If you live and breathe Microsoft Office and/or Outlook and OneNote (and Publisher even) when it comes to correspondence, notes, presentations, biographies, etc., for your genealogy work, and you are a Windows user (or Mac with the appropriate Windows virtualization software) and interested in where Office is going, Microsoft has made the Office 2007 Beta 2 available for public users.
You can get it (and the free license keys) here: www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/getthebeta.mspx
It’s got a radical new interface, and quite a few other things have changed. It runs okay if you are using it under a Mac setup with Parallels Desktop for Mac.
It expires on February 1st, 2007. Keep in mind, it’s highly recommended you don’t use this for “production” work, i.e., don’t install over your old Office, and don’t load and save documents you have created with older versions of Office without first backing all of them up. That said, it’s interesting to see where they are going with this – obviously they are going after more online-collaboration and business, but still, it’s interesting to look at it. Personally, it doesn’t offer me anything that I absolutely need – I’ve been using other word processors for my normal word processing, and for publishing newsletters, etc., I’ve been using Apple’s Pages, but I do like to check things out.
If you don’t want to go through with downloading it or ordering it by mail, you can read eWeek’s review of it.