Office2007 – the jury is still out

by Lee Hopkins on August 5, 2006 · 4 comments

in miscellaneous

Was perusing Stuart Bruce‘s mighty fine blog a few minutes ago and found his post about the pricing/bundling shenanigans of Office 2007 when it eventually gets released. I totally agree with Bruce that if the prices he quotes and the product bundles are the final version, then those of us who adore OneNote are going to be penalised.

I don’t think Microsoft realises what a gem of a program they have on their hands…

Much like Catriona, one of my clients, put me onto MindManager by singing its praises (so I bought it purely on their word-of-mouth recommendation), OneNote is one of those software tools that become indispensable once you get your head around what it can do for you. It is *SOOO* much more than a hyped-up Notepad!!

However, back to Office2007 (currently at beta 2 version)…

Much as I like 2007, I am sorely tempted to return to 2003, except that OneNote is sooooo bloody good in the 2007 version that it won’t work unless the rest of the 2007 package is there (which is a bugger!). But I’m finding 2007 Outlook, Word, P’Point etc very slow to load and operate (Outlook has the odd crash/freeze).

Plus — and I may be the only person in the world to find this — the new Word ribbon bar is mind-numbingly hard to navigate around compared to the old File, Edit, Format, etc., toolbar. I find myself jumping all over the place (ergonomically), which wastes lots of time.

The other day I lost about a day’s worth of productivity on a client PowerPoint presentation because I was jumping all over the place trying to find which ribbon option had the particular tool I wanted (and it wasn’t clear at all).

I love some of the new stuff you can do in the various bits of Office2007 I use (in particular Word, P’Point, Outlook and OneNote) — and especially OneNote which just rocks with a capital ‘R’ — but hate the ribbon bar and the fact that you can’t get rid of it and bring back the old top toolbar.

I wonder how much the ‘save in 2000-2003 format’ ties up processing power. Much as I enjoyed ‘playing’ in P’Point 2007 to complete a client presentation, saving it back to 2003 format meant I lost a couple of ‘tricks’ (thankfully nothing major), but man oh man was it slow to save…

If the final/next iteration of Office2007 beta allows me to hide the ribbon bar and bring back the simple top toolbar I will be a very happy man — otherwise I’m not sure I will spend the $$ to upgrade, as 99.9% of my clients are still on Office2000 and 2003 and won’t be upgrading any time soon.

Which raises an interesting question: can I uninstall the beta and reinstall 2003 without risking losing my data? Especially Outlook data?


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  • http://www.stuartbruce.biz/ Stuart Bruce, BMA PR

    I have mixed feelings about the ribbon. In Word it works for me as stuff is intuatively usually in a logical place so it saves me time.

    PowerPoint on the other hand is absolutely terrible. What I what to do is all over the place. Like you I lost a serious amount of time in preparing a new biz pitch. What’s worse is that as PowerPoint is the type of file we are most likely to run on another computer you can’t even take advantage of the new file format as you always have to back save.

    And that will be true for several years after 2007 is released as it is still more common to find computers running 2000 versions.

  • http://www.stuartbruce.biz Stuart Bruce, BMA PR

    I have mixed feelings about the ribbon. In Word it works for me as stuff is intuatively usually in a logical place so it saves me time.

    PowerPoint on the other hand is absolutely terrible. What I what to do is all over the place. Like you I lost a serious amount of time in preparing a new biz pitch. What’s worse is that as PowerPoint is the type of file we are most likely to run on another computer you can’t even take advantage of the new file format as you always have to back save.

    And that will be true for several years after 2007 is released as it is still more common to find computers running 2000 versions.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee

    I hear that Shel also loves the Word ribbon toolbar (I’m slowly getting used to it). But I still say that if MS offer a way of getting the old top toolbar back I will be very happy.

    At least the new file format is handy for Word docs, like proposals, that I send out to clients in pdf format. Mind you, I still use Acrobat because Word’s pdf engine makes the file very bulky in comparison to Acrobat.

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee

    I hear that Shel also loves the Word ribbon toolbar (I’m slowly getting used to it). But I still say that if MS offer a way of getting the old top toolbar back I will be very happy.

    At least the new file format is handy for Word docs, like proposals, that I send out to clients in pdf format. Mind you, I still use Acrobat because Word’s pdf engine makes the file very bulky in comparison to Acrobat.

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