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    Join us on a global tour as Microsoft MVPs help launch Visual Studio 2010!

     

     

     


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    MVP Mark Minasi hosts a conference every year.  Minasi Conference 2010 is coming up May 2nd - 5th in Virginia Beach:


    The Minasi conference is unlike any other tech conference you’ve attended before due to its intimacy, favorable student:lecturer ratio, variety of topics and quality of instructors. The conference is organized and staffed by volunteers from Mark Minasi’s forum and includes well known veteran lecturers like Mark Minasi, Rhonda Layfield, Todd Lammle, Roger Grimes, Microsoft MVP’s and author’s such as Aidan Finn, Nathan Winters and Eric Rux and forum members who just want to share what they’re doing.


    Mark Minasi is known for his ability to explain complicated technical topics in a fun and interesting way. He is regularly featured in national magazines, radio programs, and television shows. Someone who attended one of Minasi's lectures commented, "Take George Carlin, make him technical, clean up the language, and you've got Mark Minasi."

    Registration is still open, but there are only a few spots left. 

     

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    Microsoft has launched Fix it Center Beta, a PC and web based solutions help center. Fix it Center diagnosis common problems and finds solutions in a matter of seconds. For more complex issues, Fix it Center Online stores diagnosis data that Microsoft customer service agents can use to determine the steps users have already taken -- drastically reducing the amount of time spent on the phone with customer service.

    Microsoft is particularly excited about the positive impact on the customer service experience Fix it Center will provide. MVPs who are already engaged in answering questions will have another tool in their tool box they can use to help in community forums.

    Ina Fried from CNET wrote:

    Microsoft is testing a new "Fix it Center"--an online and PC-based tool for helping users solve their Windows technical problems.

    While a fair amount of diagnostics are built into Windows 7, the free Fix it Center aims to expand on these and also bring similar capabilities to Windows XP and Windows Vista.

    Fix It Center is available for download here.

     

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    Open up your Outlook calendars and block out some time on April 29th at 9:00AM PDT to join Microsoft Technical Fellow, Mark Russinovich, as he leads a discussion around the process of planning, testing, assessing, and rolling out Windows 7 in an enterprise organization.

    Russinovich will be joined by IT professionals and Microsoft subject matter experts who will be on hand to help answer questions following an in depth conversation about the role of the pilot and the critical information it provides, best practices for ensuring a successful launch, tools and technologies that will help automate the pilot and deployment process, and how to conduct a post-pilot assessment.

    The event will be broadcast live over the web and is free to anyone who wishes to attended.

    Access the Virtual Round table live at: 

     

    http://ms.istreamplanet.com/springboard/

     

    We hope to see you there! 

     

     

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    Windows Desktop Experience MVP Aska Su's blog was featured in  Taiwan's very popular ITHOME:

     


    成立部落格,Aska Su分享自己的工作心得與想法,或是實驗過的東西。他很高興在部落格中能得到回響。

    在論壇中,可以很容易地找到相關的問題,同時也能夠發問與回答問題,AskaSu覺得這是相當不錯的學習環境。他喜歡在論壇裡找問題,同時也解決別人的問題。他也認為TechNet就像個大寶庫,部分資訊並不好找,需要慢慢去挖掘出來。

     

     

    MVP Aska Su built a blog to share his work experience and ideas. He also provides technical reports, and trouble shooting tips. He is very pleased by the response from the blogger community.

     

    Besides his blog, you can easily find the relevant answers in the Microsoft forums and get answers from real people. MVP AskaSu loves to share his insights and technical experience with online peers. MVP AskaSu thinks Microsoft forums are the best place to learn Microsoft technology. He also believes you can find plenty of useful information at Microsoft TechNet forum.

    The MVP Program is proud of Ask Su's accomplishment and appreciates all of his contributions to the community.
    Bookmark and Share Chinese to English translation provided by Senior MVP Lead Reneata Chang

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    Do you want to learn more about SharePoint 2010? 28 SharePoint MVPs are participating in two live chat events about SharePoint 2010. These events are a great opportunity to tap into the vast knowledge of these industry professionals who are regarded as the best in their field.

    Two opportunities are available to join the conversation. Times were chosen to accommodate most of the world.

