Try Office 2007 Without Installing It

Before I write anything today, let me thank you for all of the kind birthday wishes on Thursday. The big day came and went and, surprisingly, I'm still standing.

I don't say this enough, but thank you for coming back and reading what I write week after week. Your readership and comments make writing worthwhile. It's funny to see my name crop up from time to time as "professional blogger" or "Office evangelist" because blogging for me is extra-curricular and not part of any of my official work objectives or commitments. I write from home, after normal working hours--so it wouldn't be worth it to me to spend my time writing unless there was someone out there reading. So: thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here's something cool I stumbled on last week: you can try out Office 2007 Beta 2 without downloading or installing it. Using your web browser and a small Citrix add-in, you can log onto a remote desktop running Office 2007 to poke around and play with it.

I didn't write about it last week because I was having problems getting it to work. I'm not sure if the servers were overloaded or if it was just a snafu getting it set up, but I tried Friday and again today and it seems to work now, so I thought I'd let you know.

A couple of things to note as you're playing around with the trial:

  • Several non-English editing languages are enabled. The most noticeable impact of this is that you'll see Japanese commands throughout the English product. In Word, for example, you'll see 4 additional commands in the Font group on the Home tab, 2 in the Paragraph group, and additional commands on many of the other tabs as well. This means that the scaling you'll see (which commands show up in what form at which resolutions) is not what you'd normally see in the English product.

  • You'll see a super-huge Business Contact Manager tab in PowerPoint at least (if not other apps as well.) This isn't the desired integration for Business Contact Manager, and doesn't reflect what you will see in the final product.

  • The fonts are strictly black-and-white and aren't in any way anti-aliased; this is an artifact of running the software over the network.

As you might expect, there are other issues inherent in running Windows software in a web browser; for instance, performance on more graphics-intensive features will be dependent on the speed of your network connection.

All those caveats aside, this is a great way to play around with Office 2007 Beta 2 if you don't have a spare machine on which to install it.

Comments (27)

  1. monkchips says:

    happy birthday

  2. Dan Dautrich says:

    Speaking of speed, the news was spreading reports last week about another possible delay for the 2007 Office System because it needed more development time for increasing the speed and responsiveness.  What kind of nonsense is this?  Maybe it’s just my system, but I think it works relatively fast for a beta (with the exception of Outlook first starting up).  Am I in the minority here?

  3. MikiMiki says:

    I think that Office is fast for a beta too. But there is something missing…I don’t know but something just isn’t ‘clicking’. And I heared that office 2007 is going to have a ‘face lift’. Is this correct? I read it somewhere, it was a quote from some Office official spokesman or something.

  4. Dave says:

    Dan/MikiMiki: What do you mean by "for a beta"?  Do you expect the final version to be faster than the beta?  If it wasn’t, would it still be fast enough?

  5. Fabian says:

    For the first time, I actually tried Office 2007 through this demo.

    As a keyboard user, I’m especially interested in efficient keyboard accessibility and I’m delighted you spent so much time making sure compatibility with older versions was maintained. With your previous posts on this issue in mind, I tried some of the Office 2003 key sequences hardcoded in my brain, and it actually works!

    One remark though: it doesn’t work if you use Enter to enable the (invisible) first and preselected item in a (sub-)menu. E.g.: in Excel, I’m used to type Alt+D, F, Enter to access the Data -> Filter -> Autofilter feature. I notice the last Enter doesn’t work here, I have to explicitly press the last step’s shortcut (even though I didn’t know that one and had to try). A very small weakness in an otherwise very smart design.

  6. stuart says:

    Hey – this doesn’t work in Firefox. Why’s that? We all know that Citrix works well with all browsers and platforms. I can’t see any technical reason why you would limit it to just IE.

  7. Shakeel says:

    hellow , Challo

  8. Shakeel says:

    Good , hai fit hai set hai ….

  9. Marc says:

    For me it doesn’t work in IE either, i’ve tried it a couple of times now and every time i get ‘The Citrix SSL server you have selected is not accepting connections.’ Is there a way to make it work?

    Thanks in advance, Marc

  10. Steven Hall says:

    "Using your web browser and a small Citrix add-in…"

    Plus a lot of hassle.

    I don’t mind having to sign into to get things to work (that’s why I have a throwaway "passport"). What was truly annoying was having to fill out two pages of a questionnaire and having to verify the ownership of my e-mail address so that e-mail can be sent to me—even though I explicitly indicated do not e-mail me.

    Having said that it works and isn’t obscenely slow. I’ll enjoy poking around a bit.

    Steven Hall

  11. Andre says:

    At least you were able to sign up…

    Sorry, we were unable to process your request.

  12. Jensen Harris: An Office User Interface Blog : Try Office 2007 Without Installing It I tried. It works. You need to sign in with your Live ID (formerly known as Passport), and go over a long survey but fortunately you…

  13. David Walker says:

    Yes, if you say not to e-mail you, then it’s really stupid (not to mention annoying) to have to verify the ownership of your e-mail address.  Someone wasn’t thinking there.

  14. David Walker says:

    I get a 500 error page after I click the "Test drive Microsoft Office" button.

  15. musti says:

    "All those caveats aside, this is a great way to play around with Office 2007 Beta 2 if you don’t have a spare machine on which to install it."

    should be changed to

    "All those caveats aside, this is a great way to play around with Office 2007 Beta 2 if you don’t have a spare Windows-running computer on which to install it."

    and all other references to "machine", "computer", etc. Thanks.

  16. macewan says:

    try office? but only if you’re using IE on windows?

    very limiting

  17. kojo says:

    I have tried it it is cool and the interface is ultramodern but Explain to me please the first group in the home ribbon item.

    It says paste and above that this rather big icon that is not indicative nor functioning why is it there and what does it do. and why the word paste !! if that is a group that have common elements with common fate or purpose what is paint doing with copy and cut functionalities???

    I must praise the addition of Caps feature really great.

  18. Carl Hyslop says:

    Why isn’t the Send-a-Smile tool included with the Test Drive?  It means that no-one running the Test Drive can send any feedback.  Since there’s no way to send any feedback, there’s not much point in testing it.

  19. Dean says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has actually downloaded the official beta 2 release that’s out, or whether everyone is still using the versions found via torrent sites, but Microsoft is actually offering legitimate licensed copies of the 2nd beta through their site.  You can pay $1.50 and download the full Office 2007 Professional beta, or pay $4.50 and have a CD shipped to you.  I chose to download it, and I’m glad I did.  I can’t wait to see the final changes made before it’s released.

  20. OfficeOnline says:

    Now if you only read my blog you would have known about this earlier 🙂

    – mark

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