Well, last week I added a post from my US colleagues who were introducing the newest version of Office, Office 2010, to visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This week, it’s the turn of our very own UK team, who last week took part in BETT, the premier UK Technology in Education trade show. Chris Rothwell, from the UK Office marketing group met a whole lot of customers over the 4 days of the show and gives his take on their reaction to Office 2010.
Microsoft Education at BETT 2010
“The dust has just about settled after the BETT Show that took place in London’s Olympia last from Wednesday to Saturday. BETT is the largest Education Trade show in the world and in 4 days around 30,000 people attend the show. I’ve been attending BETT for the last four years, and it’s always a fantastic show. It’s great to see so much of what Microsoft offers to Education on a single stand and the number of customers we get to talk to is always a lot of fun.
The new features of Office 2010 get customers smiling at BETT
As we’re currently in public beta for Office 2010, we used the opportunity to talk pretty broadly about what the next version of Office is bringing, with two theatre presentations a day and Office 2010 installed on all our demo machines. So – what were the top 5 highlights that really got people smiling?
Web Apps are new web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote which anyone can sign-up to use. At BETT we did a lot of demos, showing how the Web Apps let customers work with their Office documents in new ways, such as co-authoring (2 or more people working on a document at the same time over the web) or making simple edits on PCs that don’t have Office installed. The response from the visitors that saw the Web App demos was fantastic. They were particularly impressed that files look the same on the web as they do in Office. That really makes Office Web Apps stand out from the competition!
Access and edit your Excel documents through your web browser using Office Web Apps
Our theatre demo showed two students working on an Excel sheet together from the web – great way to extend access and also saved the teacher effort in collating results back in the classroom.
2. OneNote 2010
I love OneNote – and I love showing it to customers because they quickly fall in love too. Linked note-taking was a very popular new feature – helping people keep track of what they were looking at when they made that note – really helpful for everyone, but it’s a particularly great Education feature.
- Try out OneNote 2010 by downloading the Office 2010 Beta
- Got Office 2007? Get started with OneNote 2007
The ability to do some simple editing of videos in PowerPoint was a popular feature, but I think the top spot goes to “Remove Background” from a picture in PowerPoint. So many people that I showed that feature to were amazed at how simple we’ve made a task that is pretty hard to do today. It’s a great example of something that a lot of people want to do, but most people don’t know how.
3 years ago I was at BETT showing Office 2007 and the new Fluent User Interface (a.k.a. the Office ribbon) and hearing a lot of concern about the change. This year, with Fluent being in every product, including SharePoint 2010, people have not only got used to the ribbon, they’ve learned to love it - and love that it’s going to be everywhere. Most satisfying is to hear customers talking about how much simpler they’ve found it to learn new programs and how much faster they can work with the ribbon now – that’s exactly the sort of thing we wanted to happen as a result of the change.
I know – it sounds crazy that a feature like paste would feature in anyone’s top 5, but everyone I showed the new ‘paste’ to absolutely loved it. Before 2010 many people found that content didn’t look as they’d hoped once they’d pasted it into a document, so they’d need to ‘undo’ and repeat until they found the look they were after. Office 2010 has added Live Preview to paste, so now you can hover over the different ‘paste’ icons until you spot the result you wanted. Much simpler! And the thing is that people cut and paste such a lot that making it just that little bit faster can soon add up over the course of a day.
If you were at BETT – hope you enjoyed the show and that you enjoyed a visit to the Microsoft stand. It’s tough to narrow down to a top 5 - I haven’t even mentioned Excel, Outlook, Publisher or SharePoint 2010. Download the Beta if you want to try out my Top 5 and find your own favourite features.”
Chris Rothwell – IW Live Lead, Education