The InfoPath team has a great series of posts on the InfoPath team blog. If you would like to meet the people behind the product and learn about new InfoPath 2010 features, then check out our "5 for forms" video demo series. Each week a member of the product team demos a cool, new InfoPath 2010 feature or scenario in less than 5 minutes.
In this series, discover how easy it is to build powerful applications on SharePoint, using InfoPath and InfoPath Forms Services 2010 - no code required! Learn about customizing SharePoint list forms, creating mashups using the InfoPath Form Web Part, building applications that integrate with SharePoint Workflows and Business Connectivity Services, building smarts into your forms using our new out-of-the-box rules, and much, much more...
Check out the video demos that have been posted to date:
The following video demos will be posted in February:
We hope you tune in. We'd love to hear your feedback on InfoPath 2010.
Laura Harrington (InfoPath Program Manager)
The Excel team has made a number of improvements in the Business Intelligence area for Excel 2010, which have been covered in-depth on the Excel Team Blog.
First, the team added slicers, which are visual controls that allow you to quickly and easily filter your data in an interactive way. Slicers can connect to PivotTables, PivotCharts, and CUBE functions to creative interactive dashboards:
Part of an interactive Dashboard with Slicers and PivotCharts
A number of enhancements have been made to PivotTables- including the ability to modify values in PivotTable cells (writeback), more flexibility and power through named sets, and a series of other enhancements.
A new search filter is available for tables and PivotTables, which allows you to quickly navigate through large data sets.
The New Search Filter
Finally, the Excel and SQL teams have collaborated to create a PowerPivot, a powerful data analysis tool made up of two components: an add-in for Excel 2010 and a series of new features for SharePoint 2010.
"Designed for business users, PowerPivot […] delivers unmatched computational power directly within the application users already know and love — Excel. Leveraging familiar Excel features, users can transform enormous quantities of data from virtually any source with incredible speed into meaningful information to get the answers they need in seconds."
PowerPivot add-in for Excel 2010
Here's the full list of Excel blog posts about Slicers, PivotTable Improvements, and PowerPivot.
Table and PivotTable Improvements
Also, read about improvements in other areas of Excel:
Over the past few months, we’ve highlighted many of the new features that will be available in Office 2010 – and many of you have downloaded the beta to try them out for yourself. In fact, as we reported at CES, more than 2.5 million of you have downloaded the beta already.
Now two other will join the beta ranks. Microsoft, along with many of you has caught the Vancouver 2010 fever and we figured what better place to try out some of the new features of Office 2010. Two bloggers, Amber Johnson Borowski and Dylan Derryberry will use the Office 2010 beta technology to blog live from the Games come February as the winners of our Office Winter Games contest.
Some of the new features these two bloggers will be using to report from Vancouver include:
While there, they will use many of the features we talk about and be able to put them through their paces. Are there other features you would like for these Blogathletes to use while reporting from the Games? If so let us know. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
A few weeks back we introduced Mobility in Office 2010 where we talked about Microsoft® Office Mobile 2010 (for Windows® phones) and Office 2010 Mobile viewers (for non-Windows phones). That post very briefly touched upon how documents can be accessed while on-the-go using either SharePoint® Workspace Mobile 2010 or Office 2010 Mobile viewers. In this post we will talk in more details how you can access your documents on-the-go.
Imagine you are at a café waiting for the next customer meeting – now you can access your presentation for a quick rehearsal using your phone. Or imagine you are in a taxi - now you can review & give feedback to a proposal that a colleague has uploaded on a team site. Or imagine you are at airport lounge waiting for your flight – now you can make a final edit to a shared document before you board a flight for a great vacation. Yes all this and much more is now possible using your phone with Office 2010, so let’s walkthrough how these new features can make you more productive while you are away from your desk.
Consider you are a financial consultant working in a team that specializes in financial statement preparations. You uploaded a presentation for your client that analyzes the operational result for the current fiscal year. While you are out of office you decide to do a quick review of the presentation.
If you are using a Windows phone (running Windows Mobile® 6.5 or higher) then you can now use SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010 to connect to your SharePoint server which hosts this presentation.
