I found this at Ed Bott’s blog: No more veil of secrecy over Office 12.
Josh at Windows Connected says he heard from Microsoft that it’s now OK to write about Office 12 Beta 1 client applications.
I checked in with Frank Shaw at Waggener-Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR agency, and he confirms that it’s true. Anyone on the Office 12 beta program is free to write about and publicly discuss any of the client applications in the suite. (Server components of Office 12 are still under NDA, however.)
That’s certainly good news. Excel 12 has some great new features, but it also has some serious problems. My biggest gripe is the inability to modify the user interface. In other words, no more menu modifications and no more toolbars. I’m hoping that they will do something about this problem in Beta 2, but I’m not holding my breath.
But the real problem with Office 12 is that it will require massive re-training. Even experienced users should plan on weeks or months to feel comfortable with the new UI and get up to speed. But even then, many of the things we do very efficiently today will become less efficient with Excel 12.