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270 of 282 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2010
I've had an opportunity to use Office 2010 Beta edition for a couple of months now and now that I see the full, final, edition I can say that this is a very worthwhile upgrade. First things first, I am not a techie. I am someone who uses Word, Excel and PowerPoint on a very regular basis, who really liked some of the changes in Office 2007 but who thought some things needed tweaking, so when given the opportunity for the beta edition I jumped on it and have not been disappointed. Office 2010 is to Office 2007 what Windows 7 was to Vista; that is, there are not many breakthrough, drastically different features, but a whole lot of polishing and cleanup to make it easier and more efficient. Overall, the program seems to run faster, incorporates many of the most commonly used options and makes them more accessible (eliminating many dialog boxes and tabs) and allows for more customization.

At first glance it looks very much like its predecessor, the ribbon is back and it is now also found on OneNote. There are plenty of sites that will give you a play-by-play on all the features available in this new version, so I'm just going to mention some of the biggest improvements that I've seen.
1) The biggest change is the addition of the web apps. It may not be a true direct competitor to google docs, but it allows for easier sharing of documents, as well as making your documents more accessible.
2) The ribbon is back and it now includes the "File" option and a new feature called "Backstage view." Backstage view incorporates the most commonly used actions in one place (yay! no more dialog boxes with tabs). You get the usual open, save and print, but you also get several templates for new documents, print layouts and ways to share your work, all without dialog boxes and tabs, everything is much more easily accessible.
3) Another new feature is that the ribbon is now customizable so you can organize it according to your needs.
4) There is a Paste Preview which lets you switch between paste options so you can make sure that your work will be formatted correctly.

Changes in PowerPoint.
You can now edit video directly on PowerPoint. You can trim a video, add effects, fades and even triggers for animations for the presentation. Another new feature is that you can add effects and edit images without the need for third party software.

Changes in Word.
One nifty new feature in Word is called "Navigation pane," which replaces the old document map. It incorporates minor changes in design that make big changes in productivity and ease of use. It allows you to quickly rearrange the document. Take for example a document with several headings/sections. The Navigation pane provides a list of all the headings. The headings are live, so you can drag them up or down, thus rearranging the document. It also incorporates most of the functions that used to be available in the "Find" dialog box but now they are all visible so you don't have to go digging through several menus to find the option that you need.

Changes in Excel.
Most of the changes in Excel deal with very large datasets. There is a new PowerPivot add-in which works great if you are dealing with a very large dataset that does not fit in one Excel spreadsheet. PowerPivot pulls the data from multiple sources (several Excel spreadsheets for instance) to analyze it.

Changes in Outlook.
There is a ribbon, and this makes for a huge improvement. You can turn long email threads into conversations so you can find information from a specific participant without having to read entire threads. You can also filter out or ignore entire threads on a particular subject, including future emails. Be careful though, you can unknowingly eliminate important future emails because they have the same subject title as a conversation you ignored in the past.

Overall this is one well planned and executed upgrade that essentially takes all the promises of Office 2007 and makes them a reality. Yes, some things are different, and it will take some getting used to; but, once you realize the improvement in efficiency you'll agree that the changes are mostly for the positive.
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210 of 221 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2010
I'm coming from OLD versions of these applications. I'm ashamed to say I was still using a version of Word 2002 on one of my computers...Yikes! I've been using Mozilla's excellent (and free) Thunderbird client for many years.

So the standout here for me, is Outlook. I honestly can't figure how I ever effectively used email before. If you've ever tried to configure Thunderbird for gmail access using either POP or IMAP, it is a multi-step process (by multi, I mean like 22 steps) to get to the end. Complete with re-mapping ports, changing TLS and server configurations, the whole deal. I could always get it to work, eventually, and once it's set, it just works after that. You only had to go through that process once. But since I do OS re-installs somewhat regularly, I had to go through this Thunderbird "initialization" process many, many times.

So I download the Office 2010 Beta. (the full beta that installs on your hdd, not the virtualization beta which was garbage and took forever to load up).