    On Tuesday April 27, tune in between 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Pacific Time to chat with the following MVPs:

    1. Bill English
    2. Sahil Malik
    3. Shane Young
    4. Clayton Cobb
    5. Asif Rehmani
    6. Agnes Molnar
    7. Darrin Bishop
    8. Matt McDermott
    9. Rob Bogue
    10. Saifullah Shafiq Ahmed
    11. Serge Tremblay
    12. Mike Oryszak
    13. Becky Bertram

    On Wednesday April 28, tune in between 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Pacific time to chat with the following MVPs.

    1. Andrew Connell
    2. Bil Simser
    3. Bryan Phillips
    4. Chris O'Brien
    5. Dan Attis
    6. David Mann
    7. John Ross
    8. Kevin Laahs
    9. Muhanad Omar
    10. Randy Drisgill
    11. Spencer Harbar
    12. Michael Mukalian
    13. Rob Foster
    14. Woody Windischman
    15. Paul Stork
    Learn more by visiting the event page http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/chats/default.aspx

     

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  • 04/26/10--15:44: MVP Versus Volcano
  • We write about the dedication and professional attitude of MVPs in this blog all the time.  Few stories are as exceptional as the one I'm going to share with you today. MVP Andrew Connell found himself in the middle of the European transportation shut-down, that was also known as Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano. On a mission to attend and present at the SharePoint 2010 Evolution Conference in London, Connell tried everything he could to get to his destination.

     He wrote:

     

    I had a certain degree of responsibility to make my best effort to get to London for the conference. Many US based speakers were not going to make it due to the ash cloud… I felt like they really needed me to be there but I also desperately wanted to be there. After quickly realizing getting there by air was not going to happen, I looked at *every* other option including train, bus, ferry, rental car and car pools. The goal was to get to Brussels where I could get on the EuroStar up into central London. My students were incredibly helpful in assisting with other modes of transportation over to London for the conference. We looked at train options that in 37hrs and 8 transfers would take me from Trondheim » Oslo » Gothenburg » Copenhagen » Hamburg » Cologne » Brussels. They even used their own travel agent to secure me a seat on a Norwegian Air flight direct to London on Sunday morning. And that wasn’t the end of it… the guys at Enable AS were *AMAZINGLY* helpful and generous.
    In all, I decided to wait until Saturday and see what happened. And this is where my travel nightmare started…
     

    Nightmare, is an understatement. This was an adventure worthy of a movie starring Chevy Chase. What I love about Connell's story, is it shows the can-do positive attitude of MVPs. He didn't even want to let a volcano stand in the way of helping community.

    Read the entire adventure here, on Andrew Connell's blog.

     

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    Join an online live conversation with Microsoft Community Managers Matt Bernardy and Jake Grey on May 4th, 2010 from 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. PMT. This is your opportunity to learn more about the Clubhouse, Microsoft Answers, the MVP Program, and to ask questions about all the Windows community programs. To join, follow these simple steps:

    1. Find out what time this Live Meeting is in your country/region.
    2. Download Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007. We recommend you download the program several hours in advance to avoid technical difficulties during the session.
    3. Enter the meeting and fill in your name.
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    MVP Jose Manuel's publishing company Kraisis Press released two new books in Spanish.

    "Programación en SharePoint 2010" [Programing in SharePoint 2010] by SharePoint MVPs Gustavo Velez and Juan Carlos González Martín.

    The book focuses on SharePoint Foundation 2010.  It provides a complete walk through of SharePoint Foundation -- from installation to how to configure its infrastructure. "Programación en SharePoint 2010" also provides an overview of SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio, and PowerShell.

    "Visual Studio 2010, .NET 4.0 y ALM" is the first visual Studio 2010 book in Spanish. It was written by MVP Bruno Capuano. "Visual Studio 2010, .NET 4.0 y ALM" takes readers through new changes in Visual Studio 2010. Complete with tutorials, readers will learn how to extend the new IDE using MEF, how to generate code using UML diagram, how to work with IntelliTrace, and much more.

    Both books are available at major online retail stores.  

