The Office 2010 beta includes extended web and mobile reach and a number of useful app enhancements. The next challenge is persuading organisations and individuals to upgrade
In 2002, eWEEK Labs conducted a head-to-head evaluation between OpenOffice.org and Office 2003 with IT professionals and end users at FN Manufacturing, a company considering the move away from Office. One of the Office features that proved most popular with the FN Manufacturing and other testers was the suite’s task pane—a sidebar through which Office applications could expose various features, such as thesaurus lookup.
These days, the sidebar concept is as useful as ever, particularly given the wide displays that have grown more popular for desktop and notebook monitors.
Word 2010 sports a handful of nice sidebar enhancements, starting with the application’s Navigation Pane, which replaces Word 2007’s Document Map feature. I used the Navigation Pane to traverse Word documents by jumping from heading to heading. I liked the way I could reorganise topics within a document by dragging the headings around within the pane.
Also situated in this side pane is a useful search feature. I typed the words I sought in my document, and the search pane would fill in with results and a bit of context from around the found term—more or less like search engine results do. By default, the search pane tool looks for text, but I could also seek out graphics, tables, equations, footnotes and comments by selecting one of these options from a drop-down menu in the search box.
For example, if I were converting a large Word document from a previous Word format, I could select “graphics” from the drop-down menu and cycle through each graphic in the document, looking for needed placement tweaks. This is especially useful, since slight graphics misplacement is one of the most common format-conversion casualties.
Word 2010 also sports contextual spell-checking. I typed the sentence, “I can’t wait to meat you,” and Word duly corrected me with a blue squiggly line instead of the red one with which it would mark a misspelling.