If you have accessed this presentation using your phone then it will automatically show up in default view of SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010 “Recent Documents”.
However if you have not accessed this presentation but accessed your team site using your phone then that location will show up under “Recent Links” view of SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010.
You can even browse to a new location by entering the server URL in the address bar. Tapping on any of the item in the list will take you inside that location for example if you tap on a site then it will show its content and similarly if you tap on a document library then it will show you all the documents inside that library. You can even pin any link if you want it to be always available on your phone for quick access.
So going back to the scenario, consider you got to the presentation you were looking for. You tap on the presentation name to open it in PowerPoint® Mobile 2010 application. After a quick review you decide to send the same document to your colleagues for a review, you use SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010 for sending a link to this presentation.
Now consider that your colleague is also away and wishes to do a quick review of a document you sent. He clicks on the link in the e-mail and SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010 opens the document in server connected mode. He reviews and replies back with his feedback on the presentation.
If you are using other types of smartphones (not a Windows phone) you can access your Microsoft Office documents using Office 2010 Mobile viewers.
Let’s walkthrough the different settings/features so you know how Office 2010 Mobile viewers can help you with your work when you are away from desk.
Say you’ve asked your colleague to update a Microsoft Word document before sending it to customer. You’ve got your colleague’s email saying that the updates are done and a link to find the latest files. Click on the URL and the browser opens, launching Word Mobile Viewer to display the document in a format that’s suited for mobile viewing. By default, you would get text view like image #1. If you know that this document is heavy in pictures and diagrams, you can switch to image view like image #2. You can navigate the pages (next slide/previous slide) with the navigation bar at the top of the screen. Clicking on the button with Office logo on the top left hand corner would get you to the menu area enabling you to do more actions with the document. Let’s look at what features we have for Word Mobile Viewer at image #3.
There are a few features to call out from this menu area which should come in handy especially when you are working with smaller screens like a mobile phone. Using Find and Go to page you can quickly jump to the desired location in your document like you do with Word on the desktop. Alternatively, you can use Thumbnail Index (illustrated in image #4). This feature is useful when you would like to quickly browse the pages in smaller icons. Once you’ve found the desired page, you can delve right into the page by selecting the link with the associated page.
Excel® Mobile Viewer renders spreadsheets in a way that enables mobile viewing with ease by displaying a small set of rows and columns. To maximize efficiency and a consistent user experience, there are also features provided that aide you to quickly navigate to a desired location. Let’s walk through a simple scenario to illustrate navigation in the Excel Mobile Viewer.
The image below shows the menu area of Excel Mobile Viewer.
Say you are an event planner for an upcoming launch event for a new product, and just called the DJ of the event to make sure which genre of music will be played. You can use your mobile phone to access previously created Excel files to get more information. After the spreadsheet is opened in your browser, you select the menu button on top left (image #6) to go to the menu area. You then select Find, and type in the DJ’s name to search for the row with her phone number (image #7). After pressing Find, you are presented with the results as illustrated in image #8. The link on top displays the cell that the matched data is in. The text/data that matches your search characters is marked in red. Adjacent columns and rows will also be shown. If you click on the link, you will be pointed directly to that cell in the worksheet (image #9).
Another useful feature when viewing spreadsheets is Freeze Column or Row. This feature is very similar to the Freeze features available in Excel on desktop. Freeze is perhaps even handier since now you are working with a device that’s smaller in screen size. Say you want to freeze row 3 in image #6, so that no matter how further down you go in the spreadsheet, you would still be able to see this row.
First choose Freeze Column or Row from the menu area, and then select whether you want to freeze by row or column. In this case, you select row then click next (image #10). In the next page you can enter the row number you’d like to freeze (image #11). Now, the row title will always be visible while you’re viewing the spreadsheet.
Two other cool features in the Excel mobile viewer are:
Viewing PowerPoint slide deck is similar to viewing Word and Excel so we won’t get into details on topics such as thumbnail view, find, go to sheet, next/previous slide, etc. Image#15 is the menu area of PowerPoint Mobile Viewer.
