Microsoft began shipping Office 2010 yesterday, and I thought it might be useful to discuss the collaboration tools they offer in this latest version of Office. We’ve been using the beta of PowerPoint for a few months to be sure we are comfortable with it, since a lot of our business is printing posters from PowerPoint files.
All of the tools we’ve tried have one big assumption- that everybody is using the latest version of the program, and on the same platform. That’s usually true within a big company that standardizes on hardware and software, but it’s often not the case between academics in different institutions, not to mention the computer you have at home versus work.
For PowerPoint posters, it’s really important that a file look the same when different people open it. If you really want to get into a confusing conversation, try suggesting a change to someone who is looking at something different on his screen than you are! What we know to be true is that different versions of PowerPoint will show the same file differently, and this is especially true between the Mac and the PC. The collaboration tools that Microsoft is offering do not change this, and they act the same as if you emailed the file to your friend who opened it on their computer.
We have a completed discussion of our testing of the collaboration tools on Postersession.com.