Getting started on Office 2010 is easier for people who have worked on Office 2007. Owing to the ribbon interface, it may take some time for Office 2003 users to comfortably use the new package from Microsoft.
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Using the Free Office 2010 Starter Kit
To help people understand the new features of Office 2010 and as a marketing strategy, Microsoft is offering a FREE Office 2010 Starter Kit. For those who have hands on experience with Office 2007 and its interface, working on Office 2010 is easy. For people using the traditional menu bar interface, it may be somewhat confusing as the navigational structure and user interface is pretty different from what it is in Office 2003 and previous versions.
If you are buying a new PC/notebook with Office 2010, you do not have to pay for Word 2010 and Excel 2010. The Office 2010 Starter Edition offers these two most used applications in MS Office, absolutely free. If you need any other application, you can upgrade at any Microsoft retail store. This way, you need not buy entire MS Office 2010 suites (Office Home and Office Enterprise). You just upgrade by paying the upgrade cost. The Microsoft Starter Edition is a welcome offer for most people who use just Word and Excel with some other program for their mails: say Live, Thunderbird, etc.
There are several advancements in Office 2010 when compared to Office 2007 (and they are great). If you wish to transition from Office 2003 or previous versions to Office 2010, I would recommend you read our article on Office 2007 Basic Navigating Chart so that you get an idea of what to expect in the latest package from Microsoft.
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Consistency Across All Applications
Unlike Office 2007, the Ribbon Interface is consistent across all the Office applications. Office 2007 did not carry the contextual menus and certain other elements in all its applications. For example, Outlook 2007 has the traditional interface instead of the Ribbon interface.
I am listing some of the features I liked most in Office 2010:
The Ribbon Interface - I need not say much about this as most of you are already acquainted with the navigation of Office 2007. If you think the Office Ribbon is a problem, Office 2010 offers adjustment of tabs the way you like it. Office 2007 did not present this facility.
The Office BackStage View - These options apply to an entire file instead of a part of the file. Using the Backstage View, you can create and save files, recover unsaved files, email files, share, publish and more. You can access the options from the File menu. It offers you a plethora of options to autosave files, enable AutoRecover, check documents for metadata, and much more. You can get info about any document using the Document Properties. The AutoRecover option helps you recover files if you closed them without saving. In short, the File menu contains plenty of options that will save you time when working on commands that apply to the entire document or file.
The Mini Translator - It seems that Microsoft is working hard on creating a perfect solution for translations. Even as Office 2010 is offering a mini translator, Microsoft also released a translating telephone so that you can talk to any person in any language. The Microsoft translating tools take care of the translating. You can toggle the Mini Translator on/off using Review -> Language -> Translate. However, this facility is available only in MS Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook 2010.
Fonts – One can use Office 2010, especially Word, as a mini graphic editing program. Office 2007 already carried several image-editing tools. Office 2010 further extends the graphic capability by introducing fonts that offer better look and helps both graphic and web designers.
To take advantage of the features of Office 2010, just start playing with the options (file menu and tabs) and check out what all is available.