Microsoft Office 12 Beta Due in November

Update: has provided screen shots and additional details about Office 12, based on the beta. Even if you don’t read the article, the screen shots are very informative.


Update: I found an Office 12 video that goes through some of the major user interface changes (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook). The video is 42 minutes long, but is very helpful if you have the time.


The next version of Microsoft Office should be due out in beta next month. The final version should be available sometime during the second half of 2006. Some things to be aware of:

  • In most of the Office programs, you will be able to save a file as a PDF document, but you won’t be able to open a PDF document within Office. Microsoft is working on its own document format — Metro — which should be very similar to PDF.
  • When you save a document, the default setting will be to save as an XML-based document.
  • The interface will be different, so there will be a learning curve. From

With Office 12, due next year, the company plans to do away with a system that depends on people remembering which series of menus lead to a particular command. Instead, users will see a “ribbon” of different commands above their document, with the options changing depending on the task.

  • There will be a “live preview” that will show you the result of your choices before you accept them.
  • Office 12 will not require Microsoft’s new operating system Vista. However, there may be functionality which is only available if you are using Vista.



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