Microsoft to deliver invitation-only tech preview build of Office 2010

Microsoft to deliver invitation-only tech preview build of Office 2010

Summary: On July 13, Microsoft is slated to make available a limited technical test build of its Office 2010 suite to select testers via the company's Connect download site. The new build is not a public beta. Here's what it is....


On July 13, Microsoft is slated to make available a limited technical test build of its Office 2010 suite to select testers via the company's Connect download site.

The new build is not a public beta. A public beta of Office 2010 is slated for later this year, as company officials have said previously. The promised July test build, which will be downloadable starting today, is of Office 2010 Professional -- one of the five planned Office 2010 SKUs -- only.

(Is today's tech preview build the same, except for being officialy sanctioned, as the Office 2010 build that leaked in May? That May build was numbered 14.0.4006.1010.  Today's Office 2010 tech preview build -- based on a new leak -- seems to be 14.0.4302.1000. So today's build is newer.)

Microsoft also is making available to select testers this week invitation-only tech previews of Visio 2010, Project 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, officials said. The tech preview of the Office Web Apps --the Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote -- is slated to be available to select testers some time in August, not this week.

Microsoft officials are planning to announce the availability of the tech beta at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which kicks off in New Orleans today. The conference is for 5,000 or so of the company's reseller partners.

All WPC attendees will have access to the invitation-only technical preview program and will receive an e-mail invitation to the program, according to Office officials.

Also on July 13, Microsoft officials are unveiling the five planned Office 2010 SKUs the company plans to make available in the first half of 2010. The current version of Office, Office 2007, is packaged as eight different SKUs. Microsoft officials said they are reducing the number of SKUs to reduce complexity.

Microsoft is not sharing Office 2010 pricing yet, officials said.

The five Office 2010 SKUs will be:

* Office Professional Plus 2010 (available only via volume licensing) * Office Professional 2010 * Office Home and Business 2010 (the new SMB SKU) * Offie Standard 2010 (only available via volume licensing) * Office Home and Student 2010

All five SKUs will include OneNote, Microsoft's note-taking application. SharePoint Workspace -- the renamed and updated Groove offline/online synchronization app, is part of the Professional Plus SKU only. The Ofice Web Applications will be part of the Professional Plus and Office Standard SKUs, but not the other three. However, Microsoft has plans to make the Web-centric Office Web Applications available to a broader set of XP, Vista and Office 2010 users. (See this post on Office Web apps for more details.)

For more details about what is part of each Office 2010 SKU, check out my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott's post.

Microsoft has scrapped plans for an Office for Sales SKU. The Office 2010 Enterprise SKU, which was listed in an internal slide presentation earlier this year, also has been scrapped, or possibly replaced by another SKU. Microsoft officials wouldn't say more about either of these SKUs when I asked.

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Too Complicated

    Having used the May version of the 2010 Preview. I can say that they are really over complicating Office.

    You can only type up a Word document so many ways. They need to focus on other directions for Office if it's going to succeed, but 2010 will fail- it's just way too much for what it's supposed to do.
    • Too complicated? How?

      I'm interested in your experience of using the May Office2010 preview.

      What did you find too confusing?
    • Office IS complicated

      Because it IS meant to be used in ways that Wordpad can't.

      The problem was that people did not see the functionality and so did not take advantage of it, effectively bypassing 99% if it.

      However, I have NOT used 2010 nor had much experience with 2007. I am a Tech Writer and most customers, being enterprises, are still on 2003, largely because Office apps are deeply embedded in many business processes and would require lots of due diligence to determine the changover development costs.
  • RE: Microsoft to deliver invitation-only tech preview build of Office 2010


    They might add a video editing/publishing program to the Office package but by and large more change is about as welcome as hemorrhoids.

    Some people may enjoy playing treasure hunt with new user interfaces but I just want to use the program.
    • I agree 100%

      Why learn a new GUI? If my people have to learn one it will be OpenOffice.
      • how large? whats new?

        Go on and surprise me by telling me that this is
        not just bloatware providing nothing new but an opportunity to charge people for something 'new'
        that they don't need? Are we to get all breathless
        over the even tighter integration with the
        microsoft server software. Yawn.
        • For enterprises, document management is significant

          For most home consumers, such considertions are irrelevant, but to an enterprise, being able to include more enterprise document managment in small steps without going to a major ECM application like Documentum and its consequent massive implementation costs, IS worthy of consideration.

          And contrary to what you may believe, some readers may be interested in such capabilities, even if they are not in such large enterprises.

          Many businesses use SharePoint. We even used it to store all the documents of a Documentum implementation project. It was easy to incrementally use in more sophisticated ways. Documentum and the like need lots of up front effort to make sure the implemention will be right. Far from 'perfect' though, but then useful things often are.
  • RE: Microsoft to deliver invitation-only tech preview build of Office 2010

    You MSFT haters need to get over yourselves. Bring it on Microsoft, I've done well with you since 1989 - and currently running Office, Bing and IE8 with great ease. Signed: a self-taught non-IT hack from Boston.
  • Word still deficient in basics

    Every upgrade of Word has ignored basic flaws that make my life as an attorney harder, not easier. A few examples from a very long list:

    - Styles. Styles are BAD for documents longer than a page. No law firm uses the same styles as another, and styles are too complicated for 99% of secretaries to modify or re-do. Indeed, with every new version of Word, it has become harder, not easier, to even find the Styles modification box. At the most basic level, you can't even see complete style names in that little window in the upper left. When lawyers give up -- very understandably -- in fixing their style problems, their documents look terrible and become hard to edit. Styles are an unmitigated burden in my world and should be SCRAPPED. (I do so miss WordPerfect's format codes and Reveal Codes.)

