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Author Topic: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!  (Read 5068 times)

crono

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Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« on: May 25, 2006, 06:02:54 PM »
Just downloaded it - havent got time to try it right now. I will test it on this Weekend (cant hardly wait :)) The Interface Video Demo on channel 9 was great - go and get the Beta2 at: http://www.microsoft...beta/getthebeta.mspx

The Beta Version expires 2/2007

bye bye

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2006, 03:55:18 AM »
From the OfficeWatch news letter ... I particularly like the last sentence:

Quote
5. OFFICE 2007 BETA 2
The second major test version of Office 2007 is now available to all, not just MSDN customers and approved beta testers.

You can download the beta now from http://www.microsoft...eta.mspx?showIntro=n

As usual these later test versions are feature locked.  Don't expect any feedback to result in changes the interface or features of Office.  From now on the focus is on bug fixing and optimization.

It is more of a 'marketing beta' than what traditionalists might think of as a true software test.   Some people feel special because they have the beta version.

A major reason for the wide beta is what Microsoft calls 'evangelizing' - getting people talking about the next version of Office long before it's available.  In the case of Office 2007 much of that evangelizing will be about the new interface in Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

While it's tempting, don't commit yourself to using Office 2007 Beta 2 with no way to fall back on a stable version of Office.  Beta 2 is fairly stable but, like all beta releases, it's slower than a final release and prone to errors.  The latter will, naturally, occur at the moment of maximum inconvenience.  Remember that the default documents in Office 2007 can't yet be read by users of older versions of Office so sharing your work needs a little care.

One example of a Beta 2 error had us laughing only minutes after installation.  Outlook 2007 popped up a two word message 'Unknown Error' with the sub-heading 'Was this message helpful?' - errr no, not really.

Also useful info provided ...

Quote
6. BETA 2 EARLY NOTES
Some random notes on Beta 2 after a short time:

- the installation on Windows XP and Vista is smooth and didn't require a re-boot.

- The Visio viewer is included by default in Office 2007.

- The new Office document formats (.docx etc) are used by default.  You may want to change that to 'Word 97-2003' format (Office icon in top left | Word options | Save) so that people you work with can use your documents.

- A beta release of the 'Compatibility Pack' to let Office 2003 and XP use the new document formats is available however the installation isn't simple and the document formats may not be compatible with the final versions.

- Word now has a 'blog' feature that's linked to Microsoft approved blog hosters.  It will be interesting to see how useful this really is or if it's just a way to add a headline feature into Word 2007.

- Outlook has a mobile messaging option but there's no US mobile / wireless phone carriers yet signed up to work with this service.

- Outlook 2007 has a faster search system than in the past (and about time) however it now requires Windows Desktop Search to be installed separately (previous beta versions did not).  This will give the Microsoft desktop search offering an advantage over rivals from Google, Yahoo etc.  Hopefully the companies will work to make their competing products operate together on the one computer.

- The addition of themes into Word means we have some new font options like +Body and +Heading which are linked to the theme instead of a particular font.

- A sad loss seems to be the Outlook Calendar view which shows all the appointments for a week on a single screen regardless of the time (ie a 9am event and an 8pm event show next to each other if there's nothing scheduled in between).

The new interface has been changed a bit for this beta with the most obvious change being a large round Office logo button in the top left.    As expected there is no 'classic interface' option to use the more familiar Office 2003 menus and toolbars.

We like the new interface with reservations.  It will be a big step for many people who get freaked by even small changes to the look of a program.  If you give it a chance I think you'll get a lot out of the new way of doing things.

Sadly there's no immediate way to re-order the 'chunks' on each ribbon which means you're stuck with the order of tools that suits Microsoft not you.  We're not the only people to be struck by the prominent placement of 'Shapes' on the prime left position of the Insert ribbon in Word 2007.  Perhaps this placement has more to do with looking cool in product demos rather than truly making the most commonly used features readily available?


7. OFFICE 2007 DOCUMENT FORMATS
If you'd like to catch up on the details of the new Office document formats, check out our comprehensive look at them back in 2005.

http://office-watch....template.asp?v10-n18

http://office-watch....template.asp?v10-n24

http://www.office-wa...template.asp?v10-n26

plus there's early coverage of the Office 2007 interface at http://www.office-wa...template.asp?v10-n33

OfficeWatch is a great newsletter (used to be Woody's OfficeWatch until the Tsunami hit Phooket (? spelling) where Woody lives).

