Some of the Best Beta 2 Resources

So you started downloading Office 2007 Beta 2 yesterday but it hasn’t finished yet. Or you had an error during the download or installing the build. Or maybe you’re not quite ready to take the leap and install beta software yet.

No problem! There are a lot of new resources available to give you a sense of what’s possible with the new user interface. Most of these are useful whether you’re installing the beta or not.

Here are six of my favorite Beta 2 resources:

Office User Interface Video Tour: This is a live action movie in which Julie Larson-Green and I give you a quick tour of the UI and some of the thinking that went into it. The build we were using for the video is a lot older than Beta 2, so you might notice some rough spots. Nonetheless, a number of people have said that they found it worthwhile.

Office User Interface Live Demo: This brand new Flash-based demo walks you through the UI and gives you a chance to play with it (including clicking through tabs, giving Live Preview a whirl, etc.) This is probably the best way to get a sense of exactly what the Beta 2 UI looks like and how it works.

Office Compatibility Pack Beta 2: Here’s where you can download the compatibility pack to allow Office XP and 2003 to read and write the new Office 2007 file formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.) Of course, you can also save documents in the 97/2000/XP/2003 file formats directly from Office 2007 as well.

Office 2007 Learning Portal: Here you can see some of the many resources available to get you up-to-speed on Office 2007. There are free e-learning online courses you can take (including Introduction to the New Office User Interface.) You can also access free book content and sign up for classroom learning near you.

MSDN Office Developer Center: All of the information to learn about the new developer opportunities built on top of Office 2007 are brought together in this great portal.

MSDN Ribbon Developer Portal: This is an entire developer portal devoted to customizing and extending the new user interface through RibbonX. I’m so excited that this one finally exists!

Getting the 2007 Office System Beta

If you didn’t catch my post yesterday, the news is this: Beta 2 of the 2007 Office system is available for free and immediate download from the Office Preview site at I hope you’ll give it a try!

My apologies to everyone who had download trouble yesterday. The team was surprised and overwhelmed by the interest in downloading Office and they’re hard at work increasing capacity. (I know they doubled it just between yesterday morning and yesterday evening.)

This is the first time we’ve offered a beta of Office for download outside of the private beta test, and so I think none of us knew precisely how much interest to expect. If your download didn’t complete, please try again today or in a few days.

Once you’ve got the build installed, you can start discussing it in the Office Discussion Groups.

Comments (43)

  1. Sancap says:

    Do you have any inside information as to the Activation Wizard in Office 2007 Beta 2.

    The Discussion Group is alive with users who downloaded the beta and cannot activate the product, this of course includes me.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated by all.’

    Thank you,


  2. Pharod says:

    I already have the same problem with activation. It must be the load on Microsoft’s servers, so I’m going to give it a week or so before I try again.

    By the way, this is an incredibly great release. Keep up the good work!



  3. Munish says:

    I think I already know the answer to this question but I will ask anyway. Are there any plans to provide "RibbonX" as a standalone control for use in general non-office-extension applications?

  4. Thanks for the info on Office Compatibility Pack Beta 2. Hadn’t seen it elsewhere on the web site. Also is FrontPage 2007 getting released soon?!

    Love the new toys (errrr, the new "tools").

  5. GeoffGB says:

    For those users who had problems downloading using the SmartSource app, try this:

    Reregister for the betas and on the screen that you get the product keys, click on the product name’s link to start the download.  

    …It worked for me – now to figure out this activation thing…

  6. Ooops, now I know I’ve been under a rock: just saw that FrontPage 2007 will never exist and FrontPage will be discontinued for Microsoft Expression Web Designer – which I knew of, but not as a replacement. Keep up the good work!

  7. John from Providence, RI says:

    I am having trouble starting up Outlook 2007, msncon.dll missing. I have outlook live with my hotmail account for my outlook 2003, but it seems not working with outlook 2007. Any help?

    I cannot activate it as well.

  8. LGFN says:

    I think that scrolling on the styles on the tab, should scroll the styles, NOT THE TABS!