    - Macros in Word documents? Are you kidding? I am relatively good with the computer, and I can't begin to figure out how to edit a Word macro. It was a snap in WordPerfect, and it's an incomprehensible mess in Word. But who cares anyway? Word had the idiotic idea of embedding the macro in the document, not somewhere else on your hard drive. So if I had macros, they would be embedded in every document, thereby greatly increasing its size and making it harder - not easier - for the next secretary to edit. Useless.

    - Something basic - Change Case to Title Case: Word's Title Case is just wrong. In titles or captions, the articles, prepositions and conjunctions should be lower case, but Word capitalizes them. That's just incorrect. This is something else that WordPerfect got right, starting in 1994.

    I could go on. (And not only about Word: In Outlook, for example, upgrades made it harder to save Searches, so I have prevented my IT group from upgrading me past Outlook 2000.) But I know that Word will not be addressing these and many other basic, underlying flaws in its next update to Office. I shall certainly not recommend the expense of upgrading to my partners.

    • Word still deficient in Basics - You are so right glnz

      You are so right glnz.

      Word Perfect in 1994 was better than Word 2007. Changing anything basic in Word 2007 is so complicated compared to 2003 or 1995-1997 version...

      Now, Office 2010 is coming?? No thanks. Never.
      High Altitude
      • Burned out

        I started getting pretty good with office 2000, then on to the ribbon with 2007, im just getting comfortable with that a year or two down the road (the suite), and now a whole new system?

        i dont want to learn new things when it comes to word processing. ive had enough. thanks.
    • Lame 4 Long Documents & Adv Users 2

      Yes, styles are incomprehensibly broken in Word 2007, and past service packs and patches have changed the functionality for advanced style capabilities without any warning.

      A "smart" title case option is an excellent example of a broad range of things that have always been inadequate with Word and remain so.

      SO HAPPY to a new version of Word before anyone has time to adapt to the last one. What don't they understand about even the very name of the software suite called OFFICE? I've often wondered what Microsoft uses for a word processor. They clearly don't use Word, otherwise you'd think they'd understand a few things about it.

      The other BIG problem with Office 2007 is that the help system is catastrophically broken. Full search capability was I think the plan to lighten the load associated with context-sensitive help, but even when you know exactly what you are looking for, you often cannot find it -- even using the online resource, which seems to make search results even more random than offline, to the extent that is possible.
    • Perhaps you should spend some time learning rather than ranting

      Because your rant above does little to solidify your credibility.

      Styles, if used properly are a fantastic feature, eliminating potentially thousands of individual formatting blocks and replacing them instead with a consistent document style that can be modified just by changing the style elements.

      Just as when building web sites, one should create a document's content and then mark particular regions as being particular styles (e.g. headings, sub-headings, statements, quotes, etc).

      This results in documents that are 1000's of times cleaner than those containing a gazillion individual markups, none of which are consistent, easy to find, modify and standardize.

      If your users don't understand how to use styles, you should be teaching them how to, not complaining that Word does it wrong.

      Can users screw things up by creating hundreds of styles? Sure. Should they be educated as to why it's bad to do so? YES. Is this a failing in the software? No - it's a tool and if you misuse a tool, you're likely to get hurt.
      • don't feed the troll.

    • Coudn't agree more

      Years ago I stopped using Word out of frustration - about styles and about the program trying to think for me in the wrong way. By example always starting with a capital upon using Enter. Software that expects me to conform to its idiocy is just bad software and this especially so when it changes and expands on its rules from year to year instead of resolving some really basic flaws. Extensive macro's that I made in WordPerfect for Dos still worked ok in WP for Windows. Macros for Word could not even be read in the next version. And indeed a lot of hidden stuff in the header of a document...
      Henk de Boer
    • RE:Word still deficient in basics

      Woah! Yeah, the Word Perfect thing.
    • And Word is UNSTABLE

      To add to my rant above: Word styles are UNSTABLE, especially in automatic numbering. Have you noticed that sometimes the style associated with an auto-number level just flips out on you and suddenly indents all the paragraphs at that level? Have you noticed that sometimes it just adds tab sets for no reason? This means that the Word application has major programming bugs. I've used Word '97, Word XP, Word 2000 and Word 2003, and I've seen this problem in all those versions. Hey, out there, do you think this has been fixed in Word 2007 or Word 2010?

      Also, why the hell did MS add ".docx"? Who needs that?
      • That IS bad design

        Yes, the indenting should have been left solely to the styles and the numbering separate, except to specify which styles are used for each level. That would make the scope of each mutually exclusive.

        Making indenting settings in BOTH the numbering AND the styles IS asking for the types of problems that have occurred.

        The .docx is for the XML format and, being a significantly different internal format, is probably different so that doc files don't accidently get clobbered.
    • You need to learn Word

      Sorry to desagree with you but:

      1 - Styles are very easy to use and if well constructed (i.e. not by a lawyer!) are great for formating docs. One thing i give to you Microsoft samples are usually crap. Secretarys should not edit styles for a company - thats not their job. Your company needs document consulting my friend and u need to learn Word!

      2 - You do not know what a Macro is in word!! Macros no longer are the repition of a task .. they are much more and are not for the common user (they work .. the rec works but still ... )

      3 - Build a Macro!!!

      • I agree with ginz

        The styles are totally erratic!

        I have experienced the same issues in Office 2000 & Office 2003 (I haven't bothered to try the ribbon-based styles of Office 2007).

        I'll create a style and apply it to my document and later when I check it, I discover that Word has actually created 2 or more styles and then applied them randomly throughout the document.

        I generally have more success if create a style and then use the Format Painter to transfer it.

        I also have problems with Word randomly indenting when I want a tab and vice versa.

        I have seen these problems on multiple different PCs (age, brand and location).


        What happened to my d?