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Microsoft Office 2010 review

From £79 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5 User Rating: Our users rate this 2 out of 10

Has Microsoft got it right this time? PC Advisor tests and rates Microsoft Office 2010, and explains whether you should upgrade. Updated, May 20 2010.

Has Microsoft got it right this time? PC Advisor tests and rates Microsoft Office 2010, and explains whether you should upgrade.

Microsoft Office 2010: Manage Versions

Another element we like in Office 2010 is the version control. This allows you to go back through the history of a document and select a version to work on that is not necessarily the very latest one.

Office automatically saves your work as you go (regardless of whether you ask it to) and offers you any of these manually or auto-saved versions when you go to File, Manage Versions. However, we found that Word had not created any autosave versions of our two-page document even though it was 40 minutes from its creation to the first point at which we saved its contents.

Nonetheless, the principle is sound, and means that you don’t necessarily need to worry about making edits to a document and then changing your mind – or, in theory, about accidentally losing a document.

Microsoft Word 2010

You’d think the formatting, spellchecking and grammar-checking, graphics support and linguistic add-ons for Word 2003 and Word 2007 were sufficient for most people’s needs, but Microsoft has found  ways to refine even this advanced program.
Office 2007 saw Word getting an overhaul thanks to the ribbon interface; and the interface is arguably more important in Word than it is in the other applications, since the word processor was always the most feature-laden of the programs in the suite.

Microsoft intended the ribbon – a flowing menu list that dynamically changes what’s on offer depending on the tasks you’re doing – to make the program appear more streamlined and make it faster to find the items you want. Long-time Word users found this toolbar and menu rearrangement a pain, but other users report that the ribbon aids productivity, as Microsoft planned. In fact, feedback about the ribbon toolbar in Office 2010 has generally been positive.

Enhanced text control

The toolbar has been refined for the 2010 version, adding options for how everyday actions such as cut and paste are handled. Rather than simply importing the formatting from the original document, you can now choose whether the target document or original’s formatting should be used (or neither). Hovering the cursor over the text
in question lets you preview the effects.

There’s also better typographic control, with the ability to call up OpenType options via an Advanced font pane. New font-manipulation options allow you to add ligatures and choose from several style sets. More adventurous designers will appreciate the Text Effects pane, which lets you apply effects such as fills and outlines. Word is now more of a desktop-publishing application, letting you get creative with text characters and then edit the text afterwards. Word Art let you make basic 3D characters but didn’t allow you to make post-design changes. Office 2010 Professional users will find these options replicated in Publisher 2010.

Microsoft Office 2010 Excel

Other changes

Images can be edited within your Word document too and you are no longer limited to the word processing template strictures about image placement. As well as resizing and adjusting the alignment and the way the text wraps around embedded images, you get granular control over brightness and contrast, and can make the graphic greyscale.

Output options have been extended too. The Backstage View that’s common to the Office 2010 suite here provides access to Send & Save sharing options so you can blog, email, share to your Office Web Apps or SharePoint Server account or upload to SkyDrive for backup as well as the usual print options. Add-ins for Backstage View should mean extra functions are offered over time.

Searching documents becomes easier with a useful Navigation Map (a revision to the Document Map available in Office 2007) that appears on the left when you initiate a search. This functions like the thumbnail views you get in Adobe Reader or Acrobat and makes it much easier to find your way through lengthy documents. Results from keyword searches appear highlighted in the main screen, while you can also view a list of headers and graphics and charts.  

Finally, metatags and additional Properties information attached to files makes for improved version control and security.

As with the rest of Office 2010, cohesion and the ability to quickly and easily share information are the selling points of Word 2010. The heavyweight word processor already offered an excellent thesaurus, multi-lingual dictionary and symbol and special character support. Now Microsoft has given back control of the formatting and layout options that Word 2007 tried to take. The results are overall rather pleasing.

NEXT: What's new in Excel >>

Click here for our review of Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps.

Microsoft Office 2010 Expert Verdict »

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 licence Scores 8.5 out of 10 based on 1075 reviews
500MHz or higher processor
256MB RAM
1.5GB
a portion of the disk space will be freed after installation if the original download package is removed
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Microsoft Office 2010 is a significant upgrade from previous versions of the Microsoft productivity software suite. Cohesion and the ability to quickly and easily share information major selling points. Microsoft has given back control to the user and, combined with the massive functionality, the results are overall rather pleasing.

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