    P.S. I have a whole bunch of comments about the drawing in PowerPoint and Word, is there anyone around the world that has a word in Micrsoft, and intrested in hearing my comments?

    Yes? Who? where?

    NO?! Then I think I will Unfortunately have to stay with the old fashiond Office, which I can easily work around with drawing.

  9. jensenh says:

    LGFN: The PowerPoint team has a blog where you can post comments.  See the link to the left under Microsoft Office Blogs.

  10. LGFN says:

    Thanks Jensen,

    Do you mean the PowerPoint & OfficeArt blog? If so, then I’m sorry to say that the last post posted there was sometime in April, seems that no one there is intrested in any comments people have to say.

    Well, just to say, they DID really an excellent job on new drawing features, but on the second hand It’s now very very very (yes, I repeat)very uncomfortable to work on drawings.

    And as an drawing-in-Word expert my opinion is,

    they should reconsider the whole UI of it (or mabey that’s your job, Jensen).

    Wating for a reply.

  11. Kevin Ulland says:


    Is there a place I can post feedback on the UI – I love 97% of it, but would like to see a few small conveniences from older versions put back in.

    For example, two things I never realized I used all the time until they were gone last night when I installed Beta 2: the Open icon, and the Close MDI-Window "x".

    I’ve had to go into each app and modify the QAT and add Open and Close icons.

    Also, when I told Word 2003 to stop using personalized menus, ALL 2003 apps stopped. However, when I customize the Word 2007 QAT, it wasn’t changed in Excel or Powerpoint. Is there a reason for that? Can there be an option on the Customization tab "Publish changes to all Office applications"?

    Anywho, I don’t want to fill up the comments with all of this, I’m hoping there’s a feedback site somewhere that I can funnel this through – or maybe I can just email you, since you seem to be the guy in charge. 🙂

    –Kevin Ulland

  12. LGFN says:

    I see that on the Drawing Tools -> Fomat tab there’s no difference (on most options) between Shape Effects and Text Effects, I think this is a little mistake.

  13. LGFN says:

    What’s going on here? am I crazy or what?!

    Selecting a shape, hovering over a WordArt Style, and … somthing really funny is going on here, hovering a second time, a third time, … who is crazy the computer or me?!

    And by-the-way why don’t they get diabled (or whatever it’s called, I mean grayed-out) when I’m selecting a shape (and not a WordArt)?

  14. LGFN says:

    Is there any place I can report any erors I have in Office 2007,  that does not have a automatic error reporting? (and I have quite a few errors).

    P.S. What’s the "Remind Me?" check-box in the bottom of this blog?

  15. Lionel Fourquaux says:

    It looks like some of the files on have invalid signatures.

  16. Bill says:

    I cannot activate Office on Windows Server 2003 R2 or Vista.

  17. -Chris C. says:


    This blog is much harder to read after the download, the letters look like those in a bad photocopy.

    I only installed Visio – b/c it’s a work computer. (couldn’t risk effecting office itself, but this comp doesn’t have Visio 🙂

    Or was it just a coincidence?

  18. Kim says:

    Chris C, that’s because the type Cambria was installed with Visio. Unfortunately, those new fonts that comes with Office 2007 are only optimized for LCD displays, CRT users are left out in the cold on this one. I did however note that they’ve updated the fonts to v1.0, and Calibri looks a lot better now on CRT, than with previous versions.

    So, there’s some hope that the rest will get the finishing touches that makes them useable on CRT as well. Maybe Jensen can shred some light on the font type situation?

  19. LDR says:

    I’ve installed and played with the Beta a while.  Many of the changes are fantastic, but work still needs to be done.

    I was very impressed when the installer allowed me to enter the key free form, and when it gave me options for keeping my existing version of office (minus Outlook).  I was less impressed when it asked me to close something but couldn’t tell me what.  This was especially interesting when I ran the Word beta for the first time and the new configuration wizard required me to kill the Word task I had just started in order for it to complete.

    I’ll echo Kevin Ulland’s comments 100%.  I’d really like the MDI to go away completely, but if it can’t for this version, at least don’t take away the close button.