Two views specific to PowerPoint are Outline View and Slide View. You are able to switch in between the two views depending on whether you want to focus only on the text portion of the slide w/Outline view (Image#16) or if you want to be able to view the entire slide deck in general including the graphical aspect /Slide view (Image#17).
What’s most interesting about PowerPoint Mobile Viewer besides opening and viewing a file is the ability to view slides that are being broadcasted by a remote presenter (Shared Slide Show is a new feature in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010). For instance, say you are stuck in an airport lounge and a meeting is just about to start. You can use your mobile phone to open the email that’s been sent to you by presenter and click on the broadcast URL. Using this feature, you can view the slides and always stay in sync with the presenter just like if you were attending the presentation in person. (Image #18)
We hope you enjoy this post. In the next few weeks we’ll continue to introduce more mobile functionality in Office 2010.
Hi everyone! My name is Alex Dubec and I’m a Program Manager on the Office Trustworthy Computing Performance team. My team is responsible for compiling system requirements across Office, and I’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we determine system requirements and the hardware your computer requires to run Office 2010.
Before diving into all the details, I want to answer a question that I’m sure is on all of your minds:
In most cases, yes! CPU and RAM requirements for Office 2010 are the same as for Office 2007, so if your computer meets the Office 2007 system requirements, you can run Office 2010. A graphics chipset will help boost the performance of certain features and disk footprint has increased (more on these points later), but as general rules:
First off, I’d like to explain what level of performance you can expect from minimum-requirement hardware. The minimum hardware spec is about defining the kind of computer that an average Office customer needs to have in order to have an acceptable experience performing typical tasks. This means tasks like opening up and editing a 20-page report. Tasks like creating some simple pie charts or scatterplots that highlight your findings, and putting together a few slides summarizing your results for that meeting next Tuesday. Or even tasks like writing up your blog post about system requirements. You should also be able to comfortably run two applications simultaneously.
As you might expect, more intensive tasks benefit from fast chips, more RAM, or speedy hard drives, and newer hardware makes everyday tasks faster – but the hardware requirements aren’t about making Office 2010 blazing fast, or about running several applications at once, or about crunching financial models in a giant spreadsheet. They’re simply about getting typical tasks done.
A lot of other pieces of software carry both “minimum” and “recommended” hardware requirements, and you might be wondering why Office 2010 doesn’t have “recommended” requirements. The reason for this is that customers have told us that understanding hardware requirements can be confusing, and the difference in meaning between “minimum” and “recommended” requirements isn’t all that clear. For example, if the minimum RAM requirement for a program is listed as 1 GB, but 2 GB is recommended, what does that really mean? Does the customer need 1 GB or 2 GB? By including minimums, we’ve tried to make the hardware requirements as clear as possible.
CPU and RAM requirements approximately doubled between Office 2003 and Office 2007, as you can see below:
One of the pieces of feedback we’ve received from customers is that they really, really hate having to buy new hardware every time a new version of Office is released. With that in mind, one of our goals for the Office 2010 was to make sure that the minimum hardware requirement would not increase from Office 2007. We invested in improving the customer experience on minimum-requirement hardware, and we regularly tested performance throughout the development cycle. Our footprint has gotten larger since Office 2007, but we’re proud to say that we’ve succeeded in keeping the CPU and RAM requirements the same as for Office 2007.
To be objective about our hardware requirements, we maintain a performance test lab of machines with the following specifications:
I have one of these machines in my office, and when I got it I couldn’t help but laugh: it was manufactured in January 2000. Maintaining that machine and our lab becomes more challenging as time goes on – this hardware hasn’t been in production for years, and it keeps getting harder to find replacement parts when stuff breaks!
We verified our requirements using this hardware with the following tests:
With this data in hand, we’re comfortable with a 500 MHz CPU and 256 MB of RAM as appropriate minimum requirements for Office 2010. To give this a bit of context, some of the least powerful computers available today are netbooks, and our data suggests that the average current netbook has a 1.6 GHz CPU and 1 GB of RAM – which is significantly more powerful than our minimum requirement.
