Good news for business owners chomping on the bit for Microsoft Office 2010. Come May 12, Microsoft will begin selling the full version of its upcoming productivity suite to businesses, about a month before the general public will be able to get their hands on a copy.
"For businesses, we will launch the 2010 set of products, including Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010, and Project 2010 worldwide on May 12," Jefon Fark, senior marketing manager for Microsoft Office, wrote in a blog post. "For consumers, Office 2010 will be available online and on retail shelves this June. Until then, you can get the Office 2010 beta."
All of the above mentioned products are on schedule to be RTM (released to manufacturing) in April, eWeek reports. And for those participating in Microsoft's Office 2010 Technology Guarantee, the blog outlines eligibility requirements, which entails purchasing and activating either Office 2007, or a new PC with Office 2007, between March 5 and September 30; either have or create a Windows Live ID; and redeem the actual guarantee right here.
Listen up Office users, Microsoft has made available a free tool to help you level up your productivity skills. It's called Ribbon Hero and it offers up different 'games' or challenges for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 and 2010.
"Ribbon Hero watches what features you do and don't use, and then it recommend challenges for you to play, to hopefully expose you to new features," Microsoft writes in an Office blog. "The first time you complete a challenge, you'll earn points. But then we want you to use those same features in the app (on another day) to prove you've mastered those features! You can max out a feature using it twice, on two separate days -- and one one of those times can you get points from playing the challenge."
Ribbon Hero also serves up Facebook integration so you can spam your friends' walls with PowerPoint updates right next to your latest Farmville achievement. Oh joy.
You know Adobe's portable document format: PDF. It's everywhere, from downloadable documentation for a motherboard you need to tweak to press releases from the assemblyman from Lower Someplace, PDFs rule. Why? It's not hard to understand:
PDF files are supported by computers and mobile devices, including smartphones; comparable formats such as Microsoft's XPS don't enjoy nearly as wide a level of support
PDF files are cross-platform, enabling you to create a PDF on a PC and read it on any other device with PDF support
PDF documents can be optimized for web display, eBook readers, PC printing, and high-resolution professional printing
Add up these reasons, and it's easy to see why PDF make sense if you need to distribute a document that can be read everywhere.
Although Adobe sets the standards for PDF files with its Acrobat PDF creation and Reader PDF display software, Adobe isn't the only game in town when it comes to PDF creation. In this article, you'll discover if your system is already ready to spit out a PDF on demand, how to add PDF output to your system, and how to track down free tools that enable you to perform some PDF editing.
In a recent blog post, the Microsoft Office team laid out the hardware requirements it will take to run Office 2010, as well as how they came to those determinations.
To begin with, don't fret over your CPU and RAM. Unlike the jump from Office 2003 to Office 2007, in which both of those resources were essentially doubled (233MHz/128MB to 500MHz/256MB), you won't have to buy a new processor or memory this time around.
But while the CPU and RAM requirements went unchanged, if you want to take full advantage of Office 2010, you'll need a GPU that supports DirectX 9.0c or later and at least 64MB of video memory. And should you "intensively use graphics features," you'll get more out of Office 2010 with a beefier videocard.
For those of you rocking an older GPU that doesn't meet the requirements, you can still use Office 2010.
"A graphics processor that meets or exceeds the standard will help speed up some of the graphics features youv'e used in earlier versions of Office, and it will help you use advanced transitions, animations, and video features new to PowerPoint 2010. [But] if your computer doesn't have one, you can still run Office 2010," Microsoft said.
Probably the biggest complaint surrounding Microsoft's Office productivity suite (other than the ribbon) is the cost. Starting with Office 2010, Microsoft hopes to alleviate some of those complaints by charging users less if they're willing to forgo a boxed copy and make do with a card containing a product key code.
The savings are pretty significant. According to CNet, Office Professional (includes Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, Publisher 2010, Access 2010, premium tech support, and the Office Web Apps) will run $499 for the full boxed copy. But for users content with a product card only, the price drops down to $349. The Academic version, meanwhile, will sell for $99.
Microsoft will charge $149 for the boxed version of Office Home and Student, while the product card will run $119, saving buyers $30. This version will include World 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, and the Office Web Apps.
Finally, there's the new Office Home and Business, which bundles in Outloook 2010 to the above. It will sell for $279 for the boxed version, and $199 for the product key card.
