What's new for IT professionals in Office 2010


Applies to: Office 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2012-11-20

Microsoft Office 2010 provides new features and improvements that help IT administrators configure, validate, deploy, and protect their Office installations. This article describes some of the changes in these areas.

In this article:

  • Accessibility Checker

  • Application virtualization

  • Co-Authoring

  • Licensing and volume activation

  • Office 2010 64-bit (x64) editions

  • Office Customization Tool changes

  • Office Web Apps

  • Security changes

  • SharePoint Workspace 2010

  • Silverlight interactive guides

  • User interface changes

  • Additional resources

Accessibility Checker

The Accessibility Checker helps people create Office content that is accessible to people with disabilities. A core feature of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the Accessibility Checker flags issues that can make content unreadable or difficult to read. In addition, organizations and governments that are concerned about compliance for employees can configure Group Policy settings to customize exactly which accessibility issues are checked.

For more information about Accessibility Checker, see the following resources:

Application virtualization

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) is another method to deploy Office 2010. Virtualization transforms applications into virtualized, network-available services that are not installed on the users’ computer. Instead, applications can be automatically delivered to the users’ computer as users need them.

By using App-V and Office 2010 together, you can quickly deliver the latest version of Office without having to worry about application conflicts or delays in productivity for users. Deploying Office 2010 with App-V 4.6 (currently in Beta) includes new support for integration with SharePoint Products and Technologies, Outlook Search, and Microsoft OneNote 2010. App-V 4.6 is scheduled for release in 2010.

App-V significantly reduces regression and application interoperability testing. App-V also minimizes the effect on users during application upgrades, patching, and terminations of user rights to applications because restarts and uninstallations are no longer required.

For more information about Application Virtualization, see Planning and Deployment Guide for the Application Virtualization System (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=156611).


Co-authoring simplifies collaboration by enabling multiple users to work productively on the same document without intruding on one another’s work or locking one-another out. This capability requires no additional server setup and is the default status for documents that are stored in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Co-authoring is supported in Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010, and OneNote 2010. Co-authoring Excel 2010 workbooks in SharePoint is supported by using the Microsoft Excel Web App, which is included with Microsoft Office Web Apps.

For more information about Co-Authoring, see the following resources:

Licensing and volume activation

Microsoft includes product activation technologies in the following products sold through the Volume Licensing channel: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, and now Office 2010. Product activation is verification with the manufacturer to confirm that software is genuine and that its product key is not compromised. Activation establishes a relationship between the software's product key and a particular installation of that software on a device.


Office 2010 supports Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

Activation types include retail, volume, and OEM, and most require interactive steps by the user or IT professional, such as entering a product key from the packaging, or contacting a networked server or telephone service center. Activation technologies and tools vary according to the different channels for the software — retail, volume, and OEM.

The Microsoft policy requires the activation of all editions of Office 2010. This includes those obtained through a Volume Licensing program. This requirement applies to Office 2010 running on both physical computers and virtual machines.

You can use the following methods to activate Office 2010 with Office Activation Technologies:

  • Key Management Service (KMS). KMS uses a KMS host key to activate a KMS host computer and establish a local activation service in your environment. Office 2010 connects to the local KMS host for activation.

  • Multiple Activation Key (MAK). With a MAK, clients activate Office 2010 online with the Microsoft hosted activation servers or by telephone

  • A combination of KMS and MAK.

For more information about Office Activation Technologies, see Plan volume activation of Office 2010, Volume activation overview for Office 2010, and Volume activation quick start guide for Office 2010.

Office 2010 64-bit (x64) editions

Processors that are 64-bit are quickly becoming the standard for systems ranging from servers to desktop computers. The 64-bit systems can use more virtual and physical memory than can 32-bit processors. This lets users work with much larger data sets than they could previously to analyze and solve large computational problems. Office 2010 introduces native 64-bit (x64) versions of Office products to take advantage of the additional capacity provided by 64-bit processors. This additional capacity is needed only by Office users who require Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that are larger than 2 GB, for example. The 32-bit version of Office 2010 provides the same functionality and is also compatible with 32-bit add-ins. This is why Office 2010 installs the 32-bit version by default.

For information about the supported operating systems, supported scenarios, setup process, and deployment considerations for 64-bit Office 2010, see 64-bit editions of Office 2010.

Office Customization Tool changes

The Office Customization Tool (OCT) is the main customization tool that administrators use to customize an installation of Microsoft Office 2010 (and the 2007 Microsoft Office system). The OCT is part of the Setup program and is the recommended tool for most customizations, and is available only with volume licensed versions of Office 2010, such as Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010. To determine whether an Office 2010 installation is a volume licensed version, check the Office 2010 installation disk to see whether it contains a folder named Admin. If the Admin folder exists, the disk is a volume license edition; otherwise, the disk is a retail edition.

You run the OCT by typing setup.exe /admin at the command line from the root of the network installation point that contains the Office 2010 source files; for example, \\server\share\Office14\setup.exe /admin.

