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Introduction > What's New in Office X

What's New in Office X

When you get right down to it, Office X has only one big new feature: Mac OS X compatibility.

That's not to say that it offers no improvements over its predecessor, Office 2001. On the contrary, a handful of small new goodies awaits you.

New Features: Word

  • Multiselection. We've lived so long without being able to select nonconsecutive chunks of text, that it can be hard to remember to use it. Keep pinching yourself, and press as you select as many additional bits of text as you like. Then you can cut, copy, or format them all at once.

  • Clear formatting. This addition to the Edit and Style menus changes any selected text to your Normal style.

New Features: Excel

  • Transparent charts. Mac OS X's Quartz transparency really shows its true colors in Excel. As shown in Section 13.2.8, 3-D charts become much easier to decipher when you can see through the layers.

  • Do-it-yourself keyboard shortcuts. Excel fans can now assign any keyboard shortcuts they like to the program's commands, just as Word fans have been able to do for years.

  • ODBC queries. If you know that ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity, then run, don't walk, to http://www.mactopia.com to download Service Release 1. This update restores Excel X's ability to query ODBC databases, as described in Open Database Connectivity (ODBC). (If you work only with FileMaker Pro databases—or no databases—then never mind.)

  • Importing from FileMaker Pro. Although Excel 2001 could import databases from FileMaker Pro into Excel worksheets, Excel X does it more easily and successfully than ever.

New Features: PowerPoint

  • Transparency. You can now dress up your PowerPoint presentations with see-through graphics, thanks to Mac OS X's Quartz graphics technology.

  • Save as Package. This new command (see the second Tip under Section automatically saves all of the movies and large sound files from your presentation into a single folder. You no longer need to worry about copying them to a laptop or CD along with the rest of your presentations.

  • Improved PowerPoint movies. Ever since PowerPoint 2001, you've been able to save your presentation as a QuickTime movie. Movies in PowerPoint X can now display all transitions and features in the original presentation, and look better, too. For instance, the fade in/fade out effects are enhanced by transparency.

New Features: Entourage

Although the primary offering in Entourage X is a much-improved design, you also benefit from smaller touches like these:

  • Improved calendar and other views. Entourage X's views are easier to customize and switch between than ever. You can also view your tasks and calendar at the same time.

  • Office notifications. Entourage's Flag for Follow-Up feature has been upgraded to Office Notifications (Section 9.6), which is compatible with Microsoft's .NET Alerts in MSN Messenger.

New Features: Office as a Whole

  • Antialiasing. If you have Mac OS X version 10.1.5 or later and Office X (with Service Release 1 installed), all text in your documents appears with smoothed edges (or antialiased edges, as the geeks would say). This effect makes large type look smoother and more professional, but can make smaller type look fuzzy. Fortunately, you can turn this feature off if you like; it's a checkbox called "Enable Quartz text smoothing" in the General panel of each program's Preferences dialog box.

  • Compatibility. Office X can open and work with documents from Office 98 and 2001 for Mac; Office 97, 2000, and XP for Windows; and AppleWorks 6.

  • New Project Gallery options. As described in Section 1.1, the Project Gallery offers a wider variety of templates and wizards, as well as the new Based on Recent feature.

  • Help easier to search. Office's Help system now uses a full-text search engine, as opposed to a question-based formula. The benefit to you is that Help is more likely to find the topic you're seeking.

  • Customizable toolbar buttons. For real customization mavens, you can now create your own button icons (in Photoshop, for example) and use them on any of Office's toolbars.

  • Output as PDF. Because Acrobat technology is integrated into Mac OS X, you can convert your Word or Excel documents, PowerPoint presentations, or even Entourage "documents" (such as an email message or calendar month) into PDF files for emailing or printing.

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