We haven’t changed the CPU or RAM requirements from Office 2007, but the footprint of most Office applications have gotten larger. These changes force us to increase the system requirements – most standalone application disk-space requirements have gone up by 0.5 GB and the suites have increased by 1.0 or 1.5 GB.
There are a few reasons for these changes:
To determine which operating systems would be supported for Office 2010, we prioritized based on usage statistics for a given OS, as well as the engineering costs associated with ensuring compatibility and providing customer support for that OS. The following charts summarize OS compatibility for Office 2010.
If you’ve checked out Office 2010’s full system requirements, you’ve probably noticed the new graphics processor (GPU) requirement, and might be wondering what that’s all about. Another piece of feedback we received after releasing Office 2007 is that customers were interested in harnessing more of the potential of their PCs. Many computers in 2007 and most computers today have graphics processors separate from the CPU (this doesn’t necessarily mean a dedicated graphics card; for example, most laptops don’t have a physical graphics card, but do come with a graphics processor). If your computer has a GPU, it lets us perform graphics rendering tasks (like drawing charts in Excel, or transitions in PowerPoint) in the GPU instead of in the CPU, which parallelizes work and speeds up performance. This is particularly relevant for users of PowerPoint 2010, which will introduce some awesome new graphics and video integration features (more info at the PowerPoint team blog).
We chose to design for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0c compliant graphics processors with 64 MB video memory. These processors were widely available in 2007, and most computers available today include a graphics processor that meets or exceed this standard. However, like our CPU and RAM requirements, this requirement is targeted for typical tasks – if you intensively use graphics features, you’ll benefit from a more powerful GPU.
If you want to verify the specs of the graphics core in your computer, the DirectX Diagnostic Tool will help:
Again, to put this requirement in context, the graphics chipsets in many netbooks are capable of using up to 224 MB or 256 MB of memory – which greatly exceeds our system requirement.
If you’re interested in upgrading from Office 2007, and you don’t have a GPU that meets the requirement, don’t worry – you can still use Office 2010. A graphics processor that meets or exceeds the standard will help speed up some of the graphics features you’ve used in earlier versions of Office, and it will help you use advanced transitions, animations, and video features new to PowerPoint 2010. We think a graphics processor will enhance your Office 2010 experience, but again, if your computer doesn’t have one, you can still run Office 2010.
It will come as no surprise that the performance of Office 2010 benefits more RAM, a faster CPU, or newer hardware. If you’re looking to buy a new computer, or if you’re running Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008, you probably already have a machine that far exceeds the minimum requirements for Office 2010 (although you should check first, just to be safe). That said, I hope that I’ve given you some insight into how we develop system requirements and what they represent. Thanks for reading!
Just in case everyone hasn’t seen the exciting news, today we announced a new concept test prototype for Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) called Ribbon Hero. Ribbon Hero explores a new approach to Office training that’s designed to deliver a fun, engaging experience to aid users in exploring the features available in Office. Unlike traditional training, Ribbon Hero presents a game-like environment for learning and lets users compare their scores and feature usage on Facebook. Head over to the Office Labs blog post to read more about Ribbon Hero and try it for yourself!
On a different note, the Office International blog just made a post listing several Technet articles that help customers who are planning to deploy Office 2010 with multiple languages. Check out the details here.
My name is Scott Gordon – I am the Group Product Planner for the Microsoft Business Division. My team and I work closely with the Office engineers to represent the voice of you, our customers, in the product development cycle.
How do interactions with customers represent your voice in our product development efforts? Our approach reminds me of an experience a friend of mine had a while ago as a SCUBA instructor. He was asked by a team of animators how to SCUBA dive. They were preparing to create a film about creatures under the sea but no one on the team had actually been under the sea. They wanted to experience what that was like first hand, so my friend taught the animators of Pixar’s Finding Nemo how to SCUBA dive.
In many ways our job is to provide a similar experience for the engineering teams in Office. Perhaps not as thrilling as diving with clown fish, turtles, and sharks, nonetheless, one of the best parts of my job is learning more about how our customers use our products. As a result, I spend a fair amount of time traveling to meet with, talk to, and learn from our customers.