It asks me some pointed questions about my gmail account. Literally like 2 questions: my email address and my password. There might have been one other question or 2, but I don't think so. Outlook basically configured itself instantly after I entered my information, no port mapping or any of that other stuff. It just worked and immediately started synchronizing my folders. This was impressive in and of itself, but the conversation feature was great as well, where Outlook keeps threaded replies under one conversation heading. It just streamlines things and makes it much better. (note: I've discovered that the conversation feature "confused" a lot of users; it has therefore been disabled in the final product. Go to your view section of your ribbon and click the box "show as conversations" to re-enable. I honestly don't understand how this could be confusing, but ok. Just turn it on, any logic-minded person will like it.)

The Search option is invaluable as well. It acts like an index-able search and starts returning results as you type. I had a product that had failed on me, but that also had a 3 year warranty that was nearing expiration. I typed in the name of the product and outlook finds all pertinent messages in my Gmail account from 32 months ago...instantly. (actually before I even finished typing its name). Thunderbird has not replicated this functionality in any meaningful way, not even close. Normally I would be combing through pages and pages of emails trying to find the one I needed. This little feature has saved me so much time, I can't even tell you. And I just stumbled upon it, which makes it even better. You can type anything in this box: email addresses, names, words that may only appear in the subject or body. It finds it all instantly as you type.

So the big deal here is something I haven't mentioned which is called the Ribbon interface. This is the fancy menu-ing system at the top of each application. So where you would normally have static menu buttons as any browser/application does, the ribbon options change based on which heading you click. This is cool and is pretty well standardized between applications. Each application obviously has different needs for the major headings, but the functionality is the same. Outlook is a visually impressive app as compared to Thunderbird. Even my wife noticed something was different when she saw it on my screen for the 1st time. (I still had Thunderbird installed on her computer.) Thunderbird looks absolutely midieval in comparison. After months of using the Office 2010 beta, I was on my wife's computer and loaded up Thunderbird. The difference is big.

Though I have never used Outlook 2007, I have read this is a major upgrade in every way over it, and no question over Outlook 2003. I also loved the new Calendar system, again much better than what I used to with Thunderbird, which for a long time was an extra plugin, called Sunbird.

The other standout in my opinion is Word 2010. This is still the yardstick by which other word processors are measured. It's got insane functionality and can do things that I will probably never, ever have a need for. This seems to be more of several, tiny optimizations that are visible after a few weeks of use. Word 2007 also had the ribbon UI, but this has been refined. Word 2010's search/navigation functionality has been drastically improved: this is especially handy for long/multi-page documents. All the functionality you could ever want in a word processor is here and it is also a beautiful app as compared to something like Google docs or Open Office. Not picking on them or anything, because obviously you're gonna get more for a paid app vs. a free one. I have WordPerfect at work, and I can barely stand to use it in comparison. Not sure why, but no one can touch Microsoft as far as Word goes.

These 2 programs alone justify the $240 price tag here, since you will spend more than that by purchasing only those 2 programs as stand alone apps. So I figured I might as well get this one since it also comes with Excel, Power Point, and One Note.

On Excel, a big boost to graphing and charts is the ability to interact with them and have them change in real time so you can see what effects small changes may have on a given data set. Microsoft gives this addition a tech buzz word (pivotChart); but all it means is you can see the effects that data has graphically, and instantly. It also has had its ribbon interface heavily modified/tweaked as well. I'm really glad I got Excel with this package (I didn't think I'd ever use it.) I have since had a business opportunity and have had to draft a business plan, profit/loss projections, and month to month projections. Templates are super easy to find on Microsoft's website and the bank even sent me a template for a personal financial statement in Excel 2010 format. It was nice to have the necessary software load up and ready to go, when I clicked the attachment from my banker.

