Free e-book: “First Look: Microsoft Office 2010”

For a limited time, Microsoft Press is offering the e-book “First Look: Microsoft Office 2010” for free and without any required registration.

The main focus of this book is of course highlighting the new features in Office 2010. For Outlook that is for example, the new full-Ribbon-style interface, Backstage, the redesigned Conversation View, Conversation Cleanup, Quick Steps, the Social Connector/People Pane and the new Schedule View (which replaces the “Plan a Meeting” and “Group Schedules” feature).

Other applications that are being discussed are: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint Workspace (this used to be called Groove), Publisher and Access. In addition, some “better together” scenarios are being discussed as well as the security and permissions features that are introduced or improved throughout Office 2010.

Download: First Look: Microsoft Office 2010

Developer information about the Outlook Social Connector

If you have taken the latest Office 2010 Beta for a spin already, then you probably have noticed the Outlook Social Connector as well. Currently the only provider that can be used for this is a SharePoint server. Microsoft will later develop a Windows Live connector as well which allows you for instance to pull contact and related content information from Windows Live Messenger and SkyDrive. LinkedIn is also working on a provider for the Outlook Social Connector.

If you are a developer, you can create a provider for your own web service as well. You can find more information about it in this blog post of the Microsoft Outlook Team.

Office 2010 Public Beta now available too!

After official testers and MSDN and TechNet subscribers got their hands on the new test build of Office 2010, the Office 2010 Public Beta program has now become active as well. So as of now, anyone could get some hands on with Office 2010.

You’ll find that Outlook has gotten a major overhaul with the Ribbon now in the main program as well and a completely new Options dialog. If you have a hard time finding things, take a look at this guide which lists the locations of the most common options in Outlook.

The Outlook Social Connector is a completely new add-in which introduces “The People Pane”. This pane gives you some related information of the person you are in contact with or persons that have been added to the conversation. You can find out more about the Outlook Social Connector on the Outlook Team Blog.

More about the entire Office 2010 product line (which also includes Exchange and SharePoint) can be found here.

Download: Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 Beta

Microsoft Office 2010 Beta available

For all you testers out there; Microsoft has just released a new beta release of Microsoft Office 2010. Its build number is 14.0.4536.1000 which is a significant step forward of the 4006 Technical Preview release which had been available for some time now.
Currently it is only available to testers via Connect and people with a TechNet or MSDN subscription. A broader beta release available to everyone is upcoming as well and even expected this week.

October Hotfix for Outlook 2007

A new Hotfix has been released for Outlook 2007 that solves a whole heap of issues.

Amongst others, it fixes a crashing issue that Exchange administrators were facing when importing pst-files via the import-mailbox cmdlet in PowerShell.

Another notable issue that got fixed is that since installing SP2, the Quick Click category was no longer saved.

As said, a lot of other issues got fixed as well and, interestingly enough, despite the update being language neutral, quite a few apply to the Hebrew language.

Since this is a hotfix and not a regular update, you won’t be offered this update via Microsoft Update but will have to request it. You can do this at the information page of the hotfix which also list all the other things that got fixed. If you are not (seriously) effected by any of these issues, it is recommended to wait for the next Service Pack or regular Rollup Update which will most likely contain all these fixes as well.

Pst-file format specifications will be opened up

The Interoperability team at Microsoft announced that it will open up the pst-file format specifications to the public under the Open Specification Promise (OSP) license. This means that other developers would be free to use the pst-file format in their solutions and read/write to it without any restrictions. Currently it requires Outlook to be installed and using the Messaging API (MAPI) or the Outlook Object Model (OOM).

The documentation is still in the early development stages and the final version of the documentation is expected to be released in the first half of 2010.

More information about this can be found at the blog of of the Interoperability Team and at the blog of the Outlook Team.