In my travels, I have toured plants and sat with automotive engineers creating new concept cars. I have seen how new commercial airliners are built. I have talked to doctors who collaborate with their colleagues to determine the cause and, more importantly, the treatment of difficult or complex diseases. I have seen the load of a public school teacher trying to help their students learn and keep pace with our fast moving world and think about how technology could play a larger role in the classroom.
These and many other scenarios are what product planners investigate, analyze, and evangelize with our engineering teams in order to make a product that meets the needs of 100s of millions of people the world over.
There are a variety of tools we use. Focus groups, surveys, ethnographic inquiry, customer interviews, and advisory councils are just a few of the ways we gather real-world data and experiences to incorporate into our scenarios, designs and, ultimately, the product.
One example of how these planning tools help take features from an idea to code can be seen in our new rich media enhancements in PowerPoint. Through customer usage analysis, we knew that over 50% of PowerPoint users included photos in their presentations and providing in place editing tools was a popular request. We were a bit surprised to learn that almost 20% of people were using more advanced capabilities like flash, video and animations. This trend spotting led us to conduct habits and practices research where we started to observe the scenarios and behaviors around the whole concept of rich media.
Next, we studied and prioritized the most commonly used and popular editing features. We interviewed customers to learn more context behind their usage. We discovered that removal of the background in an image was a big need.
Once we determined the list of requirements for making rich media great in PowerPoint, our designers and engineers went to work to determine the best user experience. Since software development is just as much an art as it is a science, it takes a lot of creativity to solve tough problems. Many times there are multiple ways to approach a scenario and improve upon or solve a particular task at hand.
In order to determine the best designs we test these concepts in a controlled environment. Much like my friend who first teaches new divers to breathe under water in a swimming pool (a controlled environment) before introducing them to the open water, planners test these concepts before we introduce them in a broad way to the world. Have we sufficiently solved the problem? Does the solution work effectively, save time, and ease the burden for the customer? We work closely with our colleagues in Design and User Research to ensure customers not only see the value of the concept but also know how to use the software.
Once we had our initial concepts, the next step was to take several of those concepts, built by our engineering team, to a test market of PowerPoint users and see what they liked and didn’t like. The data came back and showed we had found the right balance of simplicity versus functionality. Today, we are excited for you to use the many new and exciting rich media features in PowerPoint 2010 including the top requested feature Background Removal.
This is just one of many examples of how the voice of the customer guided the development efforts of Office 2010. In fact, during this past product cycle, the product planning team has spent over half a million person hours conducting similar types of customer research all over the world. We have engaged tens of thousands of customers across the United States, Europe and Asia.
Of all these customer interactions my personal favorite was a trip to a hospital on the East Coast of the United States. As part of my visit, I met with the Chief Technology Officer who talked to me about how Office and SharePoint were being used to bring doctors together from all over the country to collaborate on difficult patient cases. He shared his vision about how, in the future, patient information could be shared more effectively to more accurately and quickly diagnose symptoms. How doctors could communicate, collaborate and visualize patient information to more accurately and effectively diagnose these difficult cases. He had a list of wishes that our software could provide in the future. I feverishly took notes as he explained his list. I was inspired by the passion and sense of urgency this technologist had to put a better system in place to help his doctors and patients.
As we left his office and walked back to the lobby, a young, bald-headed boy in a hospital gown passed us in the hall, most likely on his way for more tests and treatments for his disease. Suddenly, I understood the technologist’s sense of urgency in a much more real way. This wasn’t just a better way to build cars or airplanes or process court orders, as important as those things are; this was a matter of life and death and our software played an important role and could play and even greater role in the future.
I am personally excited to see how our new Office Web Apps, Co-Authoring capabilities, data visualization, OXML, BCS, and SharePoint Workspaces will be used to help the Chief Technology Officer realize his vision.
I look forward to the opportunity to discover other ways we can continue to improve the lives of our customers. Download and try the beta; after all, you were a big part of helping us build Office 2010.
