Office 2010: A Tool That’s Worth a Thousand Words

February 19, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Microsoft | Leave a comment
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As the impending release of Office 2010 looms, we here at Transcender are preparing for the next generation of MCAS certification exams. So what better time is there than now to highlight the new features of Office 2010? Rather than bore you with a laundry list of nuanced improvements, though, we’ll focus on a new functionality for each of the applications in the Office 2010 suite.

Remember that this is the Technical Preview and some features may change by the final release.

Let’s begin the journey with Word 2010, the desktop workhorse. Since Word 2007, many advanced formatting features available in previous versions have been exposed through the Office Ribbon. (On that note, Microsoft Office Labs recently released the Ribbon Hero game to help power users adapt better to the Ribbon interface.)

Office 2010 Ribbon

The Ribbon was introduced in 2007, and looks largely unchanged in 2010. However, a brand-new functionality in Word 2010 is the suite of built-in artistic effects for graphics. For example, let’s take the following image and apply some artistic effects.

Original Image

The Artistic Effects menu provides some intriguing Adobe Photoshop-style filters to make things interesting. It provides everything from pencil and brush strokes to screen effects. And the preview function, introduced in Office 2007, lets you quickly see an application preview in the menu itself.

So we can make the image look like a pencil drawing with the Pencil Grayscale effect …

Image with Pencil

Or apply the Plastic Wrap effect for more 3D impact …

Image with Plastic Wrap

Or if you are going for something completely different, then you can use the Glow Edges effect (black light bulb optional) …

In Word 2010, as in Word 2007, you can still apply color corrections, 3D and shadow effects, and compress and crop images. To retrieve these screenshots, I used the new Screenshot menu. From this menu, you can also insert screenshots (captured using the PrintScreen key) into Word documents.

Word 2010 also offers many advanced layout options specifically geared toward books and other publication types.

That concludes the new graphic bling in Word. Next week, we’ll move onto the new data analysis capabilities in Excel 2010.

–Joshua Hester aka codeguru, Transcender’s MCAS test developer

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