Microsoft Office Professional 2010 PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Installation 9.5
Ease of use 9.2
Usefulness 9.8
Value 9.6
Distributor: Microsoft
Review Date:
July 2010
Reviewer:
Jason Bourke

9.6


Microsoft Office Professional 2010

With Apple, Google and other third party developers of office suites flooding the market, especially with net connectivity, Microsoft done the unthinkable in 2007 and redesigned its office suite from the ground up. It introduced the Office Fluent UI or the ribbon which replaced the menus, toolbars and task panes which were generally hidden in menus upon menus. This new ribbon promised to provide better efficiency to the end-user, however existing users needed to relearn this interface which caused quite a controversy among some people.

Even so, the new interface proved to be a winner, especially with new users who found navigating the various office suites, a much easier process. Now, 3 years later, Microsoft has streamlined their Office Fluent UI system even more and it is now used in all their office applications. The ribbon can now be customised by users to include your most frequent used commands and tools that targets the individual as opposed to what Microsoft want you use. The new office comes with the following programs;

  • Word

  • Excel

  • PowerPoint

  • OneNote

  • Outlook

  • Publisher

  • Access

Installation & 64-bit

The most exciting feature for Impulse Gamer is that Microsoft is finally supporting a 64-bit version of Office which boasts increased performance and the ability to access more than the traditional 4GB of RAM. This is of course dependent on what you need the suite to do for you but for the majority of people, the 32-bit version will suffice, especially when it comes to third party plug-ins. However for the more professional or advanced user, the inclusion of 64-bit will make accessing large documents like spreadsheets a lot better in terms of performance and stability. After a rather lengthy install that was quite simplistic... it basically only required a few clicks from the user, Microsoft Office Professional 2010 was installed and the following features were now accessible to me.

Features

  • Manage business and personal finances efficiently
  • Ready-to-use templates in Excel 2010 help you jump right in to create a business budget or track personal expenses.
  • Gain insight from your data quickly with Sparklines, Slicers, and other powerful analysis tools.
  • Visualize your information with colorful 3-D charts and graphs you can create in just a few clicks.
  • Organize almost any project in one simple place
  • With OneNote 2010, you have a convenient spot to organize your important resources, from meeting notes and customer information to home remodeling plans.
  • Create a OneNote notebook to collect a full spectrum of materials and media: documents, text, videos, audio, Web page clippings, and more.
  • Find exactly what you need with simple tagging and search functions.
  • Make Internet research more efficient with Quick Filing to save information from Web pages and other resources to your notebook with just a click.
  • Create dynamic presentations that command attention
  • Transform your ideas into memorable presentations in PowerPoint 2010 using a range of media, from high-quality video to audio and photos.
  • Take full creative control with easy-to-use photo-and video-editing features and dramatic visual effects.
  • Easily broadcast your presentation to customers across town or across the globe.
  • Express your ideas with speed and originality
  • From business reports to family newsletters, Word 2010 gets you up and creating quickly with ready-to-use templates for almost any project.
  • Add visual interest to your text with dramatic effects like shadow, reflection, and 3-D.
  • Choose from an impressive array of customizable SmartArt® graphics that help you highlight important messages in just a few clicks.
  • Stay in sync with your customers and calendar
  • Outlook 2010 gives you e-mail, calendar, and task list tools that work together, helping you stay connected to your people and projects more efficiently.
  • Manage e-mail from multiple accounts all in one inbox, so you never miss a message.
  • Add appointments to everyone’s calendar with a click using the Group Scheduling function.
  • Exchange e-mail with your team and customers even when you’re away from the office using Outlook Mobile 2010 on your smartphone.*
  • Access, edit, and share your work online
  • Office Web Apps work with Office programs to help you access and share your documents flexibly, whether you’re at home, the office or on the road.
  • Save your Office files directly to the Web using Windows Live SkyDrive, which lets you access them from almost any Web browser.
  • Edit and review your reports or presentations online with Web Apps that give you the Office application experience you expect virtually anywhere you are.
  • Share your documents online to make working together with customers and co-workers more efficient.*

Not bad? Thanks to a lengthy BETA testing process, Microsoft have listened to the little people and addressed many of their concerns in this impressive office suite program. I've tried to limit this review, however you will notice that Word 2010 is the longer review out of the lot because many of the features of word also cross into other elements of the suite in terms of appearance and navigation.

