Office 2007 to Debut with Big Changes

Review: Significant changes in the office suite mean a big decision for enterprise IT managers; eWEEK Labs checks out pre-RTM code.

Microsoft announced Nov. 6 the release to manufacturing of Office 2007, which will introduce a significant change in the way end users work with and view the productivity suite.

While testing beta versions of Office 2007 during the past year, eWEEK Labs has seen plenty of new capabilities and features that are likely to nudge corporations toward an upgrade. These include improved security, better usability and enhanced graphics, as well as suitewide attention to collaboration that will enable users and enterprises as a whole to work with information in a slew of new ways.

/zimages/6/28571.gifFor more on Office 2007 code going gold, click here.

Two significant interface changes could yield performance gains—eventually. In the near term, the ribbon interface, which changes depending on a users particular task, and the Office button, which replaces the Office File menu, may cause confusion among end users. Office 2007 also introduces new file formats, although Microsoft has taken great pains to alleviate potential document incompatibilities between different versions of Office.


Office 2007, which will officially launch on Nov. 30 with general availability in early 2007, will come in several different versions: Office Enterprise and Office Professional Plus, both of which will be available only to volume-license customers; Office Ultimate (which costs $769 or $539 to upgrade); Office Small Business Edition ($449 or $279 to upgrade); Office Standard ($399 or $239 to upgrade); Office Professional ($499 or $329 to upgrade); Office Home and Student ($149, with no upgrade available); and Office Basic, which is available only through OEMs.

eWEEK Labs got access to the pre-RTM Build 1011 version of Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007, which Microsoft burned a week before the new suites RTM. Office Enterprise 2007 comprises Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, InfoPath, Communicator, Publisher, Groove and OneNote.

We did a clean install of the pre-RTM build onto machines running Vista and Windows XP and had no problems.

Office 2007 requires Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Server 2003 with SP1. Office 2007 also can be installed on systems running Windows Vista Beta 2, but not earlier prerelease versions of Vista.

eWEEK Labs full review of the suite will appear in the near future.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at

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