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Besides celebrating our first birthday this week, we've also fired up 3 new product blogs and beefed up 2 others. The Excel, Access, and Outlook team blogs have moved here from MSDN. The Word and PowerPoint MSDN blogs have moved over too, joining the Word and PowerPoint blogs we started in 2010, and our homegrown Publisher and OneNote blogs.
Now, if you want to learn how to integrate Silverlight into an Access database, create a bulleted list in Excel, or need 3 tips for finding a wayward Outlook email message fast, you can find out right here on the Office Blog.
Here's what we're doing and why, and how it affects you.
Our new Access, Excel, and Outlook blogs are existing blogs that are moving to the Office Blog from MSDN (The Microsoft Developers Network) in 2 stages:
Stage 1 is complete: The blogs are up and running here, and all of their previous posts on MSDN have come with them (for Access, Excel, Outlook, PowePoint, and Word.)
Stage 2: Soon, all of the MSDN blog post URLs and the MSDN home pages for those 5 product blogs will be automatically redirected to their new homes here on the Office Blog, like a smooth handoff in a relay race. At that point (later this month), the MSDN versions of the blogs for Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word will disappear.
Moving is seldom easy, but there are three solid reasons we decided it was worth the trouble:
1) So you'll have just one address to remember when you want the latest news and info about using Office: blogs.office.com. You can find any of our blogs from the Office Blogs list on our home page. (Plus several other Office-related blogs.)
2) To take advantage of the Office Blog's connection with Office.com. Our posts become part of the product Help provided through the massive Office.com database, so you can find them by searching from inside the applications themselves. That means the blog helps with Help.
3) To capitalize on the way we work. Each product blogs has its own content crew, made up of experts from the product group, marketing, and user assistance. The better we coordinate on this side, the more useful we can be to you.
Office.com is THE headquarters for Office help and how-to information, product information, templates, images, downloads, etc. Office.com is what you tap into whenever you open Help in any Office product. All of the how-to posts on the Microsoft Office Blog platform become part of the Office.com database.
So, say you're in PowerPoint when you decide to make some custom shapes for a presentation for your manager. You open Help and search on "custom shapes." Among the search results you see Erik Jensen's blog post: Custom Shapes made easier in PowerPoint 2010: Advice from an MVP. It in turn takes you to MVP Julie Terberg's article on the MVP Award Program blog-which you may not have known about. His post also links off to Julie's professionally designed templates for PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 on Office.com, in case you want to save yourself some effort. Handy, yes?
As you can see in this screenshot, all blog entries are labelled as such in the Office.com search results, so you're not surprised when you end up here.
Besides being able to reach blog posts through product Help, here's what the move from MSDN means as you use the Office Blog itself.
If you already subscribe to an RSS feed for the MSDN product blogs, you shouldn't need to do a thing to keep receiving updates from the blog's new home. The RSS feed will automatically transfer to the new blog. If, however, some platform gremlins act up (never happens, right?) and your RSS feed stops, you can sign up again through the Office blog RSS feature. Our apologies in advance for any quirks or glitches in the new blogs. Murphy's Law sometimes reigns, so if you see anything weird, please leave a comment to let us know.
Also, nearly every post feeds through the Office Blog home page, so you can subscribe to the Office Blog home page (blogs.office.com) to see them all.
You can leave comments at the end of any post to let us know what you're itching to find out. What would help you work more easily--creatively, quickly, or stylishly, happily (add your favorite adverb) in Outlook, Excel, or Access, or for that matter, any Office product? When the MSDN handoff is complete later this month, the product team bloggers will be among the folks reading and answering comments. With more people to pay attention, there'll be more expertise to share.
The specific product blogs aren't the only ones talking about Office products. Every product is fair game for the generalists in the Office Blog family: Crabby Office Lady, Office Casual, Office Show, Office in Education, Office Comics, Office Exec, Chris Bryant, Templates and Images, or the Microsoft Office Blog (home page) itself.
Again, if you subscribe to the Office Blog home page, you'll catch everything important.
Wish us luck as we finish this move. Between this growth spurt, CES 2011, and a full slate of upcoming news, we're starting 2011 at full speed.