office 2010The first public beta of Microsoft Office 2010 (v. 14.0.4536.1000) is now available for download on both MSDN and Technet.

If you are not a subscriber, don’t hit the torrents yet because Microsoft may announce the general availability of Office 2010 beta sometime today itself. Update: You can download Office 2010 now.

Microsoft Office 2010 – What’s New

Here’s a quick visual guide to some of the new features of Microsoft Office 2010 that you’re likely to find useful once you get access to the software.

#1. Save Office Documents to the Cloud

With Microsoft Office 2010, you can directly upload documents to your Windows Live SkyDrive account and access them from any other computer.

SkyDrive provides 25 GB of free online storage and, since the service is integrated with Office Web Apps, you can view and edit these documents anywhere in the web browser without requiring Microsoft Office (even on a Mac).

save office documents to skydrive

#2. Embed Web Videos in your Presentations

With Office 2010, you can easily embed video clips from the Internet into your PowerPoint presentations just the way you embed Flash videos in regular web pages. Just copy the embed code from YouTube (or any other video sharing site) and paste it anywhere on the slide.

embed video in powerpoint

#3. Quick Steps in Outlook

Gmail includes a useful feature called Send and Archive that performs multiple tasks. When you click this button, it will first send the reply and then archives the thread with one click.

With the new Quick Steps feature in Outlook, you can create a sequence of commands (Send & Archive is just one example) and apply them to any Outlook item with a click. For instance, here’s a quick step for “Send and Delete” which would delete the email from your inbox after you’ve replied.

outlook quick steps

#4. Built-in PDF Writer

All Office 2010 programs include a built-in PDF writer to help you save documents into the PDF format with a click. Earlier, you had to download an add-on separately but now PDF support is native.

pdf writer in office 2010

#5. Document printing made simple!

With Office 2010, Microsoft has completely revamped the print dialog and it’s a tremendous improvement. For instance, you can tweak printer settings (like page margins, etc.) and preview the changes side-by-side.

printing documents in office 2010

#6. Broadcast Slideshows within PowerPoint

This is probably my favorite new feature of PowerPoint 2010. You can deliver live presentations over the web from within PowerPoint and anyone in the world can view your presentation using a web browser. It just works.

broadcast live slideshow

#7. Video Editing meets PowerPoint

Do you want to trim some parts of a video clip before using it in your presentation? Or do you want to apply professional styles to a video (like reflection coupled with 3D rotation) so that your audience stay glued longer? Well, that’s easy because PowerPoint 2010 now includes some very powerful video editing features.

correct video in powerpoint

#8. Distribute your slides as video

PowerPoint 2010 can convert your presentation into a video file that you may upload on to YouTube or distribute on a portable media player like the iPod. The video conversion happens in the background so you can continue using PowerPoint while the video is being created.

convert powerpoint to video

#9. Built-in Screen Capture

All Office 2010 programs now include a screen clipping utility to help you quickly capture any area of the desktop screen. The tool will automatically take screenshots of all open applications on your desktop (that are not in minimized state) and you can insert them directly into your document or presentation.

screen capture in office 2010

#10. Outlook gets social

When you open an email message inside Outlook 2010, it will show you related information such as email attachments, pictures, meeting requests and all previous email messages that you may have exchanged with that person (something like Xobni).

social outlook

There’s a green add button that lets you “add that person to your online social networks from Outlook” but the service isn’t live yet. Until then, you can use these add-ons to make your Outlook more social.

Important: Before installing Office 2010

1. If you are installing Office 2010 beta for the first time, the default settings will upgrade your existing copy of Microsoft Office. You can however customize this setting and install Office 2010 alongside an older version of Office.

2. If you already have Office 2010 Technical Preview on your computer, make sure you completely uninstall this edition before attempting to installing Office 14 beta. In case you still have trouble installing Office, use the cleanup utility to remove all traces of the previous version of Office from your system.

Related: Try Office 2010 Starter Edition