For the last year, I have been beta testing pre-releases of what would eventually become the latest version of Office. Office 2007 is a substantial upgrade on previous versions, and right now, you can try it for free for 60 days.
What can you expect from Microsoft’s latest offering?
Forget the tired old interface you’re used to. This isn’t the usual minor face lift with a few program tweaks. Office 2007 has been completely redesigned from the ground up to be “results-oriented,” and looks like nothing you’ve seen before. Menus and toolbars are gone, and in their place is a clean, dynamic, navigation system. While the new interface can be a bit daunting to begin with — things are not in the same places they used to be — the learning curve isn’t significant and the improvements are powerful. Applications are designed to be more intuitive, and make use of contextual tabs to show or hide available features depending on your task at hand.
The new release also marks the addition of a powerful new file format called Open XML. XML is a non-proprietary format that can be read cross applications, platforms and internet browsers. Besides improving interoperability, XML also improves file and data management and recovery.
System requirements for Office 2007 include Windows XP SP2 on a 500 MHz PC with a 2 GB hard drive and 256 MB of RAM (512 MB for Outlook with Business Contact Manager).
The free trial is fully functional for the entire 60 days, after which it will lose the ability to create, access or print files, and must be upgraded to a full retail version. The upgrade package of Office 2007 Standard is expected to retail at $239. The complete package will be available for $399.
Prefer free and open source programs?