     

     

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    Xbox MVP Trina Schwimmer was listed on Fast Company magazine's "Most Influential Women in Technology 2010." They wrote:

     

    GamingAngels, the brainchild of self-professed geek Trina Schwimmer, seeks to provide a gender-neutral oasis in the hypermasculine field of gaming. Upset with gaming magazines' token female editors -- if there were any women at all -- and the sneers with which the gaming press seemed to regard female gamers, Schwimmer started GamingAngels in 2003. Originally a cosplay site, it quickly blossomed into a place where women could discuss all things geek, from gaming to gadgets to comics.
    Trina Schwimmer has been running GamingAngels.com for 10 years. She currently has 14 volunteer contributors. She hopes that some day she will find an investor or investors to help her convert the Internet's premier destination for female gamers into a business where her volunteer writers can get paid. She told Fast Company, "One solution would be for a male-centered gaming publication to fund us and bring GA into its network!"

    Schwimmer also volunteers her time to speak directly to young women about the importance of technology in their lives. She told Fast Company, "I do believe we are slowly making some changes in the gaming industry."

    The MVP Award Program is proud to have Trina Schwimmer as a member of the MVP community. Congratulations to her and her team for this outstanding recognition.

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    Microsoft Office 2010 will launch on May 12. The MVP community provided important feedback to help make Office 2010 the amazing tool it is today.

    To help new users become more familiar with Office 2010, we will feature 10 Days of Office 2010 starting May 12 on the MVP Award Program Blog.

    For 10 days, MVPs will guest post about their favorite features, tips, tricks, and more. From “Accessibility in Word 2010” to “Reviewing the Dow Jones Industrial Average with Excel 2010,” MVPs will do what they do best – share their breadth of knowledge and creativity with others to improve the community experience.


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    The following is a guest post by PowerPoint MVP Glen Millar as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "10 Days for Office 2010" Series. MVP Glen Millar discusses how to use Sections to organize your content in PowerPoint 2010....(read more)

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    Editor's Note: The following is guest post by MVP Dave J Parker as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "10 Days for Office 2010" series. David J Parker  has been using and developing with Visio since 1996, and has been a Visio MVP for a few years. He started bVisual ltd (http://www.bvisual.net ) in 1998, and writes a Visio blog at http://bvisual.spaces.live.com . He wrote Visualizing Information with Microsoft Office Visio 2007 (http://www.visualizinginformation.com) and Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming ( http://www.visiorules.com ).

     

    MVPs come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are developers, some are trainers, and some are users of their specialty product. I’m fortunate in that I’m a bit of all three, so I get excited about the new features, keen to tell others about them, and endeavor to exploit the new programming opportunities. So, here are my top 10 new features Visio 2010.

    Top 10 New Features in Visio 2010

    The first eight features are in all editions of Visio 2010, number 9 is in Visio Professional and Premium, and number 10 is in Visio Premium only.

    1. Maximizing the drawing canvas

    You cannot fail to notice that Visio 2010 now has the Office Fluent UI. Despite my reservations when I first saw it in Office 2007, I like it. I like the 2010 version more because of the Minimize the Ribbon arrow button (A) to the left of the little blue help button in the top right corner. This gives you a lot more space for your diagram canvas. Even better, the Shapes window can also be minimized with its own arrow button (B).

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    Normal appearance

    After clicking the Minimize buttons

    2. Quick Shapes and Quick Connect

    The new Quick Shapes menu, that appears when you hover over one of the blue arrows around a 2D shape, provides easy selection of the next connected shape. If the shape you want is not on the Quick Shapes menu then simply select it on the active stencil before hovering over a blue arrow. The shape from the stencil will be automatically dropped and connected in the chosen direction.

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    Favourites on the Quick Shapes menu

    Selecting other shapes for Quick Connect

    TIP : If you want to Quick Connect to an existing shape on the page, just hove then click and drag one of the blue arrows to that shape.

    3. Automatic updating of Function shape data

    When you add flowchart shape into a swimlane on a cross functional flowchart, the Function Shape Data value is automatically synchronized with the text typed into the swimlane header itself.

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    Function before changing swimlane text

    Function after changing swimlane text

    4. Creating a new linked page for a subprocess

    You can create a linked subprocess page from an existing process shape easily by selecting the process shape, then clicking Create New on the Subprocess group in the Process tab.

    TIP : Enter the process shape text first, then your new page will be given that name.

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    Select a single shape to create a subprocess page

    A new hyperlinked named page is created

    If you select several shapes, and you click Create From Selection, then a new page is created, the selected shapes are moved to the new page, and a new subprocess shape is left in their place on the original page.

