So you started downloading Office 2007 Beta 2 yesterday but it hasn’t finished yet. Or you had an error during the download or installing the build. Or maybe you’re not quite ready to take the leap and install beta software yet.

No problem! There are a lot of new resources available to give you a sense of what’s possible with the new user interface. Most of these are useful whether you’re installing the beta or not.

Here are six of my favorite Beta 2 resources:

Office User Interface Video Tour: This is a live action movie in which Julie Larson-Green and I give you a quick tour of the UI and some of the thinking that went into it. The build we were using for the video is a lot older than Beta 2, so you might notice some rough spots. Nonetheless, a number of people have said that they found it worthwhile.

Office User Interface Live Demo: This brand new Flash-based demo walks you through the UI and gives you a chance to play with it (including clicking through tabs, giving Live Preview a whirl, etc.) This is probably the best way to get a sense of exactly what the Beta 2 UI looks like and how it works.

Office Compatibility Pack Beta 2: Here’s where you can download the compatibility pack to allow Office XP and 2003 to read and write the new Office 2007 file formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.) Of course, you can also save documents in the 97/2000/XP/2003 file formats directly from Office 2007 as well.

Office 2007 Learning Portal: Here you can see some of the many resources available to get you up-to-speed on Office 2007. There are free e-learning online courses you can take (including Introduction to the New Office User Interface.) You can also access free book content and sign up for classroom learning near you.

MSDN Office Developer Center: All of the information to learn about the new developer opportunities built on top of Office 2007 are brought together in this great portal.

MSDN Ribbon Developer Portal: This is an entire developer portal devoted to customizing and extending the new user interface through RibbonX. I’m so excited that this one finally exists!

Getting the 2007 Office System Beta

If you didn’t catch my post yesterday, the news is this: Beta 2 of the 2007 Office system is available for free and immediate download from the Office Preview site at I hope you’ll give it a try!

My apologies to everyone who had download trouble yesterday. The team was surprised and overwhelmed by the interest in downloading Office and they’re hard at work increasing capacity. (I know they doubled it just between yesterday morning and yesterday evening.)

This is the first time we’ve offered a beta of Office for download outside of the private beta test, and so I think none of us knew precisely how much interest to expect. If your download didn’t complete, please try again today or in a few days.

Once you’ve got the build installed, you can start discussing it in the Office Discussion Groups.