Microsoft Office 2010 is (almost) here

´╗┐´╗┐Microsoft recently opened official public beta testing of Office 2010. That means you can download it here if you’re feeling adventurous and you want to see what’s coming.

As is always the case with prerelease software, it’s not recommended for your main office computer if you rely on these applications for your daily work, but my experience so far has been that Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint are stable and useful as they are. You may not be able to run them side by side with older versions, though, so best to install them on a computer that won’t cause mayhem to your business if it goes down or you can’t get a spreadsheet to open on it.

The Ribbon, introduced in Office 2007 to the chagrin of many experienced Office users, is much less annoying. There is a File tab instead of an enigmatic Office logo, so saving files and printing them is more intuitive, and the new “back office” lets you see and adjust your printing and page setup all in one place.

If you have a spare machine to test on and you’re a somewhat experienced Office user, I recommend downloading the beta and giving it a test run. Eventually, Microsoft will stop supporting the earlier versions, so it’s as well to anticipate the fact and get familiar with the newer ones that will be all you can buy before too long.

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