Lately, the PowerPoint Team has been writing a lot about the new slide show experience. Transitions, animations, and video will look better and run smoother in PowerPoint thanks to the brand new rendering pipeline that ships with PowerPoint 2010. This recent post highlights the differences between this new, hardware-accelerated engine and the old engine that runs in PowerPoint 2007:
The purpose of this upgrade is to enable you to create more visually stimulating slides and tell a more compelling story. The new rendering engine also serves as a platform on which we can build more complex and interesting animations in the future. Here are a couple of blog posts with example presentations that show some of the new features in action:
Visit the PowerPoint Team Blog to learn more about the upcoming release! Here are some of the other great features they’ve been talking about:
Broadcast Slide Show
PowerPoint Web Viewer
PowerPoint Web Editor
Export to Video
The New Multimedia Experience
Media Compression and Optimization
My name is Larry Waldman -- I am a Program Manager on the Office User Experience team and have been working in this role to make Office more accessible for almost 5 years. When users of Office hear that Microsoft has many people working specifically to make our products more accessible to people with disabilities, many express surprise. With such a broad customer base, we recognize the importance of considering accessibility impact in every feature we build. For example, check out this article I wrote about Accessibility and the Ribbon in Office 2007.
Upon starting our research for the 2010 release, we knew it was important to continue our accessibility focus (see Microsoft Accessibility for more info) and ensure that Office 2010 is the most accessible version of Office ever. Not only are accessibility improvements garnering increasing attention from governments, but accessibility improvements provide broad usability improvements and as such are becoming a key area of focus for the software industry in general. With that in mind, we planned Office 2010 with two key accessibility pillars:
Providing detail on all of Office 2010’s accessibility improvements can’t be done in a single blog post, so I’m going to focus today’s discussion on Office 2010’s new document Accessibility Checker feature. I’ll end the post with a few high level bullets of other accessibility features that we might discuss in the future.
While user interface accessibility has been well understood for years, the accessibility of Office document content is a burgeoning new area. In particular, we’ve seen many requests from companies and governments who have been wondering how to help their employees create accessible content. To solve this problem in Office 2010 we created a document Accessibility Checker (like a spell checker, but for accessibility issues) as a core feature of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
We started by examining the most common accessibility problems in Office documents and bucketing them in terms of their severity – we ended up with three categories:
Based on these three categories, we came up with a set of issues our checker looks for (described in more detail below) – when presented to the user, they are bucketed into “Errors”, “Warnings”, and “Tips” – these buckets correspond to the above three descriptions.
One of our key principles for Office 2010’s accessibility checker was to make the feature available out of the box for all users – in a way that’s integrated with the authoring workflow. Rather than force users to remember to run the accessibility checker before sending a document, we integrated accessibility results directly into the Backstage view. Anytime you click the File tab and view the Info place, accessibility information will be provided under the Prepare for Sharing header. Prepare for Sharing is described more generally in this Backstage view blog post, but this is the place in the UI where authors go to ensure their file is ready to be shared with other readers; they can check for hidden information, metadata, and now accessibility issues.
To receive more detailed information (including what issues were found, why they are issues, and step-by-step instructions as to how to fix each one), users can click ‘Check for Issues’ and then click “Check Accessibility”.
This will close the Backstage View and open a task pane so you can interactively find and fix the issues in your document. In addition to the screenshot below I’ve provided a detailed textual description of how to use the checker and how its UI is represented to screen readers.
The task pane has two main UI sections.
The top section is a tree view control (with each tree item navigable via arrow keys). Each “violation type” (missing alt text, no table header row, repeated blank characters, etc…) is an item that is collapsible.
When showing, each violation type contains one or more violations – these are represented to screen readers as children of the parent “tree items”. Each leaf is key focusable. For example, if you have two pictures that are missing alt text, they will be two violations under the “Missing Alt Text” node – each can be selected. When a violation is selected, the document will scroll to and select the problematic content.