PowerPoint 2010: I've put together two presentations with it thus far. They seemed to go overboard with the picture/video options; video editing is kinda crazy with this. If you want to spend the time learning the ins and outs, it seemed quite powerful to me as far as that stuff goes. Photo editing has also been ramped up. You can basically do everything within the program now vs. having to use Photoshop or Adobe Premier/Final Cut to process the footage, add frames, effects, crop, fix audio, etc. Basically you had to do all this first in PowerPoint 2007 and then load it into your ppt file. This is pretty big if you do a lot of presentations or slideshows.

One Note is for online collaboration. You essentially share data such as class notes, etc. in the cloud with whoever you want. Schools and students may find this helpful, but I haven't really had a need to use it yet.

If you don't want/need Outlook, they have a home and student edition. You can spend more and get Publisher and Access in the Professional edition if you even need that sort of thing. I hope you don't since that'll cost you close to $500 for the entire suite.

As far as versions, obviously this edition (the Home and Business edition) is the best value for the money in my opinion. Also, definitely get the disc version since it allows 2 installs. That means I can give my wife the suite as well on her computer. So the key card option, which is basically just a product key that you would enter into a authorization box in the version that you download, will only allow you one install, but the price is $200! You get to install it twice for $240 with the Home and Business edition. It's definitely NOT worth saving $40 to only get to install it on one PC.

All the applications have attractive, animated splash screens and load extremely quickly on my 2 year old PC. Overall, I would say definite upgrade from Office 2003 and to atleast consider it if moving from Office 2007. Unless you're an Outlook user and that would become a "definite upgrade" as well.

Hope you've enjoyed this review from a user who's actually used the product for several months via the beta and then the final version (Amazon verified purchase), as I wanted to give some original feedback.

UPDATE 6/23/2010: So after using the Office 2010 Beta for over 6 months, I received my copy of the final version from Amazon several days ago. I just un-installed the beta and ran the setup from the DVD ROM. A little hiccup with the uninstall occurred where I received an error message of "could not un-install all components." A reboot solved that issue. Setup was fairly quick (between 5 and 10 minutes), and Outlook retained all of my email settings. Upon loading it for the 1st time, no questions were asked, it just worked like it always had. That is because uninstalling Outlook doesn't delete your Outlook data, it saves it in a .pst file. This gives your email/calendar/contact data persistence. I was impressed by this. No having to use a 3rd party backup utility like Mozbackup that I had to do with Thunderbird. There are other reviews that reference that pst file transfer should be a 5 minute process. Well, it is. Actually, it's more like a 2 minute process. But for a non-techie, it might be a challenge. Most of us geeks know that calling support for something like this will be a fruitless effort. Research online forums for quicker, more pertinent help.

Also, all the programs now run insanely fast. I guess a few optimizations have taken place since I originally downloaded the beta. You barely get to see the splash screen animate now before the apps are already loaded. I can confirm the key code that comes with this disc allows 2 full installs on 2 different PC's. Both suites have been activated with no issues whatsoever.

Furthermore, I wanted to let you know that you should not install the 64 bit version of Office 2010. Both my machines are 64 bit chipsets, but I installed the 32 bit version on both. Even Microsoft recommends installing the 32 bit version over the 64 bit version. It will likely introduce more problems than it solves with no measurable speed/productivity increases whatsoever. The only reason you would want to consider this is if you're dealing with massive (as in larger than 2 GB) files in Excel. So if you're not doing Godzilla-sized spreadsheets, leave the 64 bit version alone. PLUS the 64 bit version of Outlook is gimped because it loses the add-in functionality. Add-ins are helper apps just like add-ons are for Firefox. You don't want to use Outlook without them.
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2011
Even with the negative reviews I decided to purchase this product because I had to have it like Yesterday. One of the bad reviews had mentioned getting an error message about the 32 Bit Version error coming up when installing. Well the same thing happened to me and the problem was that with my new computer there was already a trial version of this product on the computer so I uninstalled the version that came with the computer then when I went to install this product I had no problem so hopefully this will help anyone else that comes across that same problem. The product installed perfectly and works great. Hope this is helpful.
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90 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2010
I had the full version of Office 2003 and the student version of 2007 without Outlook. I bought the home/business version since it was time to upgrade Outlook. I cannot comment on the other programs yet because 2 days later and about 4 hours of wasted time, I am still trying to export my 2003 Outlook e-mail data files from my desktop to my laptop which has 2010 loaded. This seemed prudent before upgrading my desktop that I primarily use (work from home full time). About the only good thing I can say about the transfer is that the three versions are compatible for pst file transfer, unlike the upgrade from 2002 to 2003, which was not. I tried calling support and while 3 months if free with this H&B retail version, it appears that it's all offshore now which is disappointing given the cost of "upgrading."

