www.microsoft.com, Price: $99
Office 2010 continues with the Open Office XML format
and tabbed Ribbon interface used in the 2007
edition, while familiar features and commands from
earlier versions of Office return to keep the updates
user-friendly. Microsoft has enhanced and expanded
its Ribbons, enabling users to customize command
functions according to personal preference.
QUALITY AND EFFECTIVENESS: New enhancements
include improved picture-editing tools so users
can automatically apply borders, special effects,
and layouts to images. Word, Excel, Publisher, and
PowerPoint feature a new Live Preview that allows
users to experiment with formatting changes before
applying them. New Equation tools in Excel make it
an ideal teaching tool for math classrooms. Autosave
features have now been added to Word, Excel, and
PowerPoint, assuring users that their work is less
likely to be lost.
EASE OF USE: Office 2010 builds on features of earlier
versions of Office, so Office 2003 and 2007 users will
find themselves in familiar territory. Office 2010 permits
more customizing with menus and command functions.
CREATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY: PowerPoint 2010
now supports QuickTime movies and includes some
basic movie-editing tools that allow users to trim the length
of a video and add borders and other special effects. Once
your presentation is done, you can easily share it online
using the new Broadcast Slide Show option. This shows
the Slide Show to other users over IE, Firefox, and Safari
even if the recipient does not have the newest version of
PowerPoint. Broadcast does not support audio, however.
SUITABILITY FOR USE IN A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT:
Office 2010 strongly emphasizes collaboration and file sharing.
Users in several locations can easily work together on
a single document using the Office 2010 Web App versions
of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote and SkyDrive,
Microsoft’s free Windows Live service. These Web Apps
contain a limited subset of their respective parent features
yet provide users with a dynamic way to continue working
in an Office environment online. Unfortunately, users can
not yet upload documents directly to Microsoft Office Web
Apps. Instead, you must create the document online or use
the appropriate application in Office 2010 to save the document
to the Web.
—Carol S. Holzberg, Ph.D.
Microsoft Office applications remain the standard
against which all other word-processing, spreadsheet,
presentation, and entry-level desktop-publishing
applications are judged. Office 2010 raises the competitive
bar by adding many improvements and features that
support online collaboration and document sharing in real
time. Its one-stop digital collection of productivity tools,
bundled in one interface, is hard to beat.