Word 2010

So what is word? It's one of the world's most widely used word processors that has evolved considerably over the years. The first thing you will notice about Microsoft Word 2010 is the streamlined interface that now supports the aero effects of Windows 7. The streamlined interface looks considerable more modern than version 2007 and it definitely stands out from its competitors. It also has more rounded features on the interface, not making it as harsh and blocky which is another move by Microsoft to mainstream their applications.

For users of 2007, you will see that the Office Button is missing to be replaced by a new streamlined "File" look that tells you information about the document and other tweaks. This new "Backstage" feature greatly gives the use more insight into your files from size to word counts and even total time editing. Whether you’re opening files, saving them or printing them, office is truly a aerodynamic experience that will definitely improve your workflow.  Pasting is different as well and supports live preview before you do your final pastes.

Printing has also changed, especially the new quick print feature that shows your document and easily allows you to setup your pages or scroll through your document. Another interesting feature is receiving word files via e-mail. When you double click on the file, it will open up the document in word, however it will not allow you modify the document because it is locked. This has been put in place to prevent nefarious users from sending you virus laden documents. If the document is fine or from a trustworthy source, you can click enable to start editing. A great feature.

Word 2010 has a variety of new editing options from SmartArt to new Text as opposed to the previous versions which seemed a little too “desk top publishing” and not that professional at all. In regards to pictures, Office 2010 features some basic photo editing tools which reduces the need to edit photos with other programs. Pictures can also be turned into SmartArt as well. With new fonts, templates and customisation options, Word 2010 gives the user more access to what their final documents will look like and truly spices up those plain Jane word documents from 3D text to embedded pictures.

For the more professional business users, provided you have Microsoft Office SharePoint, when multiple people are editing word documents, it will display the persons name with the section of the document they are editing. Searching for text in your documents has been refined thanks to the search box which quickly finds the text that you are looking for.

As the internet has brought the world closer together, Microsoft have included a handy translator tool and even bilingual dictionary which allows you to translate words or even documents. We tested this with the German language and it worked very well. Microsoft Word 2010 has come a long way.

Excel 2010

Excel is one of the world’s most popular spreadsheet programs and to keep things uniformed with the new Office look, Excel has also received a facelift. The ribbon has been streamlined and features that more modern look, easily allowing you to access different facets of the program with a few simple clicks.

Apart from the new interface and certain features, the biggest change for me is the true 64-bit support of excel. I tested an extremely large spreadsheet that Excel 2007 had difficulties with. In 2007, it was slow to load, slow to calculate changes but in Excel 2010, it was almost like opening up a small excel file with no issues whatsoever.

The program also supports the great print preview feature like word that allows good navigation and some options for basic changes. Searching for information in your spreadsheet files is  better, almost like Word 2010 and is very quick.

There are also some new chart available and calculating charts is far superior than 2007. One new chart are the Sparklines which are small graphics that fit inside one cell of the spreadsheet which will come in handy for people who work in finance, especially for ease of access and an overall view of your data. It's ideal for working out trends and the like. Like Word 2010, Excel 2010 is great upgrade!

Outlook 2010

The biggest change to Office 2010 is Outlook. Outlook has finally taken on the ribbon interface that brings all the packages together quite well. As all the programs are now uniformed, it makes cross access of applications an easy task for not just new users but also existing users. Even though it take some time in getting use to the new interface, it works extremely well and the end of the week, it’s become second nature to me.

For users with a considerably amount of e-mails, Outlook 2010 now features an built in e-mail archive tool and I noticed no performance issues with this functionality. Considering I had over 8,000 e-mail messages, archiving made perfect sense to me.

