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By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-05-23 Email Print this article Print

Excel As with Word, Excels look and feel also changes with the move to the ribbon. The conditional formatting option, for example, allowed us to use a combination of formatting options for business intelligence purposes. This tool also allowed us to see trends in data more easily.
Using Excel 2007s new charting engine, we were able to build everything from a column chart to an area chart. The area chart really stood out from those weve made in the past with Excel 2000 and 2003.
We also appreciated the fact that Excel supports worksheets as big as 1 million rows by 16,000 columns, allowing users to analyze very large amounts of information. PowerPoint PowerPoint 2007 adds the ability to define and save custom slide layouts, so users dont have to cut and paste layouts onto new slides.
When PowerPoint is used in combination with Office SharePoint Server, users can initiate, manage and track review and approval processes from within PowerPoint 2007. In previous reviews, we have said that we would like to see PowerPoint allow users to export presentations as PDF documents or as Macromedia Flash files. Half of our wish came true: Like the other apps in the suite, PowerPoint 2007 can export to PDF; however, it still does not support Macromedia Flash, as does Sun Microsystems StarOffice suite. Outlook Outlook 2007 includes many new features that users are likely to appreciate. Navigation also is generally smoother, and many collaborative tasks are easier to accomplish. While Microsoft has given an extreme makeover to the other core elements of the Office suite, the company has struck a middle ground with Outlook: Some of the user interface elements of Outlook 2003 remain, but new features have been nicely accommodated and the ribbon has been added to screens in which users create content. The summary user interfaces for e-mail, calendar and tasks are very similar to those in Outlook 2003, with only two major changes: a softer Windows XP design and the addition of the expandable To Do Bar on the right edge of the main screen. eWEEK Labs puts Thinkfree Office to the test. Click here to read more. The Outlook Today summary view of e-mail, calendar and tasks hasnt gone away, but the To Do Bar presents a configurable notification element for the days tasks and events. The bar can be expanded and collapsed in e-mail, contact, journal and task views. We liked this new look, but it has some negative aspects. For example, the ribbon on the e-mail composition window exposes some less commonly used delivery options, such as setting a delivery time, but requires a couple more clicks to do so. There are a number of new features within the Outlook calendar system that make it much easier to collaborate with others, including the ability to share calendars both internally and externally—regardless of the back-end server. We particularly liked the feature that allowed us to e-mail other users a copy of our calendar in iCal format to share availability data. We could narrow the amount of time we shared, as well as restrict the amount of details associated with calendar events. Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at Technical Analyst Michael Caton contributed to this review. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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