In-Depth

10 Top Office 2010 Features

Thought we left Office 2010 off the 10 Best Things Microsoft Did This Year list? No, we thought it deserved its own section, as it was perhaps the most important new product from Microsoft in 2010. Here are our 10 favorite features in the new suite.

  • The Ribbon: The Ribbon is about as divisive as a speech by Newt Gingrich or Keith Olbermann. Many find it more intuitive, while just as many are confused. Like it or hate it, it's a centerpiece of the entire suite.
  • Locking the Office Doors: Office is a big target for hackers. One new piece of protection is Data Execution Prevention, which keeps rogue EXEs from running in memory space reserved for data.
  • Backstage: Backstage shows up when you click the file tab. Instead of a simple list of functions, Backstage has a center panel that shows up when you click a task, and it presents options related to that task.
  • Most Excel-lent: Excel 2010 has two main new features: PivotTables, which can be enhanced through Slicers (which offer better filtering of the data), and Sparklines, which can take a single cell and create a mini-popup chart that demonstrates patterns.
  • A Brighter Outlook: Outlook is more and more the master of your communications. Now, it not only manages alternative e-mail back-ends such as Gmail and Hotmail, but it even ties directly to social networks.
  • Office Web Apps: Office 2010 includes scaled-down Web versions of core apps such as OneNote, PowerPoint, Word and Excel. With Office Web Apps, you can work entirely online with a Web browser - even storing files on Windows Live.
  • Get the Picture: PowerPoint and Word feature picture editors that used to be the domain of dedicated programs; the new editors can even adjust saturation and color temperature.
  • Making a Powerful Point: Similar to how Word and PowerPoint can edit pictures, you can now edit video from within PowerPoint 2010.
  • Spell Check: Often we spell a word correctly, but it's just the wrong word. Word 2010 helps stop that with context-sensitive spell check, and thus should know the difference between "there" and "their."
  • Found in Translation: Word includes a built-in language translator, perfect for an international company or your kid's homework.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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