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15 Best Office 2010 Features:13-15

13. Outlook Social Connectors in Outlook

In recognition of the fact that email is being increasingly marginalised by social networks, Microsoft has added what it calls ‘Social Connectors’ to Outlook. These must be downloaded separately for each network, with LinkedIn and MySpace already available and Facebook and others due soon.

Once connected Outlook fetches data like contact details, profile pictures and status updates and uses them in various parts of the application, such as the in the People Pane and your address book. It’s not quite a seamless experience as your social and locally stored contacts are kept separate (probably a blessing in the greater scheme of things), but it’s a good addition and interesting pointer as to where Outlook might go in future.


14. Jump List Integration in All Applications

If you’re using Windows 7 (if you’re not, you probably should be), then you’ll be pleased to see all the new applications making use of the new taskbar’s Jump Lists feature. Most restrict themselves to the obvious and list recent documents, but Outlook is rather more useful because you go straight to creating new messages, appointments, meetings, contacts and tasks. It’s another small thing and won’t jump to the top of your ‘reasons to buy’ list, but every little helps.


15. Office Web Apps in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote

Office Web Apps, while a standalone web service in some respects, is very much a part of Office 2010. No longer will you have to dumb down your beautifully formatted and crafted documents for decades old versions of Office, instead you can simply upload your file to Web Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are supported), share it via email invites and leave people to fiddle and ruin/collaborate with your work. Web Apps aren't quite the finished article yet, but as a companion to Office they're invaluable.

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