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    Select shapes to change to Subprocess

    Shapes moved to new page, and replaced with Subprocess shape on the source page

    TIP : When you have finished your subprocess flowchart, you can use Link To Existing on the last shape to create an hyperlink back to the original page.

    5. Live preview of layouts

    There are many new live previews in Visio, but perhaps the most useful is the preview of the Re-Layout Page options.

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    Before selecting a Re-Layout Page preview

    Live Preview of a Layout option

    You can use the Live Preview to see the effect of selecting an option before actually committing to it, and there is always the undo if you still get it wrong.

    6. Visually relate shapes in a container

    You can visually relate shapes by selecting them, and then selecting a suitable container type from the Diagram Parts group on the Insert tab.

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    Select the shapes

    Then a container type

    When you move the container, then each of the contained shapes move with it, keeping their relative positions, and when you re-size the container, the contained shapes do not become distorted.

    TIP : Using a container to group data linked shapes is far better than actually creating an actual group because it does not turn the shapes into sub-shapes.

    7. Annotate with callout shapes

    There are times when you need to add annotation to a shape to explain it further, and you want them to stay in the same relative position when you move the source shape. The new callout shapes can be easily added to shapes by first selecting a shape, then choosing a callout type from the drop down list in the Diagram Parts group on the Insert tab.

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    Select a shape

    Then a callout type

    8. IntelliSense

    You can use Insert \ Field to add data linked text to a shape or a callout, without using Data Graphics. You could always see the list of Shape Data rows (and other selected categories ), but now you can get IntelliSense in the Custom Formula category. This enables you to select from a list of available rows, and you get visual confirmation of their presence.

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    Shape Data rows of selected shape

    Use Sheet.n! prefix to access Shape Data of other shapes

    In the above example, I noted the name of the server shape, Database server.174, by reading the caption of the Shape Data window. I then selected its associated callout shape, and then selected Insert \ Field on it. Then I entered =Sheet.174! in the custom formula edit box, and then IntelliSense sprung into life and presented all of the ShapeSheet sections for me to choose from. Note that Shape Data rows are named as Prop rows internally. IntelliSense works with ShapeSheet functions too.

    TIP : The Prop.<Name> of Shape Data rows that have been automatically added using Link Data to Shapes will appear prefixed with _VisDM_.

    9. Visio Services

    If you have Visio 2010 Professional or Premium edition, you can link data to Visio shapes and you can use Data Graphics, that was added in Visio 2007 Professional, to automatically display data as text, icons, data bars, or colour by value, and now in Visio 2010, you can insert a legend for these. What is really neat now is that these data linked diagrams can automatically refresh periodically, when saved to Visio Services on SharePoint 2010, thus always showing the latest information in the diagram.

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    Project data in SharePoint 2010

    Visio Services displays latest data

    TIP : The Visio web part for SharePoint can be linked to SharePoint list data easily, but there is also a JavaScript API for more custom integration.

    10. Automatic validation of diagram structure

    There are many different diagram types in Visio, and I would doubt if anyone knows how to use them all properly. Well, Visio 2010 Premium edition has a whole new Diagram Validation feature, which means that you can check that you have constructed the diagram correctly. This gives you feedback about any issues, thus prompting you with the actions to take to fix them.

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    Validate a structured diagram

    Review issues to fix or ignore

    TIP : Although Visio 2010 Premium only comes with rules for flowcharts, Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) and SharePoint Workflow Designer, you can write rules for any type of structured diagram – not just flowcharts.


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    Cross Posted at The Office Blog


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    Editor's note: The following is a guest post by SharePoint Server MVP Brian Farnell from Australia. This post is part of the MVP Award Program Blog's series, "10 Days for Office 2010."

    The ability to create custom workflows for data was one of the great wins in the previous release of SharePoint Server, and in the new Office 2010 system there are now more ways to create and customize workflows that will make taking a workflow from the design phase through to implementation a much easier exercise.

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    Let’s start with Visio 2010. You can now create a diagram based on the “SharePoint Workflow” template, which will allow you to drag common SharePoint workflow items, such as approvals and sending emails, on to your diagram and then connect them all together to show the flow of the whole process. At this point you would normally save this somewhere and hand it to a developer to build from scratch, but not anymore – now you are able to export this workflow diagram into a format that SharePoint Designer 2010 can recognise and use this as the basis of a new workflow for a site.

