Tomorrow the Beta 2 Tech Refresh build of the 2007 Microsoft Office System will be available for public download. Like many folks here on campus, I’m already running this build, and it’s a solid upgrade from Beta 2. There have been a bunch of bug fixes (that’s what betas are for!), and the user interface is now feature-complete. The differences between the look and feel of this release and the RTM version should be pretty minor.
Jensen Harris has a nice wrap-up of the UI changes between B2 and B2TR on his blog, and Mary Jo Foley has some good third-party reaction to B2TR. Jensen’s links to prior posts about the UI design goals provide a good overview of the thinking behind the fine-tuning of the UI that you’ll see in this latest release.
For a look at how those UI changes came together, check out this simple tour I put together. It just shows the basic UI you get when you first launch the product. The differences are subtle, but I like the way things are getting more polished with each release. I’ll do a tour like this based on Vista soon; that’s where the real eye candy appears.
You’ll be able to download the Beta 2 TR release as of 9:00AM tomorrow (Thursday), on the Office Preview site.