Thursday, September 15, 2005

Office 12 - you got it first at PDC

At the day one keynote they also gave the first public preview of Office 12. Here's a list of random observations ( I still have to go over all of my notes - but this will already get you pretty excited):

General remarks
  • Vista and Office 12 will be released at the same time - release is expected for the second half of 2006

  • They completely reengineered the user interface - the "File, Edit,..." menu's have gone and are replaced with the "Ribbon". The "Ribbon" is a collection of tabs which instantly display your most commonly used functions - the Ribbon will show different options for Excel and Word. Next to the standard tabs which appear also context-driven menu information will be available through the Ribbon. The goal of Office12 is to create a result-oriented UI and I think they have succeeded pretty well. Other new stuff:
          - Galleries
          - Live preview - when you are selecting a new font or other formatting options, you get a live preview when hovering over the possible options.
          - Quick Access Launch - special area in the ribbon with your most commonly used functionality
          - Great zoom in & out for all Office types - with a very UI from within the new statusbar
          - New XML model to create customisation for the UI - RibbonX
          - Floatie - when you select a certain part in your Word document - text or image - a new UI will appear called floatie. This will show the most commonly used functions and is kind of a replacement for the right click menu.

  • Word 12 - new features and enhancements
  • More possibilities to create great looking text: better handling of margins, better options to insert images into a text

  • Great tool to add nice looking borders round portions of text

  • ... and much more

  • Excel 12 - new features and enhancements
  • Excel has a pretty neat feature which allows you to visualize the data in a very nice way - with color schemes (red,green, orange,...) or with color gradients

  • An interesting feature for Word was the Document Inspector - this allows you to scan your Word document for hidden info, comments, track changes and lets you remove them before you want to publish your document

  • Powerpoint 12 - new features and enhancements
  • The nicest feature for Powerpoint was the "text to graphics" tool - this tool can convert your typical bulleted lists to graphical elements

  • Lots of new galleries with templates

  • Synchronisation with a new type of library in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 - a powerpoint resource library. When you send a powerpoint to a WSS3.0 library it will split up the presentation into multiple slides (items) in the library. You can then reassemble easily a new presentation based on the info in this WSS library.

    Outlook 12 - new features and enhancements
  • New UI element added - Todo side bar

  • Enhancements of tasks in Outlook - explicit assignment and duration added

  • Preview of attachments

  • Possibility to overlay multiple calendars

  • RSS reader and aggregation of feeds in Outlook 2003

  • Outlook 12 can be used as an offline storage for WSS3.0 document libraries

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