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    Next, we open up SharePoint Designer 2010 and connect to our SharePoint 2010 site. I can go to the workflow item under the Site Objects list and then select “Import from Visio”. Now, SharePoint Designer will create the workflow based on the diagram. All I need to do is fill in the blanks (such as the name of who approves a task or the contents of an email.) Once the workflow has been finished I can save it there and start using it. I can export it back to Visio if I made changes and need to keep my diagram up to date, or I can export for Visual Studio so that a developer can add custom code to achieve something that SharePoint Designer couldn’t do.

    This is just one of the many ways that various tools in the Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 range can work together to make creating great solutions simple and I really hope you guys enjoy using it.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Cross Posted at The Office Blog


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    Toby Richards, Microsoft General Manager of Community & Online Support, will be on the radio program Let's Talk Computers on Saturday, May 15. He will highlight  the MVP Award Program and how MVPs play a critical role in providing community support, as he discusses the evolution of technical support and online communities.

    If you’re interested in community or have a passion for how social media can help enhance technical support and the user experience, then tune in Saturday morning via the Let's Talk Computers website. You may also catch it on the air if you live in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas. Check your local listings for the time.
     

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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Office System MVP Stephanie Kreiger from the United States as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's series, "10 Days for Office 2010"

    When I was invited to write a short article about Word 2010, the word short was the thing that concerned me. There’s so much I’d like to share about the new features and tools in this version. So, I thought about the types of questions people ask me about Word.

    I’m a professional document geek, so the questions I hear most often are either about how to customize the appearance of documents (such as to implement company branding) or ways to save time or simplify something you need to use Word to do. Well, Word 2010 offers a lot of new features in both of these categories, so I chose one favorite from each. Let’s take a look at one new tool for customizing documents or templates and another that just might save you a lot of time.

    Coordinate all of your Office 2010 documents more easily

    You might already be familiar with Office themes, which were introduced in Office 2007. Themes are available in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook and enable you to apply a set of fonts, colors, and graphic formatting effects throughout a document with just a click (theme colors and fonts are also available in Access 2010). Additionally, in PowerPoint, the theme provides the slide master, slide layouts, and slide background gallery options for your presentation. You can use one of the forty built-in themes in Office 2010 (or themes from Office.com), mix-and-match theme elements, or create your own completely custom theme.

    In Word 2010, you can use improved tools for working with shapes to take themes even further and easily coordinate your Word documents with your PowerPoint presentations (such as when you need to implement company branding in all of your Office 2010 documents). You now get much of the same shapes and shape formatting options in Word that you have in PowerPoint and Excel, including shape styles that automatically coordinate with the fonts, colors, and effects from your active theme. But my favorite new feature of shapes in Word is that you can use the PowerPoint slide background styles from your theme as shape fills.

    To give that a try, select a shape. Or, to insert a shape, on the Insert tab in the Illustrations group, click Shapes, click the shape you want to insert, and then click or drag in your document to insert that shape.

    When a shape is selected, the Drawing Tools Format tab automatically becomes available. On that tab, in the Shape Styles group, expand the gallery as you see here for the option Other Theme Fills, which displays the slide background fills for your theme.

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    If you want to quickly and easily see what kind of difference these theme fills can make in your documents, check out some of the built-in Word 2010 templates along with some of the new built-in themes. One great example is the Adjacency Report template:

    1. Click the File tab, click New and then click Sample Templates. Select Adjacency Report and then click Create.

    2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Themes group, expand the themes gallery. Then, point to different themes to see them previewed on the new document. The backgrounds of both pages change depending on which themes you choose. For example, point to Angles, Black Tie, and Hardcover themes to see just how much you can customize about that template with one click.

    And, if you’d like to check out a few of the other improvements that give you added flexibility for working with shapes in your documents:

    · Select a shape and just start typing to add text.

    · You can now right-click any shape for the option to edit points. The Edit Points feature lets you add, remove, or reshape individual points in your shape to create your own custom shapes.

    · Use new keyboard shortcuts to resize (Shift + arrow keys) or rotate (Alt + left or right arrow key) shapes. Add Ctrl to the preceding shortcut key combinations to resize or rotate in smaller increments.

