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Five Questions on the Office 2010 Upgrade with IT Field Support Specialist Brian Raley

By Pam Gorsuch

If your department hasn’t upgraded to Microsoft Office 2010, you will be soon. OTS began upgrading departments to the new, security-enhanced version of Office in October 2010 and they’re looking to finish them by the end of the fall semester. Below, learn more about the upgrade process and the new version’s enhanced usability from upgrade project lead Brian Raley.

Why switch to Office 2010?

Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows is easier to use, saves time and reduces the amount of steps necessary to complete common tasks. In my opinion, Office 2010 is a lot better than the 2007 version. It offers improved security measures that focus on preventing malware, adware, and viruses transmitted through file sharing or opening e-mail attachments.

IT Field Support Specialist Brian Raley

What does the upgrade entail?

The process of upgrading to Office 2010 is similar to most other software: the old version is uninstalled from your computer and then the new version is installed. Department-wide upgrades are the most common way that the upgrades are completed, since it allows everyone to get the new version at the same time and enables OTS to arrange for additional training and support before and after the upgrade. With department upgrades, the actual software is installed overnight to minimize interference with work, and OTS staff members are on hand the following morning to respond to any questions or problems about the upgrade. Individuals can also upgrade their own computer at any time using our self-service installation package. This takes between 15 to 30 minutes using instructions OTS provides.

What are the changes and new features included in the new version?

SharePoint integration has gotten a lot better, and Outlook now has the “ribbon” interface that was introduced in the other Office applications in 2007. We’re not sure why it took so long to catch up, but it increases the ease of use for employees who use e-mail a lot (which is most of us). There are new features in all the applications that make common tasks faster and easier. One of the most popular is an expanded list of recent documents and folders that you recently used—it seems to “remember” what you were doing over the past couple of weeks which is an amazing time saver. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access have the same look and feel as Office 2007, so most people will make the switch quickly and painlessly.

What is the upgrade timeline? 

The first departments upgraded in October 2010 and we would like all upgrades to be complete by the end of fall 2011, if not sooner.  We have openings for departmental upgrades in September and October, and we would like to get most of the remaining offices on campus upgraded during that timeframe.

Office 2010 is a better, more secure product, and it’s important that departments keep up to date with current software. Unless there’s a compelling technical or compatibility reason to stick with 2007, switching to 2010 makes good sense—for you and for the campus. The security enhancements alone are a good reason to upgrade.

Will there be training on the new version?

Yes, OTS Training will support you with your transition to Office 2010 by offering the following services and resources: workshops, customized training, downloadable self-help documents, in-depth online video software training, short interactive online software training, and phone support.  The OTS Training site has additional information on Office 2010 training materials.

Additional information on the Office 2010 upgrade is available at www.towson.edu/officeupgrade. If you are in a department that has not yet upgraded to the new version but you would like to pursue an upgrade, have your department head or his/her administrative assistant contact Brian at 410-704-6271 or braley@towson.edu.

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