Where possible we try to name each violation with a meaningful name (for example “Picture 1”) – And in PowerPoint or Excel you’ll find that we also try to provide what slide/sheet the object is on. Note – the violation types are grouped into “Errors”, “Warnings”, and “Tips” – These headers separate the tree items in the view, but they are not collapsible themselves. The group headers are also not key focusable.
When you select an issue in the top part of the pane, the bottom of the task describes how and why to fix it. Just above this bottom section is an “expand/collapse chevron” that allows a user to collapse the bottom pane.
All of the text in the bottom pane section is represented to a screen reader as one big pane with static text. When focus is on the pane, it can be scrolled using ctrl+up/down and pageUp/pageDown. Finally, there is some explanatory text and a more info link at the bottom of the pane if users need more help.
When Office 2010 ships there will be full documentation provided that details each violation the checker will scan for. In the meantime, here is a quick list of what we check for in each Office application – you can download the Beta and try out the Accessibility Checker with your files to see more details for the issues your content has. The top box for each application contains Errors, the middle contains Warnings, and the bottom contains Tips.
While we’ve tried to include as many accessibility issues as we can for Office 2010, we do recognize that there are still accessibility issues we don't yet check for. If you have a particular issue that didn’t make it into this release, please feel free to leave us a comment on this post and let us know things you’d like us to consider for the next version.
As part of our documentation process we’ve provided Assistive Technology Vendors with details about how they can use the Office accessibility platform (including our Object Model) to ensure they optimally read back Office content for their users.
For organizations that are concerned about compliance for employees, we’ve provided several group policy settings that can be used to customize exactly which accessibility violations are checked. Administrators can also increase the visibility and emphasis of the Prepare for Sharing information when there are errors or warnings. Finally, IT departments can leverage Office 2010’s UI extensibility to enforce a workflow that requires users to run the checker – this will help many corporations reduce the risk of employees creating inaccessible content and increase the amount of accessible information available to people with disabilities.
While this post has drilled deeply into the new document accessibility checker, here are a few other highlights we’ll be considering blogging about in the future. Feel free to leave comments and we’ll be sure to drill into what you’re most interested in.
The release Office 2010 is groundbreaking on many levels. Not only are we delivering features to users that provide a great accessibility experience across the PC, the Web, and the Phone, but we have continued to enhance our platform interoperability and commitment to AT Vendors. Hopefully this look at accessibility is useful – please let us know via the comments if you have questions or would like more information on a particular topic.
Larry Waldman, Program Manager, Microsoft Office
Update: Nick Simons just blogged about accessibility and the Office Web Apps. Check it out at http://blogs.msdn.com/officewebapps/archive/2010/01/18/9949907.aspx.
Another update: Diana Kimball just published a quick blog about accessibility and PowerPoint. Check it out at http://blogs.msdn.com/powerpoint/archive/2010/01/26/behind-the-scenes-accessibility-in-powerpoint-2010.aspx.
Heading into the new year, the Microsoft Office team is motivated more than ever by what we’re hearing about customers’ experiences with Office 2010. Many people think Office is just for the workplace, but millions of people are using Office at home, at school and for their small businesses to get things done. For instance:
Meanwhile the Office 2010 beta is generating record interest and use, surpassing the previous Office 2007 beta download rate. In just seven weeks, more than two million people around the world have downloaded and are using the Office 2010 beta. To get a better appreciation for that number, it’s a rate of more than 40,000 downloads per day. That’s approximately twice the number of people who run the Boston Marathon each year, or the entire population of Olympia, WA, or Annapolis, MD, downloading the Office 2010 beta every day!
Most importantly, 9 out of 10 beta users feel that the Office 2010 beta is an improvement over their current productivity suite.
In addition to the great momentum statistics, we are also releasing Office 2010 U.S. retail pricing today. Office 2010 will be offered in four versions, to make it easier to choose a version of Office that’s best for you – Office Home and Business, Office Professional, Office Home and Student, and Office Professional Academic. Here’s a chart that outlines the features and pricing for each version.
Or click here to download a more detailed guide to each edition.
We’re committed to making Office 2010 the best productivity suite ever, and making it easier for everyone to try, buy and use Office.
Rachel Bondi, General Manager, Microsoft Office