    Don’t do the same work twice

    Office 2010 introduces some fantastic new technologies, such as co-authoring—which enables you to edit the same document at the same time with other people—and the very cool Office Web Apps that make it easy to work on documents with others, regardless of what version of Microsoft Office they use. But the new technology that gets my vote for most likely to save the day is the ability to recover documents that you close without saving.

    As I sit in the park writing this article on my laptop, recalling my first computer that was called a portable at 28 pounds, I have to say that this might be one of my favorite technological advances ever. Just think about it. How many times have you inadvertently closed a file without saving or closed without saving because you didn’t think you needed the content, and then had to recreate that content later?

    Word 2010 (as well as PowerPoint and Excel 2010) lets you recover versions of files that you close without saving, even if you never saved the file.

    When you click the File tab in an active document, the new Microsoft Office Backstage view opens to the Info tab shown in the image that follows. That tab gives you quick access to features like document properties and the ability to inspect the document for proprietary information you don’t want to share. It also gives you two new features for recovering unsaved files.

    clip_image004

    · Under the Versions heading that you see here, you get one-click access to up to the last five autosave versions of a previously-saved active document. By default, the last autosave version is kept automatically if you close the file without saving.

    · Also under the Versions heading, click Manage Versions for the option for Recover Unsaved Documents, where you can find drafts of documents that you never saved.

    To help you get the most from these useful new tools, keep the following in mind:

    · To ensure that your last autosave version will be kept if you close without saving, click the File tab to open Backstage view and then click Options. On the Save tab of that dialog box, select the option to keep the last autosave version if you close without saving. Also on the Save tab, you can find the location of your autosaved files.

    · Drafts of unsaved files are automatically kept for four days. If you’re working on a public computer or otherwise want to delete those files manually, just create a new document and then go to the Info tab in Backstage view. When your active document has not yet been saved, the option to delete all unsaved documents is available under Manage Versions.

    What about other new and improved features?

    As mentioned at the start of this article, these are just a few of many new features in Word 2010. So, what are some other new or improved tools for creating custom content or simplifying the work you do with documents? I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorites, in brief:

    · OpenType typography (such as support for ligatures or stylistic sets) will put a smile on any font fancier’s face.

    · Try adding some of the great new text effects—such as gradient fills, reflections, and bevels—to the paragraph styles in your document or template.

    · The Navigation Pane (which used to be called the Document Map) has some nice new features such as a pane that gives you a linked summary of all document search results at-a-glance.

    · You can now customize the Ribbon right from within Word 2010 (or any Office 2010 program).

    For help getting started on your explorations, you can download the Word 2010 product guide free from the Microsoft Download Center. The link provided here takes you to a page where you can access product guides for all of the Office 2010 applications and then some.

    ----------------------------

    Cross Posted on The Office Blog and The Word Blog


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Office System MVP Chester Coronel from the Philippines, as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's Series, "10 Days for Office 2010."

    A typical day for me is not that different from your typical day. It starts at home when I wake my computer from sleep to check on my personal and work email accounts and try to sort out the things that I need to accomplish for that day. I eat breakfast and then prepare myself to go to work. I arrive at the office and then from there anything goes – I cross out items on my task list, attend meetings, join conference calls, prepare reports, prepare slides for customer presentation, and reply to email messages. Once the day is over, I head home to do some last minute checking on my work email. In a typical day, I use Office 2010 to accomplish many personal and work-related tasks; it has been a great productivity companion for me.

    I want to share with you some of the small things that are in Microsoft Office that help me save time and be more productive on a typical day.

    How the document looks and what it contains is important to me. Sometimes I spend a more time working on the layout and formatting of the document than I do working on the content. In the past, if I wanted to create a text that has gradient fill and reflection I had to use image editing software. This can take a lot of time. In the new version of Microsoft Word, I can select the text, change the font color to gradient, and apply text effects in just a few clicks. I can even create a style out of it so that I can apply it to other text in the document to create a consistent look.

    Word now has new picture editing tools, such as the ability to add background and artistic effects. Performing basic image editing tasks has never been this fast and easy. This really saves me a lot of time which I can use to do other things.

    I am an avid user of Microsoft Outlook. When I got my hands on the latest version of Microsoft Outlook, I discovered a new feature called Quick Steps where you can do a set of actions with a click of a mouse button – no need to go through each action one by one.