Unlike many other users, I don't mind the price (esp Amazons) and prefer a clean install in case I want to load on a computer with no previous version. However, the cost should include support from Americans (or at least Canadian: ) So far, support has been of no help, either on the phone or in the knowledge base which gives me the choice of backing up the whole pst file and then copying (did not work) or exporting data file by file (had to break up my inbox in to sub files). Yet they keep sending me e-mails asking if my problem is they can close it out.

Microsoft: by now transferring pst files should be a 5 minute thing for those of us not on exchange (don't know if that's any better). If phone support was better, I would say that some people might benefit from buying the professional version which comes with one year of support instead of 90 days...cheaper than a bunch of calls to M. Some day I will update my review if I ever get out of Outlook : )

PS to the guy who complained that 64 bit is not compatible with his computer; unless you are a computer pro or wiz, load 32 on your 64 bit computer using the typical install (which I loaded on both computers - have one of each - Vista 32 and 7 64) since 64 does not work with all applications and thus, not worth the small increase in processing speed. I had to hunt online to figure this out as Microsoft does not make it clear.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2010
As a software user/developer with many years' experience, I am usually slow to criticize someone else's efforts - I know how difficult it is to anticipate the user's needs. I also know that all software requires a learning period (sometimes significant), therefore I have been waiting to review Microsoft's new Office 2010. I wanted to give the new version time to settle in. Well, I mostly hate the 2010 version and it isn't settling in at all! I replaced Office XP with the 2010 version because I was beginning to receive documents created in the new Office versions and my old software couldn't display or edit some of them. Big mistake!

The first thing I noticed was that Microsoft totally ignores my Windows XP color settings. That means the idea of "access" is out the window! I have low vision and prefer white text on a black background. There are SOME color adjustments but you can't change the background colors on e-mails received. In the old version, you could either click forward or reply and the copied version would revert to your Windows settings - not true with this 2010 product. You can change some of the column headings but only using Microsoft's pre-defined combinations - no high contrast choices at all and you can't change the backgrounds!

Second, settings and adjustments are scattered all through the product. I think they tried to put them where they were mostly used but that means you have to look in different places. Some of them are really hidden. The old version had most adjustments under either "options" or "customize". When you do finally find adjustments, some of them are meaningless and no specific context sensitive help is available - BAD BAD Microsoft! In the old version you could always search the "help" for a particular feature - not so here!

My fourth complaint is that this product is covered with meaningless icons with no text titles available (except when you move the mouse over the icon)- maddening when you don't know which one to hover over. Even when the mouse displays information it is often useless.

I tried searching for help - no luck! Help seems to take you to some Internet location (or at least it uses the browser) where there is a very limited sales-pitch type of presentation. No step-by-step or hot links! My searches bring up nothing useful.

So far, I have only found 2 dubiously redeeming features. First, Outlook seems to do a better job of rejecting unwanted e-mails when you have told it they are spam. Secondly, Office seems to be able to convert old format files quickly without the bothersome add-ons.

I am about to scrap this product and re-install the old version. The ONLY thing stopping me is the several hundred dollars I spent to purchase 2010. The new advantages aren't worth the aggravation. I spend more time looking for what I need than I do working.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2010
Office 2010 is 5 stars. The activation & pricing scheme is 1 star. New average = 3 stars.

Office 2010 is different from previous MS office iterations in its marketing scheme.

