MS office has been a real winner for Microsoft but they forgot to keep it updated. As a result people caught up with them! Office12 (real name: Office 2007) is an answer to rivals.
So what will be new?
Firstly a new interface that takes the work out of typing documents, making spreadsheets, producing presentations with tabs and tidy menu's.
Everything is divided into sensible categories, one category at a time and clear bold menu names. Whatever you are doing, you get the relevant tools. Powerpoint best takes advantage of this making it a Professional must have tool instead of a 'nice to have'.
The file menu just got bigger and more powerful. New functions that mean you can do things like strip meta-data from files you intend to share. The View menu was moved to the bottom, allowing for an accessible zoom function and other functions that were hidden well in previous Office versions.
Outlook gets only one real category menu and this is for e-mail, contacts, and appointments.
So far Frontpage (now Sharepoint Designer), Publisher and Infopath have yet to get the new look.
There is a new transparent menu that appears when you select text called the 'Mini-bar'. It contains formatting functions like Bold, Italic, Bullets and other tools. It fades away when you move on.
A new layout and new look is what makes it better, the new functions serve to make the experience sweeter but wouldn't be nearly as cool without the new look. Accessibility is the KEY to Office12. It doesn't take long to get used to it, any previous Office Suite user will soon be navigating happily around the software without any problems. For example Microsoft Access is much more simple to use.
Performance of the software is very good for a beta. Sometimes you get a lag but having used it instead of Office 2003 to produce documents and having used family members as Guinea Pigs i see its something that we would of loved in the beginning.
There are new file formats, DOCX, DOCXM, XLSX, XLSXM e.t.c but you can save in the old formats to give backward compatibility with older versions of Office which of course will be important to people who move over to Office12.
My overall conclusion is 8/9 out of 10, and i don't doubt that once its complete it will be 10 out of ten.
In Focus. Office12 Review
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