    I commit a lot of mistakes when printing worksheets in Excel. I think the most common mistake that I make is when the last column goes to a separate page. The nicest feature in Office 2010 is the new print preview. In print preview print settings are now integrated into print preview, so you can make changes in page orientation, margins, and scaling. This will save you a lot of time and paper when printing.

    These are just some of the many things that Office 2010 can do to help me accomplish things at home and at work. While these may be small things, they can really save you time. I hope that you too will benefit from the new tools and features of Microsoft Office 2010.


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by MVP Lead Katrine Letzel from Germany.

    Office Community Day 2010 in June

    For the second time since 2009, the two VSTO Experts Mario Meir-Huber, Student Consultant for Microsoft Austria, and Lars Keller (MVP for VSTO and .NET Developer Group Braunschweig) are doing an Office Community Day on the 15th of June. This free event will take place in the Microsoft Office in Unterschleissheim in Germany, and will be all about the development of Office Business Applications with VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office), OpenXML and SharePoint. To register go to  www.vsto-taskforce.de, You can learn more on Lars's Blog.

    German text:

    Office Community Day 2010 im Juni

    Zum zweiten Mal nach 2009 veranstalten die beiden VSTO-Profis Mario Meir-Huber, Student Consultant bei Microsoft Österreich, und Lars Keller (MVP für VSTO und .NET Developer Group Braunschweig) am 15. Juni einen Office Community Day. Die kostenlose Infoveranstaltung findet diesmal in der Zentrale von Microsoft Deutschland in Unterschleißheim statt und widmet sich der Entwicklung von Office Business Applikationen mit VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office), OpenXML und SharePoint. Infos & Anmeldung unter www.vsto-taskforce.de, außerdem informiert Lars Keller in seinem Blog über das Event.


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Microsoft Project MVP Bill Raymond as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's series "10 Days for Office 2010".

    The No-confusion Timeline Report

    As a Project Manager, it has always been a struggle to communicate a clear timeline to my key sponsors, stakeholders and even to the project team.

    Even as a Project Manager it can be difficult to read a Gantt chart once it goes beyond 50 lines or so. Granted, you get comfortable with the plan after a while and no how to traverse a detailed project plan but even the people on your project team may not fully understand all the intricacies.

    In previous versions of Microsoft Project, I would spend a lot of time plotting out massive prints of the project plan, creating a breakdown structure and then spend hours every week or two copying data to Excel or Visio to format the output for mass consumption.

    Earlier versions of Microsoft Project had some nice features to copy certain levels of a schedule to PowerPoint and provide some visual reports for Excel but clearly communicating the timeline was still problematic.

    The challenge Microsoft faced was a way to change a graphic that looks like this:

    GanttView

    Into something more appealing that highlights the key activities and milestones we are working towards. With the new Timeline View in Microsoft Project 2010 Professional, life just became much easier. Now, you can easily add any tasks to a visually appealing report that is easily output to e-mail, PowerPoint or for large-scale color printing.

    TimelineView

    The Timeline View graphic shown above is an output of a project with more than 80 tasks. It visually represents key dates and milestones that the entire project team and all stakeholders agreed to track. The color coding and placement of the text are easily formatted and can even be manipulated further from within other Office products.

    Cross Posted at The Office Blog


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Word MVP Karen McCall as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "10 Days for Office 2010" series. 

     

    My name is Karen McCall and I am an MVP for Word. I have a disability and use the JAWS screen reader to access information on my computer. Sometimes I use the on-board Magnifier in Windows 7. Magnifier in Win 7 has the ability to work in full screen mode or lens mode which are the tools that third party screen magnification tools have. The quality of magnification is great...and is improved. I may also use voice recognition or digital ink on my tablet. Because of the work Microsoft has done to make Office applications accessible I am, for the most part, able to choose a tool for a task that I am doing rather than a tool for a disability.

    This brings me to Office 2010 and two new tools that will make a huge difference to document authors. First, the ability to perform an accessibility check on your documents and second, the ability to provide expansions for acronyms. Larry has outlined in detail how the accessibility checker works so my blog will focus on the acronym tool and how I leverage the implementation of headings and contextual links in Word documents..

    The Acronym Tool

    The Acronym tool is found under the Accessibility/DAISY Ribbon. It is a tool for creating DAISY books or Digital Accessible Information System books for people with disabilities.

