Microsoft's next big version of its office suite officially goes on sale today in retail stores across the world. The highly anticipated release of Office 2010 has been through months of beta testing since November of last year. TechNet and MSDN subscribers were the first to get Office 2010 back in April this year.
With the new edition of Office, came numerous changes to the UI, applications and even x64 support. Throughout all the applications in the Office 2010 suite the ribbon is used, offering its users a similar experience at the top of the screen. The customizable ribbon lets you quickly access important tools and features for getting your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other applications looking just right.
This is the first time Microsoft has made Office available in an x64-edition. The 64-bit edition only runs on x64 machines running Windows Vista or Windows 7 64-bit, which takes advantage of your processors speed. Office 2010 really does utilize your 64-bit processor, launching applications faster and being able to work with larger amounts of data in Excel 2010.
Much like the Windows operating system, Office 2010 comes in many different flavours for you to choose from. The editions start from the Starter Edition, giving you basic support in Word and Excel, but includes advertisements - and is completely free. And working all the way up to the Professional Plus, offering you every thing that the Office suite has (excluding Visio and Project 2010), which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Communicator, InfoPath and SharePoint Workspace (Groove).
Much like Windows 7, Office 2010 gives you the ability to upgrade at any-time from a lower version of the suite, up to Professional Plus. Consumers can purchase the Home and Student edition, which gives you Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote and if they require Outlook, they can upgrade to Home and Business within Office 2010.
Not only can you work on your desktop or laptop, but now you can have friends (who don't even need Office 2010 installed) to collaborate with you over the Internet. You can share your PowerPoint presentation with your friend and have him help edit your work on the fly. With Web Apps, you can share any document from Office 2010 with your friends and family, while they help you out.
Mobile Office 2010
The release co-incides with today's Office 2010 launch. The new Office suite is made for Windows Mobile 6.5. A different version of Office Mobile will ship with Windows Phone 7 later this year.
Mac Edition (Office 2011)
Microsoft also promised to deliver a full version of Outlook in the Mac 2011 version. The full version of Outlook for Mac will include .PST file importing, Time Machine and Spotlight support. Users who are already familiar with Outlook for Windows should be comfortable with the Mac release. However, Office Mac 2011 will only be available in 32-bit.