Home/student disc = NO OUTLOOK, key good for 3 computers

Home/Biz disc = OUTLOOK, key good for 2 computers

Home/Biz activation key = One computer

Very sneaky this change up in my opinion to catch buyers off guard. Read carefully. Learn from my lesson, I bought home student (3 computers) FIRST and discovered after purchase that Outlook wasn't there. I wasted $150. I'd normally suck it up in my rating as it was my error ... the package clearly DOES NOT mention Outlook. MSOneNote is new and an unknown for now. I don't see an intuitively obvious use for it yet. As a trade off for Outlook, it seems like a loser.

The second buy was home/biz ... except, to find it is only good for 2 computers ... yet another surprise AND I was more careful in reading fine print this time.

The product description needs to provide this information upfront regarding both no Outlook in Home/School and the # of computers/key in the same bold font as the MS attributes. I called MS ... I can generally cajole my way to an extra add on, but not this time. MS offered no consideration for my home/student wasted $150 which the MS activation center said was clearly obvious with overlapping licenses for Word, Powerpoint & Excel.

I have no gripe on the price. It's worth buying but the buying experience is not happy for multiple computers. The Amazon price is the lowest available.

MSO 2010 did solve a quirky Outlook 2007 behavior that took up residence on one of my 4 home machines that had rendered it non-email friendly. I must have spent close to $1000 in tech support to unsuccessfully resolve that one.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2010
I have never cursed a product upgrade as much as Office 2007/2010; just ask the people around my cubicle. I work as a software developer and do a lot of technical writing. I found the features of Office 2003 to be useful and relatively easy to understand.

This release pretty much erases any previous knowledge of how to do any task in Word other than type on the keyboard. What they've done is taken a menu based approach that has been centric to Macintosh, Windows and Linux, and replaced it with a new graphical icon/menu tabbed hybrid. I assume the reasoning is that it is more like how web pages are designed.

The entire organization of things is different. Things that were previously on the same menu are now in a different grouping. I can't find the menu choice for anything I want to do. Basic things like the Find command that is always on the Edit menu in most software is now way at the end of the Home menu. I use that all the time. I find the default style sets to be obnoxious. You can change it back to Word 2003 or others if you want though.

I think people learning how to use a product or a computer for the first time may find it easier, but many people with experience will find it difficult to find things.

The good news is that the beta has been stable for me on Windows 7 64-bit.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2011
Product didn't work and I haven't been able to get a full refund. I purchased product in September 2010. When I tried to install it using the product key provided, it wouldn't work stating "invalid product key". I called Microsoft and they let me know that the key had been locked due to too many uses. Being that I had never used the product before, I was baffled. Microsoft let me know that even though I hadn't used the product key, others had. I contacted the seller (Amazon) and the rep let me know that it was passed the return deadline so I couldn't return it. I insisted so she then said I could try to return it but wasn't guaranteed a full refund. I took my chances and sent it back. They issed my refund less $42. I called Amazon and they let me know that they made an exception by issuing a refund at all being that the 30 day deadline had passed and when they received the product, it was "damaged". REALLY? It was "damaged" when I received it and it never worked. I called Amazon to insist on receiving the remaining $42 back for a product they sold me that NEVER worked. The rep said she couldn't and conveniently when I asked to speak with a manager, we had "bad reception" and our call couldn't be completed. I called again later and said thing happened... when I asked to speak with a manager, our call "couldn't be completed". I have yet to receive my full refund to this day for a faulty product. DO NOT BUY this product unless you're willing to take your chance that it won't work ... or you don't mind speaking with representative after representative who can't help. Thanks for reading.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2012
I personally really like Microsoft Office Suite, and I especially like the new features in this 2010 edition. Of course, I'm upgrading to this version on a new PC I just built using Win 7 Pro 64bit. My older version was MS Office 2002 - Word, Excel, MS Outlook, Publisher,etc. on a 32bit WinXP machine. I use these programs extensively for so many different things, even Word to make landscape and similar drawings -- features in Word that unfortunately many people don't even know it has. Excel is, in my mind, one of the best spreadsheet programs and integrates without a hitch with the other Office software and they all work well with my other photo and editing programs.

