Dear Windows-Help.NET Subscriber,
This week, Microsoft delivered Beta 1 of the next version of Office (likely to be called Office 2001 when it ships next spring), to select customers for early product testing.
According to Microsoft this version of Office will be a major product release, delivering breakthrough productivity and communication solutions, improve team communication and collaboration, and expand solution opportunities for organizations on the Office platform. It will also be the first Office suite to begin delivering on the Office.NET vision by integrating Internet-based services, enabling users to be more productive using Office with the Web.
"This is the most ambitious and significant Office product release ever," said Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Office at Microsoft. "The breadth of customer solutions we are delivering in this product exceeds any previous version of Office, and the innovations we are making will truly enhance the way people work and communicate."
Office 10 will simplify the way people work by empowering any individual to become a power user and giving them greater control over the way Office works. Key innovations include the following:
- Smart Tags. New Smart Tags appear on the screen while individuals work, providing useful information for completing tasks or accessing data. Smart Tags offer AutoCorrect, AutoFormat or Paste Options that give individuals control over automatic functionality in Office and help them accomplish their work more quickly. Smart Tags also can help individuals easily access information from the Web or other Office applications. For example, if a contact's name is typed in Word, a Smart Tag will appear and provide the option to automatically insert the contact's address from Outlook®.
- Task Pane. New Task Panes offer views that expose a wide range of new and popular features to help people easily identify and use more of the product. Examples of feature sets presented in Task Pane views include functionality for finding and creating documents and copying and pasting, using styles and formatting, and new search and translation tools.
- Speech. New speech recognition technology enables individuals to create and edit documents using either dictation or voice command.
- Hotmail and MSN Instant Messenger integration. Integration with Web services such as the Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service and MSN® Instant Messenger enrich the communication options for users of the Outlook messaging and collaboration client.
- Word Count toolbar. This new toolbar automatically counts words, characters, lines, pages or paragraphs and continuously presents the current word count without requiring users to access the Tools menu.
Office 10 also will provide a safety net through new features that automatically save and recover individuals' work, so they can continue working if a system or application error occurs. Key data recovery innovations include the following:
- Application and document recovery. Office documents are automatically recovered if a file, application or system error occurs. Individuals are given the option to automatically restart the application and open the recovered document so they can continue working. Excel, PowerPoint® and Outlook will join Word in offering AutoRecover, which automatically saves documents at timed intervals so individuals can easily save and back up their work on a regular basis.
- Application error reporting. Individuals now have the option to report problems directly to Microsoft or to a specified group within their organization, and receive personalized Web-based help or e-mail on how to fix the problem.
According to Microsoft, Office 10 will also offer significant new security features, including a central security panel; advanced password encryption; higher default security settings for Excel and PowerPoint; the option to not install Visual Basic for Applications with Office; and the functionality of the Outlook Email Security Update.
More importantly, Office 10 is completely backward-compatible with previous Office formats. Look for more news on the new version of Office in the comming months.