Everything you need to know about Microsoft Office 2010
Click here for all the news on the launch of Office 2010, and our first look at its new features
Microsoft has announced full details of Office 2010 and its plans for an accompanying suite of online applications.
PC Pro has been given special access to a technical preview of Office 2010. Click below to read Real World Contributing Editor Simon Jones's initial verdict on the new suite:
The biggest change for Office 2010 is the suite of online applications that will ship alongside the desktop software.
There will be lightweight browser-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, that will allow users to carry on working when they're not in front of their regular PC.
Microsoft's Office client product manager Chris Adams told PC Pro that the company is "not looking to achieve feature parity across the PC and the browser", but will "replicate features that make the most sense for what people are doing [remotely]."
However, Adams says that "customers will not have to accept loss of formatting, loss of content, or loss of fidelity" when they edit documents in the online applications.
Microsoft says the online applications will be free to consumers and small businesses, via Windows Live. Larger businesses can choose to host their own versions of the web applications via their SharePoint server or buy them as a hosted service from Microsoft.
Microsoft hasn't granted journalists access to the online applications as yet, but will deliver a technical preview next month.
New desktop features
As far as the desktop applications are concerned, the Ribbon interface first introduced with Office 2007 has now been rolled out across every application, including Outlook.
Outlook also sees the introduction of two new email features for office workers drowning under a deluge of email. The Conversation Clean-Up tool will condense long email chains into summaries of the conversation, allowing you to catch up with all the key information without having to open dozens of different messages individually.
"It can cut through 16 emails and work out where the content is duplicated," Adams explained. "Then if you read just three emails you have the full information."
Outlook will also have a new Ignore Conversation feature that allows users to opt-out of round-robin emails that don't concern them. Adams gives the example of a long email discussion about a dinner engagement that you know you won't be able to attend. One click of the Ignore Conversation button will junk any further emails on that topic.
Elsewhere, Word and PowerPoint will benefit from new, sophisticated photo editing tools, while PowerPoint will also be capable of basic video editing.