Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Office 2007: Getting the Hang of It

In mid-May, I decided to switch to Office 2007, fearing that I would eventually start receiving docs in the new formats and then be forced to migrate. The expected flow of docs has not materialized (except from a few contacts at Microsoft); however, I have persevered with Office 2007.

I mostly use three apps: Word (lots), Outlook (some, as I don't use it for email), and Excel (somewhat less). So, I know Word 2007 fairly well. Initially, I hated it and turned off the new silly ribbon. After heavily customizing the icon bar with the features I use most, I began finding the ribbon more useful, and now I leave it on all the time. In addition, my fingers are finding their way around the commands quickly. As time passes, my appreciation of Word 2007 deepens. There are many neat features in the user experience that are difficult to describe without doing a screencast. Suffice it to say that the new interface does eventually make you more productive and your documents more elegant. (I don't use the collaboration features very much, I should note.)

I'm going to stay with Word 2007, which I didn't expect--two weeks ago I was still cursing myself for migrating. Now that I am more productive and enjoying Word 2007, I can honestly ask myself: Would I recommend the upgrade to someone with similar needs? Probably not. The new features are certainly nice to have, but they're not compelling enough be the sole reason for migrating. Meaning that if for some reason, I were forced to switch back to Word 2003, I would manage fine-- but I would have to adjust to the absence of convenience features.

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