Can't get enough box art? Well then you're in luck. Polish website CentrumXP has posted what appear to be leaked images of the retail boxes for Microsoft's upcoming Office 2010 productivity suite, or at least four of the versions.
The site posted shots of Office 2010 Home and Student, Home and Business, Professional, and Professional Academic. Standing out among the four versions is Office Professional Academic 2010, which is an edition no one seems to have known was in the works. In July of this year, Microsoft announced the other three versions above, plus Standard and Professional Plus (both of which will only be available via volume licensing).
So are these leaked shots the real deal? We don't know, but since Standard and Professional Plus will come via volume licensing, it would explain why those box shots weren't shown. And CentrumXP is also the same sight that leaked photos of Windows 7 retail boxes, half of which turned out to be legit.
What's the verdict, real or fake? Hit the jump and tell us!
Quite frankly, we're surprised this one even warranted a study, but in case you didn't already know, firing off emails and swapping instant messages can be a serious time killer and cut into your productivity. But is the effect on your work even greater than you thought?
"Our findings suggest that even seemingly brief and inconsequential on-screen pop-up messages might be impacting upon our efficiency, particularly given their frequency over the working day," said Dr. Helen Hodgetts, co-author of the study at Cardiff University.
Rather than rely on a survey, Hodgetts, along with colleague Professor Dylan Jones, instructed volunteers to work on a simple task of moving different sized disks between three rods. Short on-screen interruptions were given, and even when they lasted only five seconds, the researchers found that it took people longer than normal to finish the next step of the task.
"The interruption breaks our cognitive focus on the task in hand, so we have to work out where we were up to and what we were planning to do next before we can resume the task at our original speed," explained Dr. Hodgetts.
We suppose that's one spin to put on the research. The other? Perhaps doing work and filling out TPS reports are the real time killers, cutting into our Peggle time and whatever other de-stressor we might have going on.
Through the Microsoft Partner Network, the Redmond software outfit is offering its partners a deal it hopes their clients will find too good to refuse. The deal is 20 percent off Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007, which is an okay promotion by itself, but it also comes with a free upgrade to Microsoft 2010 when it launches in June of next year.
Clients who take advantage of the 'Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 No Better Time Promotion' (forget about trying to say that three times fast, and see how long it takes you just to say it three times normally), are also eligible for additional beneifts tied to the licensing program they make their purchases through, as well as the quanity of qualifying licenses they purchase. All clients will have the option to spread payments over three years, training vouchers for employees, E-Learning courses, and rights to install Microsoft Office on a home PC in addition to a work computer.
If you're not a business owner, which is who this deal is aimed at, don't fret. As Arstechnica points out, it's very likely Microsoft will offer some kind of consumer incentive to preorder Office 2010 before its launch, not to mention promotional pricing like the Ultimate Steal Microsoft has run in the past.
Are you stuck using Outlook at work? We feel your pain. Compared to the alternatives, like Mozilla's light-weight and customizable Thunderbird client, Outlook is slow, bloaty, and downright unwieldy. Add to the fact that it isn't free and Outlook doesn't appear to have much going for it.
But whether you use Outlook because you have to or have grown accustomed to its interface and are reluctant to switch (or maybe you just want to justify the cost of Microsoft Office), we have some tricks to help you manage your email and contacts like a pro. After all, if you're going to use Outlook, no matter what the reason, you might as well get the most out of it, and we're here to help you do just that.
The open source movement might just be on to something with Open Office 4 Kids (OOo4Kids), a productivity suite aimed at the much younger crowd between the ages of 7 and 12. And if DownloadSquad.com has anything to say about it, adults may prefer it to the regular version of Open Office as well.
According to the project's wiki, OOo4Kids is based on OpenOffice.org source code, but because certain aspects have been stripped out, it loads noticeably faster than the full fledged suite. There's a lot less going on in the UI, and larger buttons point out all the obvious features. But aside from the splash screen, it doesn't look overly childish, so we could also see this being installed on Aunt Angie's machine.
As expected, there are some features that are missing, such as Base, and power users won't be content with al the advanced controls, but in our limited test run, we were fairly impressed with OOo4Kids. There's still a lot you can do with it, the interface isn't condescending, and it's fast.
If you want to check it out for yourself, you can download the latest version (0.5) here.