    So far I’ve added open, close, and print preview buttons to my QAT.  It’s really too bad I can’t put them where the clipboard tools are that I NEVER use.

    The screenshots of the blue skin looked awefull, but the black looked pretty good until I tried the Beta.  Now it’s a toss up between the glaring contrast of the black scheme and the screaming candy of the blue scheme.  Maybe if the black version used a shade of grey for the title bar and another for the document background, then the background wouldn’t look like part of the chrome and title bars wouldn’t appear to be part of the background.  Better yet, let us configure these colors ourselves.

    The rounded corner turned out better than I expected, particularly the maximized version.

    I’m not sure I like the mini-bar at all.  Especially when it shows up every time I right click in the document.  I’ll leave it on a while to see.

  20. mattbg says:

    Office 2007 looks like it will be a great product, and I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen so far in beta 2, and it’ll be a worthwhile upgrade from Office 2003. The new UI is excellent!

    Unfortunately, the other two Microsoft betas that I’ve tried recently (Vista and Media Player) are not as inspiring, and may well be worse than their predecessors.

    It’s funny, because Office always seemed to go its own way from Windows, which is contrary to what you’d expect. It always seemed to break the UI rules and introduce rules of its own. In the past, I’ve been disappointed by that, but this time I think that the Office UI is better than that of Windows (Vista and XP).

  21. LGFN says:

    Wait a minute… something is missing here, were is the dropdown for Redo? where could that dissapear, I looked around the whole Office, even looked under my desk, just found an old mouse with a long tail :-).

  22. Keith Green says:

    So for the average user, customizing the toolbars in previous versions was very user- friendly.  Simply click and drag.  This new interface appears to only allow you to customize the QAT.  What about the other ribbons.  Surely, I can eliminate icons that i never use and place the ones I use frequently where I want them.  Please someone help me do this.  This is extremely important.  I can see my enterprise (thousands of users) REALLY resisting this excel if you can’t customize ribbons.

  23. Teemu says:

    Ribbon Developer articles are great but is it possible to create a small preview for those button images? The list is OK, but it would be nice to see those images too.

  24. Richard Swift says:

    Did anyone else notice that they can access Exchange Server 2003 public folders without permission using Office 2007? 🙂

  25. NeilL says:

    I’m hoping for a pointer so thought this would be a good place to start.

    I’ve got 2 questions

    1) Is there a source for the imageMSO names that are available in Office 2007. I found some in this and other blogs but is there a complete list or a way within Office 2007 to find them?

    2) Is there any way (without building a C# add in or something) to use my own button images?  In the "old days" I created a document template, was able to build a toolbar and copy/paste a button image. Is there any equivalent mechanism in the new Office?



  26. Beta 2 of the 2007 Microsoft Office System was released on May 23. This is a public beta, meaning anyone…

  27. Jense

    Jensen Harris has a post on his site entitled “tell us what you think of office 2007 BETA 2”….

  28. DanielR says:

    I downloaded and installed office 2007 beta 2 without any problems, I was not able to activate it.  Outlook crashed every other time I tried to reply, each restart took away from my 50 uses.  Once I got down to about 12 uses left, I decided to uninstall it.  Unfortunately I installed it as an upgrade, so I had to reinstall office 2003.  Now I can’t re-activate office 2003, same message "unable to find an active internet connection" or something similar.  Other than that, office 2007 is really pretty, that’s about all I had time to notice.

  29. ianh says:

    Outlook 2007 crashes everytime I get a new message.  Plus it isn’t too happy when you upgrade from a previous version.  Seems to leave out dll’s.  Decent app once it’s running though.

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    Pretty design and bleep content.

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  32. EnigMario says:

    I have a question, I have over 2000 fonts installed; and recently installed MS Office 2007 Beta2. Everything works well, but when I try to change my font; the font preview window won’t show my fonts?? please help??

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  35. Kevan says:

    Why does the size chart say that Office Professional Plus 2007 is 550 MB but when I go to download it it only comes up as 440.5 MB. Why is this?

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