Office 2007 Beta 2 - It isn’t all about the server SKUs…

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:28 AM
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Most of my posts focus around the server product line, ahem, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 & WSS v3, in Microsoft Office. While it’s true, it is my primary role, the clients (Word, Excel, Outlook, OneNote) are also important to me and I have been watching with great interest their progression from the dogfood days up to yesterday’s release of beta 2. I’ve been using the clients exclusively since late January when they were still Beta 1… and had no productivity/work stoppage problems. In my mind, I wouldn’t be hesitant to upgrade your 2003 clients to 2007 beta 2.

There are a few clients I want to single out…

OneNote 2007 B2

First of all, I ~love~ what they’ve done with OneNote. I love that I can dock my page and notebook listing and even easy switch to full screen quickly and easily. There’s so much more to mention, including more points of integration with Outlook, but I’ll refer you to Chris Pratley’s latest post: OneNote 2007 and Outlook: Best Buddies.

For those of you wondering, yes your previous versions of OneNote notebooks will open in the beta. You may get a error about how it can’t read your cache the first time around on first load. No worries, just click OK and let it open, clearing your cache. I had no problems with this.

Excel 2007 B2

What the Excel team did with Excel was flat out stunning… next to Outlook it got the most improvements in my book. The new “Format as Table”, intellisense with functions, conditional formatting… man, it just ROCKS.

Outlook 2007 B2

A while back I blogged about the features I love in the new Outlook as well as my gripes with the RSS subscriptions, a new feature. Since that post, I did some checking and found that some of my issues would not be addressed, but some of them were “workable” and finally one would be addressed in beta 2. My four gripes: (1) Assigning views, (2) OPML import drops organization, (3) retrieval intervals, and (4) Feeds in Exchange mailbox (refer to the link above for details on each).

Gripe #1 wasn’t going to be addressed… I’d have to write a VSTO addin to address it. Gripe #3 was addressed as you now have a “RSS” group you can manage. Gripe #4 can be dealt with as once you create your feeds and import them from your OPML file, you can move folders to a local PST rather than bloating your Exchange mailbox.

However, Gripe #2, as I understood it, would be fixed in Beta 2. Unfortunately, it wasn’t (or at least is isn’t working on my machine). I decided to import my “Office” category which has separate subcategories for SharePoint, WCM/CMS, Project, and Clients… over 100 subscriptions. BAD DECISION as my categorization was lost and all feeds were dumped right into the root of the RSS Subscriptions. DAMNIT! There’s no way to mass delete folders unless you group them in subfolders (then deleting the parent removes the children as well). This was ~quite~ frustrating.

I’ll still give the RSS subscriptions a go in beta 2… sometime in the next week I hope to have a few minutes to import batches of my feeds as OPML files, then manually pull them into a subfolder (hey Outlook team: I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DO THIS).

So far… I’m still under impressed with the added RSS subscriptions in Outlook 2007… and that’s disappointing.

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