    BUT..

    In a Word document it allows you to create a list of acronyms and their expanded text so that anyone reading the document and not being familiar with the acronyms used in the document can quickly review the meaning of the acronym.

    It is NOT just a tool that can be used by people with disabilities or for the creation of DAISY books.

    clip_image002

    Figure 1 Accessibility Ribbon.

    Locating the Acronym Tool

    To find the acronym tool press Alt + Y, then C to open the Create Acronym dialog or G to open the list of acronyms in the current document if you have acronyms identified.

    clip_image004

    Figure 2 Acronym Group.

    Creating an Acronym Entry

    It is easy to create a list of acronyms for your document. The first step is to type the acronym into the document.

    To mark an acronym entry:

    1. Select the acronym.

    2. Press Alt + Y, C.

    3. This opens the Manage Acronym dialog.

    4. Your focus is in the edit area where you type the expanded text for the acronym. For example Royal Canadian Mounted Police with RCMP selected in the document.

    5. Press Tab to check the check box to use this acronym in the entire document.

    a. Use the Spacebar to check or uncheck this option.

    6. Press Tab again to have the acronym pronounced in the resulting DAISY book. If you are not creating a DAISY book from your document ignore this check box.

    7. Tab to the Mark button and press Enter.

    8. The Acronym is now in the list of acronyms for this document.

    clip_image006

    Figure 3 Manage Acronyms dialog.

    Viewing Acronyms in the Document

    You can view your list of acronyms anytime by pressing Alt + Y, G. This opens the Manage Acronyms dialog.

    clip_image008

    Figure 4 Manage Acronym dialog showing list of Acronyms.

    Note that both the dialog for marking an acronym entry and viewing the acronyms are called the same thing, however they have different elements.

    Headings

    If a document author uses heading styles and the headings are applied in hierarchical order, someone using the JAWS screen reader can get a list of headings in the document. The figure below shows the list of headings from Word for the previous article on Acronyms.

    clip_image010

    Figure 5 List of headings in a Word document from the JAWS screen reader.

    Someone can press Enter on any of these headings and go directly to the content and begin reading. If headings in a document are purely visual and are not based on the inherent headings in Word, this is not possible because adaptive technology will see the formatted text as a normal paragraph.

    Notice in the preceding image that the level of heading is also identified. This is why it is important to have the headings in their hierarchical order...they provide the structure for content.

    Links

    When we create documents that have links to other documents or to web resources such as this article does, it is important to provide contextual links. Contextual links let someone using a screen reader get a list of links in a document and move quickly to that content. The following image shows the links in this article before I added the headings and links content.

    clip_image012

    Figure 6 List of contextual links in a Word document.

    If the URL's had been added without using context someone who cannot see the document would encounter a list of links like the one shown below.

    clip_image014

    Figure 7 List of non-contextual links in a document.

    Someone using a screen reader has to listen to all of the information for each link in order to find out where the link leads. If the filename is obscure they have no idea where the link will take them.

    If contextual links are used someone can navigate to the link they need, press Enter and go directly to that content and begin reading.

    Summary

    With the accessibility checker and the acronym tool, document authors can check their documents for the accessibility features they've implemented. Accessibility checkers are mechanical tools and are not a substitute for implementing well designed documents. The accessibility checker should be used in collaboration with the document author.

    The acronym tool, while on the Accessibility/DAISY Ribbon is a tool that everyone can use to make their documents more readable and accessible.

    By implementing proper heading styles and contextual links, document authors can improve the access to their document content by people with disabilities using adaptive technology.

    This blog article has Alt text for images. Captions have been used so that if the page is printed out and the images are not clear, someone has access to a description of the images. This is a web based document however in a Word document footnotes or endnotes would be used to provide the long URL's in the event that the document were printed and taken to a meeting. Unfortunately there isn't paper yet that you can activate a link from or view the Alt Text for images..yet!

    About the Author

    Karen McCall, M.Ed. has written books on how to use Microsoft Office applications with the JAWS screen reader or from the keyboard. She owns Karlen Communications which provides consulting and training for accessible document design, accessible PDF documents and Section 508 or AODA/Accessible Ontarians with Disabilities legislation.

     

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    Cross posted at The Office Blog


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