After reading many reviews, I expected to be disappointed in this newer version and anticipated a lengthy if not frustrating learning curve. But so far -- that hasn't been the case at all. The "Ribbon" is new over 2002. The location of some features I was used to are in different places. I couldn't believe, for example, that the UNDO button (which I use all the time) wasn't right up there prominently by default in the "ribbon". It wasn't. I had to add it to the Quick Bar. The picture crops are different, etc. STILL -- I don't understand all the whining in reviews about this version. It's fantastic, far better with far more features that are handy and far more customizable than 2002, and it ONLY takes a quick lookup in HELP if you're stuck finding WHERE Microsoft put the feature you want to use. Still, I found the programs to be HIGHLY INTUITIVE to use. I can't wait to really get into these programs more, but if you already know a previous version, it won't be hard. I've created over a month of various types of documents easily with only using the HELP file twice, and once upfront on the MS website to learn what the heck this "ribbon" was all about.

Also - research your options for purchase of Win7 and/or Office carefully. Which version/License Agreement do you need for your purposes? MS LICENSE agreements vary. Do you want software for 1 PC or 2. Do you want to be able to "transfer" your copy to another hard drive (called "transferable" in the License Agreement) if, for example, your hard drive dies or you step up to a solid state drive for your boot vs a 3.5" hard disk drive? Nowadays, "IT" knows, and though I adore Johnny Depp, I'm no pirate. Still -- I don't want problems trying to reinstall, for example Win7, after a hard disk change with the mighty MS telling me I can't reactivate because I purchased a one-time, one PC "Product Key" version. Do you? MS License agreements for the different purchase options can be read online on the MS website under each product, e.g. Win 7 or Office 2010.

IMPORTANT! The specific version of Office 2010 I bought comes with two disks -- the 32bit and 64bit versions of Office 2010. IF YOU DIDN'T READ ABOUT WHETHER TO INSTALL THE 32BIT OR 64BIT VERSION OF MS OFFICE 2010 but have a 64bit Win 7 PC -- then you might want to go to the Microsoft Windows Seven Forums or Knowledge Base / Support site FIRST - BEFORE assuming the 64-bit version of Office 2010 is right for you. (Who wants to intall/uninstall and reinstall Win7 or Office). Pain and time consuming. Only people with very specific needs should install MS Office 64 bit even on a Win7 64 bit PC. Why? in short, the 64bit Version of Office will NOT be compatible with many other programs you may run, and actually loses functionality with add-ons, etc. So unless your needs are specific to those specific features in the 64bit version (see the MS website/knowledge base) -- Microsoft recommends you install the 32-bit version of Office on a 64bit Win7PC. I'm very glad I read this first because I would have "assumed" the 64bit version would have been right for my Win 7 64 bit machine and there's really no warning in the product box itself, even though the 32bit would install by default unless you change it during install. After reading about both 32 and 64bit Office, I found that I acutally needed the functionality of the 32bit version, and that's what I ended up installing. Can always change later if my needs change. AS JUST ONE EXAMPLE: If you've installed the 64bit Version of Office but are having problems with your email, attachments or some people you send email to can't open your attachments -- look first to your 64 bit version as a possible cause.

Overall -- Pricey I think, but great Office programs I couldn't do without. You get what you pay for! Best total price for what I wanted was right here on Amazon!
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2010
I ordered and installed the Home & Business program Office 2010. As part of package you are supposed to get 90 days support. I had one small issue after install on syncronization errors in Oulook and called in. Was on hold forever, transferred to mulitple people, and got dropped off eventually. Case has been going on for days now, have had multiple phone calls & emails, and when finally got to a real tech they are trying to charge me $259 for support. Thats ridiculous and a rip off. Issue still not resolve on my computer and still going back and forth with the Microsoft 'support' team.

Overall product is slightly different that 2007 which I had before but if you get any issues and no support it certainly makes the upgrade quetionable.

Microsoft support really is poor so pray you do not need it as I have hours into the issue and really no progress to date on a fix.
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