Every few years, Microsoft releases a new version of their Office software package that includes key programs like Excel, Word and Outlook. The upgrade to Office 2010 Suites saw several big changes to the classic look and feel of the software. While a few changes were jarring to some users who were accustomed to older versions, many of them are now considered key features that will appear in future versions of Microsoft Office.
The Office Ribbon
Perhaps the most notable, and controversial, change is the addition the Ribbon. This new feature first appeared in Office 2007, but the 2010 version saw it expanded across all of the programs in the package. The Ribbon is a collection of buttons that represent common or important commands that users might need on a regular basis. This includes buttons for changing the font of text, adding highlights or changing the orientation of a paragraph.
Office 2010 saw an expansion of the Ribbon interface to allow users to customize their toolbars to match their individual needs. This resolved some of the complaints made by Office 2007 users, who were frustrated at the forced changes. Users can add the commands they use frequently to the Ribbon so they are always in reach.
Bloggers and tutorial writers now have a much easier time capturing images in Office 2010 Suites thanks to a simpler screenshot function. The default Ribbon now includes a Screenshot button, which shows available images to choose from when pressed. Photo editing tools are now displayed automatically when an image is added to a document, so users can make adjustments quickly and move on.
Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook also saw a big improvement in photo editing options compared to older versions of the software. Users can apply different filters and effects on pictures from within the application, so they don’t have to modify the image with a third-party program first. While this functionality isn’t as sophisticated as a complete photo editing program, it does have many of the basic tools needed for document creation.
Writers and editors that collaborate with colleagues to create document drafts have long been frustrated by the “file in use” error when another user has the document opened. Office 2010 alleviates this problem by allowing multiple users to access and change a document at the same time. The new suite also offers automatic synchronization of offline and networked documents.
Exploring Office 2010
There are tons of smaller features and upgrades in the Microsoft Office 2010 Suite, including a few notable ones for each program. Frequent Excel users may be interested in the new sparklines, which are tiny graphs depicting changes in data in connected cells. No matter what part of the suite you use most, you are sure to notice some new features and interface options in the latest version.