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Microsoft Office 2007: 10 things you need to know

10 burning questions about Office 2007

It's hard to believe that it's almost a year since we were immersed in our review of Microsoft Office 2007. Microsoft was about to release Office 2007 to corporate users, and so began the slow and methodical evaluation of the software by the unwashed masses (unless, of course, you were an early adopter, a PC Advisor reader or both). Here are 10 questions that you should ask before you decide to upgrade.

What's new with Outlook and Office file formats?

The biggest difference is that Outlook now comes with Office and not Exchange. So why is that a factor? Because those deploying Exchange 2007 will now need to buy Office licences to get the client software.

What's new feature/functionality-wise includes the To-do bar, which keeps tasks and calendars close at hand; support for RSS feeds; integration with Windows Desktops Search; and an attachment preview feature.

What is more interesting, and could impact current deployments, are the features that have been cut. Gone are Outlook's native email editor, which has been replaced by Word; NetMeeting; the Personal Address Book has migrated to the Contacts folder; the TaskPad, which was replaced by the To-do bar; Follow-Up flags give way to Task flags; the Follow-up button is history; Schedule+; and security settings moved to Trust Center. Those are just a handful of the changes in Outlook.

We heard so much lately about document formats what's the story with Office?

If you have missed the extensive debates on Open Document Format and Office Open XML, the default file format in Office 2007, quit hitting the snooze button (start here: Microsoft expects Office Open XML approval). While the ISO rejected standardisation for Open Office XML, don't look for Microsoft to adopt Open Document Format any time soon.

To support the format (and to exchange files with any open Office suites like those from IBM, Sun and ThinkFree), a number of translators are available, including an open source version funded by Microsoft and available via Source Forge, the open source software development website.

The tool was developed under the open source Berkeley Software Distribution licence and will translate between the default Office 2007 file type and ODF.

NEXT PAGE: Office 2007 security, and the future > >

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