you to edit videos in slides. Editing in PowerPoint 2010 is probably just about everything you would need in a slideshow. You can trim the size of video. You can cut a certain portion of video and more. It also allows you to add Youtube videos really easily.

The picture editing features are superb. You no longer need Photoshop to change backgrounds of pictures. PowerPoint does it for you simply and very easily. Let's say you wish to use your CEO's face in the picture but don't like the background. Simply change the background or add color to it. There is also a feature to give a mirror effect to images. The picture editing in Powerpoint has evolved to new levels.

Here is one of the best features of PowerPoint. It allows the user to broadcast slideshows on the web, with little effort. A few clicks and your presentation can be seen by anyone on a web browser.

The Rest of the Gang
While PowerPoint seems to have taken a center stage the rest of the gang i.e. Word, Excel and Outlook do have few new features but nothing really to blow the mind. Word for instance now comes with a built-in PDF writer, something that should have anyway been in Word for ages but had to be downloaded separately. Excel now has something called Spark Lines which allows trends to be shown in next to the data itself. Outlook got more intuitive and time saving with the Manage Quick Steps feature.

Over all another major improvement is the Print Dialog. It is lets you do most of your pre-printing, previewing etc all at one go and with ease. This feature should be a great time saver from the earlier previewing, tweaking, printing feature.

Collaboration
Cloud computing is the new mantra at Microsoft and the new MS Office takes it high on the collaboration front. From the computer, to mobile phone, to the web you can do most tasks that you earlier did only through the computer. You can directly upload documents to your Skydrive.com account through your Windows Live login and with 25 GB of free online storage you can view and edit documents online. All this integrated quite smoothly with desktop Office.

Says Sanjay Manchanda, Director, Microsoft Business Division "Today, professionals need the freedom to access their information beyond conventional workplace boundaries in order to respond faster to business needs. With Office 2010, our aim is to provide users with best productivity experience across the PC, phone and browser. It infuses even more power and flexibility into the tools users rely on every day - whether they're on the road, in the office, working solo, or as part of a team."

Availability
MS Office 2010 beta version is available for download here free of cost. The final version should be available around October 2010.

The Last Word
I would say MS Office is worth trying especially for the new features of PowerPoint which have evolved a lot. It will help you create better and present better presentations. If Outlook has been the source of viruses resulting in frequent formatting of your system, the new Outlook promises to be a notch above the previous versions with some high security features. I still prefer using my personal domain branded Gmail though letting Google handle my data. Overall, MS Office 2010 is high on usability, collaboration and some really great visual appeal. Word could have scored better though.

Puneet Mehrotra writes on business and technology www.thebusinessedition.com and puneet@tbe.in