Microsoft unveils Office 2010 in technical preview

Aside from the web versions, the Office upgrade adds a few more new features.

Multiple users will now be able to edit documents at the same time, with documents locked at the paragraph level.

The suite also gets a new image processing tool, so users can edit pictures without leaving the window. It includes a dedicated tool to cut backgrounds out of pictures handy for when you need a photo of yourself, but only have your Facebook profile shot of you on holiday to hand.

Similarly, PowerPoint gains a video editing tool, which includes the ability to select just a portion of a clip to play.

Cut and pasting also gets an upgrade. When you go to paste text into a document, a preview image is shown of the three options keep source formatting, merge, and plain text so you can see how it looks before you make your decision.

Outlook gains two new tools. The first is conversation cleanup, which brings together multiple replies in an email thread, condensing it and removing duplicated content to make it easier to read. The second is an "ignore conversation" button for when you're added to email threads that you don't actually need to be part of.

The suite also sees the extension of Microsoft's fluid user interface, which is designed to streamline tasks. For example, when you go to print, Word will automatically show a preview of the printed document, saving a few clicks.

Fewer SKUs

There will be just five versions of Office 2010, down from eight for the 2007 version.

The first two will be the volume purchase editions, sold to large organisations. These will be Office Standard and Office Professional Plus.

Office Standard will include Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word as well as new additions OneNote and Publisher. The Professional Plus version adds enterprise tools such as Access and new SharePoint Workspace.

The other three versions will be available for download, off the store shelf or pre-installed on PCs.

The low-end version will be called Home and Student, and adds OneNote to the standard lineup of Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

Next up is Home and Business, which adds Outlook. The top-end version is dubbed Office Professional, and adds Publisher and Access.