As mentioned, the menu system or ribbon of Outlook 2010 no longer features a convoluted menu system but has been streamlined for better efficiency. Scrolling for e-mails, looking at contacts and calendars for example is much easier on the eyes, especially when you are trying to locate information. It’s quite amazing that with the inclusion of Office Fluent UI, navigating Outlook and the overall visual presentation is far superior then any other Outlook. Outlook 2010 even supports social networking sites that allows for status updates from places such as Facebook and Twitter.

PowerPoint 2010

I actually loathed PowerPoint 2007, especially with the inclusion of the ribbon which made things a pain to locate. I’m still not a fan of 2007 but since the upgrade to 2010, Microsoft have addressed many of the nuisances from 2007. The interface is easier to navigate (thank the computer gods) which makes things easier to find and to search through the program. For example, better management of slides and navigation.

Apart from the slightly improved interface, PowerPoint 2010 really takes video to a new level that gives you more control of video editing and of course, inserting videos into your PowerPoint presentations. It all comes together quite easily now, including some basic timelines for your animations!

It’s the subtle changes to PowerPoint 2010 such as bookmarks for video files in order to perfect your presentations and better manage your time that has made this program a true time saver.  Other tools such as Trim Video will definitely save the end-user a considerable amount of time and less fussing with video files and formatting.

As the internet is now a norm with computers, PowerPoint allows you to link videos from external sites such as YouTube by allowing you to embed the HTML code into your presentations. The only downside is that you need an internet connection to activate the video but these days, this should not be an issue.

Although many people can view PowerPoint presentations, 2010 allows you to save in WMV format as well, giving you more options for those that don't have PowerPoint or have another operating system for instance.

Access 2010

Access is probably one of the world's most user-friendly databases and in 2010, the biggest inclusion is the incorporation of web databases. The interface of access also uses the new ribbon which has been streamlined for Office 2010 and should pose no problems to new and existing users. Everything has a place in the menu system... err... ribbon of Access 1010.

Access 2010 now allows users to create web specific databases by just a few clicks, provided you have SharePoint. This is great news for access users and finally, it's now a reality. The database has also been optimised which means it is faster to load and calculate various formulas. Add in new templates, improved report functionality and of course the new ribbon interface and Access has definitely come a long way.

Access 2010 also boasts PDF and XPS support, two popular formats that are vital for people who create reports. In relation to reports, user can add various templates to their reports to give it that professional touch and of course the integration with excel is almost perfect.

Publisher 2010

Publisher still has its fans and 2010 will definitely create some new ones, thanks to the snazzy interface and integration of the Backstage technology that easily allows you to access your publisher files. I must admit that with the Office Fluent interface, Publisher has definitely left the dark ages and as desktop publishers go, this current version has gained some considerable ground on its competitors. Whether it's the professional templates, thanks to the integration of the web or the  new Thumbnail Task Pane, it all comes together quite well.

As everything has been neatly categorised into File, Home, Insert, Page Design, mailings, Review and View, creating that perfect brochure, flyer or whatever artistic designs you need is simplicity at its best. The new templates available via Office online are also quite professional and we knocked some modified brochures in no time. It's great that Publisher is now part of the 21st century.

In the end, Microsoft Office Professional 2010 is worthy upgrade and although I wasn't a huge fan on 2007, Microsoft have listened to its consumer criticisms, thanks to lengthy BETA testing stage and they have created the next landmark of Office Suites. With improved security, 64-bit performance and a customisable ribbon system, Office is definitely targeted towards the individuals needs now.

Highly Recommended!

System Requirements
OS Required Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP SP3
 
Peripheral / Interface Devices DVD-ROM
 
System Requirements Details Microsoft Windows XP SP3 - 500 MHz - RAM 256 MB - HD 1.5 GB
Microsoft Windows 7 - 500 MHz - RAM 256 MB - HD 1.5 GB
Microsoft Windows Vista - 500 MHz - RAM 256 MB - HD 1.5 GB

 






 
 



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