For more information about the OCT, see Office Customization Tool in Office 2010.

The Office 2010 release provides the following new features:

  • Two architecture-specific versions of the OCT, one for 32-bit Office 2010 and one for 64-bit Office 2010. The 64-bit version of the OCT supports 64-bit client editions of Office 2010, and provides the same user interface, capabilities, and OPA settings as the 32-bit version. The OCT files are located in the Admin folder under the x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) folders, respectively.

    For information about 64-bit Office 2010, see 64-bit editions of Office 2010.

  • Import feature that lets administrators import 32-bit OCT customization (.msp) updates into the 64-bit version of the OCT and 64-bit .msp updates into the 32-bit version of the OCT. This allows administrators of mixed environments (32-bit and 64-bit) to do the Setup customizations one time. For more information, see Import an Office 2010 Setup customization file.

  • Support for adding multiple Microsoft Outlook e-mail accounts.

Office Web Apps

Microsoft Office Web Apps are online companions to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. They enable people to view, share, and work on documents together with other online users, working across personal computers, mobile telephones, and the web. Business customers who are licensed for Microsoft Office 2010 through a Volume Licensing program can run Office Web Apps on-premises on a server that runs Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Office Web Apps are also available to consumers through Windows Live

For more information about Office Web Apps, see the Office Web Apps page (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=198026).

Security changes

Several new security controls in Office 2010 make it easier for IT professionals to build a robust defense against threats without diminishing information worker productivity. Five of the new controls provide countermeasures for hardening and reducing the attack surface and mitigating exploits. These include the following:

  • Data Execution Prevention (DEP) support for Office applications   A hardware and software technology that helps harden the attack surface by preventing the execution of viruses and worms that exploit buffer overflow vulnerabilities.

  • Office file validation   An Office software component that helps reduce the attack surface by scanning files for file format (file fuzzing) exploits before the files are opened by an application.

  • Expanded file block settings   A suite of Group Policy settings that helps reduce the attack surface by providing more specific control over the kinds of files an application can access.

  • Office ActiveX kill bit   An Office feature that administrators can use to prevent specific ActiveX controls from running within Office applications.

  • Protected view   A sandbox environment that helps mitigate attacks by enabling users to preview untrusted or potentially harmful files in a secure viewer.

In addition to these new controls, Office 2010 provides several security enhancements that further harden the attack surface by helping to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data. This includes the following:

  • Cryptographic agility for Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, and Microsoft Word 2010.

  • Trusted time stamping support for digital signatures.

  • Domain-based password complexity checking and enforcement.

  • Encryption strengthening enhancements.

  • Improvements to the password to modify feature.

  • Integrity checking of encrypted files.

Office 2010 also provides several security improvements that have a direct effect on information worker productivity. Improvements in the message bar user interface, a trust model that remembers users’ trust decisions, Trust Center user interface settings, and single identity management are some examples of new features that help make security decisions and actions less intrusive to information workers. In addition, many of the new and enhanced security controls can be managed through Group Policy settings. This makes it easier for you to enforce and maintain your organization’s security architecture.

For more information about security for Office 2010, see Security overview for Office 2010 and Plan security for Office 2010.

SharePoint Workspace 2010

Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010 is a client application that provides easy synchronization of online and offline contributions with SharePoint libraries and lists. By using an Internet connection and Write permission to a SharePoint site, SharePoint Workspace users can create personal site workspaces on their computers. These workspaces enable them to update library and list content locally and easily synchronize with the site. SharePoint Workspace also offers peer collaboration workspaces that synchronize content among invited members. SharePoint Workspace 2010 supports multiple workspace choices and is more tightly integrated with SharePoint processes than its predecessor, Office Groove 2007.

For more information about SharePoint Workspace 2010, see SharePoint Workspace 2010 overview.

Silverlight interactive guides

Microsoft Silverlight powers the interactive guides that are available with Office 2010. These interactive guides provide simulated menus from previous versions of Office. When users click commands on these menus, the guides show them where the same commands are located on the ribbon or in the Backstage view of Office 2010. We recommend that you deploy Silverlight with Office 2010 if your organization wants to use the interactive guides.

For more information about Silverlight Interactive Guides, see the following resources:

User interface changes

Office 2010 builds on the foundation that was established in the 2007 Microsoft Office system by including the ribbon in all Office applications and by adding a new companion feature to the Ribbon, the Microsoft Office Backstage view.

The Office Fluent UI is optimized for efficiency and discoverability through the layout of commands that are organized into tabs that group related commands together. Both the ribbon and the new Backstage view can be customized by using the Ribbon extensibility model known as RibbonX,

For more information about the Office 2010 user interface, see the following resources:

Additional resources

To learn about application-specific changes, application compatibility in Office 2010, and tools for preparing to migrate to Office 2010, see the following resources:

For information about architecture changes that were introduced in the 2007 Microsoft Office system for administrators who might not be familiar with that version of the product, see Setup changes introduced in the 2007 Office system.