Microsoft Office 2010 and Office Web Apps are expected to launch in June, but you needn't wait until then to get yourself a copy. Here, we explain how to start using Office 2010 and Office Web Apps now.
The Office 2010 beta is feature-complete, although its Web Apps' functionality is limited to the ability to view Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and make ‘lightweight' edits in Excel and PowerPoint, such as copy/paste and undo/redo.
You'll need a Windows Live ID in order to get your hands on the Office 2010 beta. If you've got a Hotmail account or use other Microsoft web-based services, you'll already have one. Otherwise, you can register for one at home.live.com.
Installing the beta
You can try out either Office Professional 2010 or Office Home and Business 2010. The Home version offers Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, while the Professional version adds Publisher and Access to the mix.
Home and Business is delivered via click-to-Run, a streaming technology that allows you to begin using Office apps while the download and installation completes in the background and doesn't write over your existing Office software.
If you don't have a reliable, high-speed internet connection, Microsoft recommends that you plump for the Professional beta instead. Here, you can choose an ‘Upgrade' or ‘Customise' installation. If you choose Upgrade then you'll need to reinstall your previous suite when the beta expires.
Whichever version you choose, you'll still need to reinstall Outlook and SharePoint Workspace at the end of the beta period, since neither can coexist with previous versions on your computer.
Office Web Apps
To view or edit a document using Office Web Apps, it needs to be saved in your SkyDrive account. Open an existing document or create a new one in Word, Excel or PowerPoint 2010 on your PC. Click File to access what Microsoft calls ‘BackStage'. Select Share, then choose ‘Save to SkyDrive', Sign In.
Enter your Windows Live ID and password. Tick the ‘Remember my credentials' box to ensure you don't have to do this every time, then press Ok. Browse to your destination folder and choose Save As. Give the document a name and hit Save.
To view documents in Web Apps, visit skydrive.live.com and log in. Find your document and click View.