If you want to subscribe (free) head over to http://www.wopr.com/ (subs links are on the right hand side of the page half way down)
« Last Edit: May 26, 2006, 03:59:59 AM by Carol Haynes »

Darwin

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2006, 08:14:10 AM »
I downloaded it and installed it yesterday (it does make me feel special, sadly, running the beta... :-[) and did a custom install as I did not want to risk using the Outlook 2007 beta. Running the custom install, you can opt to keep your current installation and install the beta to a different directory. This allows all the components of the beta (EXCEPT OUTLOOK) to co-exist with earlier Office installations (97, 2000, XP, etc.) so you can play around with the beta without jiggering your own Office installation. Caveat (at least the way I've done this under XP Pro Sp-2): if you try to run an older version of an app that was installed as a beta, the installer runs before the app opens. That's a bit annoying AND worrisome.

So far, so good, but pay attention to Woody Leonard's note above about the beta being slow in some instances. Example: opening a Powerpoint presentation and selecting start slideshow results in at least a 20 second lag on my Centrino notebook with 1024MB RAM and 64MB shared video memory.

Finally, I think that another reason that MS is releasing this public beta is to get people hooked on Office 2007's interface. It's pretty slick, and I can see that after using it for two or three months it might be difficult to go back to an earlier version. I like the new ribbon feature and the adaptive menus. I DON'T like the fact that only Word, Excel, and Powerpoint get it, though. It really affects the continuity of the user experience when switching between, say, Excel and Access. I find it a bit jarring and it interrupts my workflow.

LAST POINT: Heed my warning above about Outlook! All components of the beta will happily coexist with earlier versions of Office EXCEPT Outlook. Trying to install Outlook 2007 using the custom install described above will result in your earlier version being uninstalled first!!!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2006, 09:20:19 AM »
I'm downloading at the mo ... big download set!

I will give it a go but for the moment I am going to run it on an alternive installation of Windows after a full image backup.

Thanks for the headsup on Outlook.

Darwin

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2006, 10:18:42 AM »
I just opened up Word 2003. It was akin to jumping into a swimming pool after 10 minutes in the hot tub. Shocking but very refreshing and "head clearing". I still like Office 2007 beta but am already tiring of the eye-candy. If I can figure out how to switch to a Win2k style interface, I will (currently I am running the Vista theme but have only found two choices: XP Blue or Vista Grey).

PS Just switched back to "XP Blue" and it is easier on the eyes, though not so dramatic...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: May 26, 2006, 10:28:13 AM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2006, 10:40:19 AM »
Three more updates:

I've discovered that once I run the installer for an Office 2003 app and it opens up, I can run all Office 2003 and 2007 apps side by side without re-running the installer UNTIL I reboot the computer. Also, Powerpoint's slide sorter view is much better in 2007.

The beta for RagTime 6 (http://www.ragtime-online.com/) will open *.docx files (though a lot of the formatting gets washed out) but StarOffice 8.01 will not. Not surprisingly, Word 2003 can't even see files with the docx extension.

Finally, pdf output is basic but works. Note that you have to go into options and select the type of file output to pdf. As far as I can tell, the default from Word is to output images, which proved to be useless!

Yes, I know, scinitillating stuff...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: May 26, 2006, 10:54:57 AM by Darwin »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2006, 11:25:20 AM »
Further info on Outlook ...

Just installed Outlook and downloaded some email (leaving it on the server so my old install in another Windows installation can still get to it).

It all looks very nice but just one problem ...

Outlook 2007 (beta) .PST files are NOT compatible with Outlook 2002


If you want to try Outlook make sure you backup all PST files first otherwise you will not be able to go back to 2002/2003.

Furthermore unlike the other apps I can't find any settings in Outlook 2007 that let's you choose to use older formats.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2006, 12:08:58 PM »
Another Outlook 2007 related "feature" - did you know that to use the search facility you now have to install MSN Desktop Search before you can search your PST file contents ... great eh?

Another example of MS trying to force the use of its own unrelated products and shut out the competition ...

There is also a new beta available of MSN Desktop Search (at version 3) - presumably released to coincide with the Office Beta launch.

m_s

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2006, 10:02:10 AM »
I thought you liked MSN Desktop Search, Carol?  before I read your post above, I was going to post a question to you about this: I'm using GDS at the moment, and I like it, but I would prefer to be able to specify when the program indexes, rather than having it always spinning my disks in the background...  I know there are other desktop search apps that allow this, but I'm hooked on GDS's Quick Search Box. 

Anyway, that's all off-topic: what I wanted to say here is that after a few hours of working with Word 2007, I really don't want to have to go back to 2003!  The new interface is a huge improvement for me.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2006, 02:14:39 PM »
I did quite like it - but I haven't used it for ages now - mainly 'cos, like you, I didn't want my hard disc indexing 90% of the time!

zridling

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Re: Microsoft Office 2007 public Beta out now!
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2006, 11:09:47 PM »
I have to admit I really like it. It almost treats your app like a web page with links and sliders tucked away in convenient places. For all the office workers of the world who struggle not to learn anything about Word or Excel, this 2007 version will take away all their old excuses on why they can't format a document or letter properly.