So one doesn't undertake a review of a new Office suite lightly. My original goal with the release of Beta 2 was to provide a quick overview of the new features, highlighting the changes users can expect when this new product ships in Q2 2001. But a funny thing happened, though it should have come as no surprise: Because of the size of the thing, and the sheer number of improvements that it offers, a simple review of Office XP Beta 2 just wasn't possible. Simply listing the new features and improvements throughout the suite, and for the individual applications, required some half dozen pages in Word. If I had written the review as originally intended, it would have been a mammoth undertaking, hard to read and digest in one sitting. Furthermore, it would have been disingenuous of me to even consider publishing a review so quickly after receiving the Beta 2 code. Office is just too big for me to genuinely understand all of the changes and then communicate that in a simple review.
Here's what I'm doing. Instead of supplying a "Beta 2" review of Office XP, I'm going to write a multi-part review of Office XP, based on the most recent code available. I'll start with the Beta 2 code and update it with each new release so that it's complete by the time Office XP finally does ship, ensuring that any beta text or images are updated as necessary. And I'll introduce new parts of the review over time. Between the time of this writing (mid-December 2000) and the final release (expected in June 2001), I'll provide the following parts to this review of Office XP:
And as new parts are added, I'll update this introductory page with the links and we'll have a fairly complete overview of the entire suite by the time it's released. Ready for more? Let's go!