Today I am working on an article that I need to submit for my next column, “Belltones,” which appears in Information Today’s journal, Multimedia&Internet@School. By the way, I am not just self promoting when I recommend this journal. The articles and columns in it never fail to disappoint me. They are always useful and enlightening and I feel honored to be included as a columnist. Anyway, I am using the increasingly ubiquitous Microsoft Office/Word, 2007. I am still getting to know Office 2007, and have to say that the adjustment is taking longer for me than did previous Office updates. Right now I want to do a word count. In the good old days I just clicked on Tools and found my option. NOW I have to click through the various options in the “ribbon” menu, and then find the tool. I am mildly irritated to have this additional step forced upon me. But here is what is worse. I don’t use word count all the time, and thus I am not sure where to find it. I am going to set my timer on my beloved new iPhone and see how long it takes me to find word count. Here goes….Oops first I have to find the phone…off for that! OK after I found my phone I started up my timer, one of the features I really like on my iPhone. Then I started looking across the top of the page at tool bars, seeking Word Count, my old friend. I tried Home…not there. Next I tried View…nope. Finally I went to Help, which by the way is a little bitty question mark in a circle up top and to the right. When I searched Help for Word Count, I learned something that did, I admit, make me feel a little stupid. WORD COUNT IS THERE ALL THE TIME!!! If you just look down to the bottom, left hand corner, you see word count busily keeping up with you as you type. But I did not know to look down there…I was used to looking up top, and old habits die hard. How much time did it take to “discover” what was hidden in plain view? The process cost me 3 minutes and 43 seconds of my life. What’s more, I NOW remember that I went through this same process a couple of months ago, and then forgot. As I said, old habits…and on top of everything else, the experience left me feeling like a doof, not something I need from my software.
But this is the thing about Office 07. The changes are many, and not always intuitive, in my opinion. I realize that the other side of the coin is many added features. But at what cost? Lots of people will never use these nifty bells and whistles! But they are going to have to acclimate to the new office suite, because it is likely to be foisted upon them at work or with newly purchased computers. So I ask…is Office 07 a good or bad thing? Wonder what other people think?