Office 2007 (First Impressions)

I am still in trial mode on Office 2007 but I know I am buying this one as soon as possible. As I noted earlier, you can blog post right from Word. But there is more. The menus are now tabs and very intuitive; should I say ‘Mac like.’ If you want to do something you can just think about where a reasonable person might put it and you get to the right answer.

I think that I am in love with this upgrade. You can tell by the little love heart off to the side. But there is reason underlying my madness.

First, there are the fonts. They are smooth and very easy on the eye. This is not something one normally thinks about but once you see it, it makes it hard to look at anything else.

Second, the equation editor is wonderful. You can edit on the page and the formulae look very TeX like. I can still open my old Mathtype equations and insert them but there appears to be no automatic numbering system (so that might be an issue). So there may be a trade-off for a little while there.

Third, if you have a nice big widescreen monitor – as I do – you can now utilise that efficiently. One click gets you two pages to the screen. If you are working with multiple documents, one click gets them side by side. Very very easy with no fiddly re-sizing of windows.

Fourth, in PowerPoint, you can change the slide design using any previous PowerPoint. So you don’t have to save things as templates. You can just adopt a nice design. What is more, previewing these is a breeze.

Also on PowerPoint, the presentation view is terrific. On your laptop, you can see speaker’s notes as well the slides that have gone and are going to come. I haven’t tried animations yet to see how that works.

Finally, everything is really quick. Functions in Office that took a second to load, now take no time at all. It makes things very easy to use.

We have loaded Office up on a Mac using Parallels but it is a bit slow. Hopefully that is just one setting.

7 thoughts on “Office 2007 (First Impressions)”

  1. Joshua – Office2007 is indeed easy to use and pretty. It is one of the best pieces of software I’ve seen come out of microsoft. Unlike Vista, which is a lot of money for very little more than what XP offers (and less than Mac OSX) Office 2007 is a worthwhile upgrade.

    All the good things you mentioned are indeed true. As you know I tried it out today, and I was impressed.

    Unfortunately the deal breaker for me is that it is incompatible with previous MSoffice formats. This will make it infeasible for me to use until (a)all the places I present my work or teach at have the 2007 version of powerpoint installed, and (b) all my coauthors upgrade.

    While there is an option to save documents in an earlier format, this is not 100% guaranteed. Moreover I tried opening a document created in an earlier version of MSword, and it wouldn’t even let me edit equations (or to insert new ones). Oh it will be a hassle juggling multiple versions of documents in different formats with coauthors.

    BTW, if you do a google search you will find that not all documents created in previous versions can be opened properly using Office2007. So ironically Microsoft seems to affected by network externalities that lock customers into its own older file formats.



  2. Allow me to differ. I agree – up to a point with most of the comments made above. (Though I don’t find the documents loading faster even on a good new machine.) But I don’t find the new layout enough of an improvement to justify learning all the new stuff. Where I used to find the old commands is where they ‘intuitively’ should be (in my intuition – cause I learned them!)

    Microsoft go to all that trouble to build what I agree is very pleasant new software. If I were starting again I’d definitely wnat to do it on Office 2007 rather than 97 which I had until I was forced to upgrade quite recently.

    But then they go and spoil it all by not building a good inter-interface as it were – that is a good system for showing me (very quickly each time I need it) where the corresponding commands in the old one are in the new one. There are elaborate programs and spreadsheets to tell you. But what you need is a little system – whereby you can discover these things quickly each time you find the issue.

    The only way I can imagine that being done is for you to go into some ‘learning’ mode where the program ‘looks like’ 2003 (or if you want to get fancy – earlier versions too) and then as you go to a command you right click on it and get told where it is in 2007.

    For all I know there really IS such a feature – but the program hasn’t pointed it out to me, and I’m a ‘learning by doing’ guy. I’m not going to sit and read tutotrials unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    There are still oodles of things I don’t know how to fix. I’ve got an elaborate ‘accelerated typing system’ on my Autocorrect file in 2003 but I can’t seem to back it up into 2007. No doubt it’s doable, but MS help is so terrible I can’t figure it out.

    Viz: type “backup autocorrect’ into Word 2007 help and it doesn’t tell you. The first entry is how to use Auto-correct and the second is saving and recovering a back up copy of a document”. There should be a button on the autocorrect facility for backups and so on – but for ten years there hasn’t been.

    Having just seen that there are over 2,000 add-on utilities to Firefox I’m thinking that this kind of thing might be more doable via open source – so I might make another of my tentative forays into Open Office (something that I’m now given added incentive to do by the fact that they will be sharing an XML standard – or so I believe).


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