The help model in Microsoft Office 2010 for Office client applications such as Access, Excel, Outlook, and Word has remained the same as in Office 2007: when you click F1, you can choose to access help that is installed on your computer, or help available on the Office Web site.

During the Office 2010 Beta timeframe, you can access developer help only from the computer; online developer help from the Office Web site will be set up when Office 2010 RTMs. What all of this means is that when you click F1 to view help in a client application, you should make sure that Developer Reference is selected under Content from This Computer in the drop-down menu adjacent to Search.

In Outlook 2010 Beta, you may notice very slight discrepancies between the objects and members displayed in the object browser, and the objects and members described in the developer help that is installed on your computer by Outlook 2010 Beta. This is because the installed help was a snap shot of the developer help taken after the cut-off date for the Beta version of Outlook 2010. Even though there are some discrepancies, this version of the developer help is reasonably sufficient to provide what you need to know to use the new object model members in Outlook 2010 Beta.

The Office Developer Documentation team has made available even more recent versions of the developer help for Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio, and Word. You can download these developer references at Office 2010: Developer References. These versions of developer help are more recent snap shots, and similar to the developer help installed by Office 2010 Beta, you are likely to find discrepancies between the objects and members displayed in the object browser of the Beta product, and the objects and members described in the downloaded version of the help. Nonetheless, this downloadable help may still change between now and when Office 2010 RTMs. Meanwhile, if you are developing a solution to test against an Office 2010 Beta product, you can refer to the installed or downloadable help to learn about the product, and implement your solution based on the Beta product.

So how do you view the versions of help that you obtain by downloading? The help files are in the same .HxS file format that shipped with Office 2007 and Office 2010 Beta. For example, an Outlook developer help file named outlook.dev.hxs was shipped with Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 Beta. The best way to view the help file is to use the client help viewer that is part of each Office client product.

Follow these steps to use the client help viewer to view the most recent version of outlook.dev.hxs that you download:

1.       Close Outlook 2010 Beta if it is open.

2.       Search for the location of outlook.dev.hxs installed by Outlook 2010 Beta. For a computer running 32-bit Windows, typically the location is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033. For a computer running 32-bit Office on 64-bit Windows, typically the location is C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033. And, for a computer running 64-bit Office, typically the location is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033.

3.       Rename that copy of outlook.dev.hxs installed by Outlook 2010 Beta as outlook.dev.beta.hxs.

4.       Copy the version of outlook.dev.hxs that you downloaded from Office 2010: Developer References to the location you found in step 2.

5.       Start Outlook 2010 Beta.

6.       Make sure that Developer Reference under Content from This Computer is selected for your client help viewer. You can now view the help you downloaded using the client help viewer.

To view a more recent version of the developer help that you download for any of the other Office applications listed earlier, follow the same steps 1 to 6, by first closing that application, replacing the installed version of the help file by the version you downloaded, and restarting the application. Make sure that you have specified Developer Reference under Content from This Computer for the client help viewer in that application.

For Outlook 2010 Beta, other than the developer reference, you can also view new technical articles on MSDN:

·         What's New for Developers in Outlook 2010. This article provides a comprehensive list of new features in the Outlook 2010 object model. 

·         Extending the User Interface in Outlook 2010. This article describes the numerous new ways you can customize the Outlook 2010 user interface in the Office Fluent ribbons, menus, context menus, and Office Backstage view. This article includes a sample add-in as a download.

·         Programming the Outlook 2010 Solutions Module. This article elaborates on the much demanded new APIs in the object model to allow add-ins to customize the Navigation Pane under a new Solutions module. This article includes a sample add-in as a download.

·         Shutdown Changes for Outlook 2010 Beta. This article describes important shutdown changes in Outlook 2010 Beta for add-in developers and IT administrators to ensure that Outlook shuts down quickly and consistently.

·         Developing an Outlook Social Connector Provider. This article describes how to implement an Outlook Social Connector (OSC) provider that connects a third-party social or professional networking site with a user in Outlook, and allows the user to view social network data from that site without having to leave Outlook. This article includes a sample provider as a download.

The first three of these technical articles provide details and code samples in addition to related content in the Outlook 2010 Developer Reference. The last two articles currently offer the only source of documentation in their respective subject areas.