Saturday, November 17, 2007

Office 07...Good? Bad? Ugly? All of these???

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?


  1. I love Office 2007. I love the preset templates, especially in Word (headers, footers, etc...) and PowerPoint. To me it is much easier to use than having menu bars with words that I have to click on each one to find what I am looking for and then click over to the right to expand my selection. I love seeing the entire menu laid out in front of my eyes under each tab. It is also easier to make items, such as charts and reports, look professional with the visual formatting Office 07 offers. For people who are visual, this is definitely the product to use.

  2. Hi, Twitter pal. I have mixed feelings, but I did set up my home version of Word to look as much like Office 2003 as possible. Now I have it at my school and I constantly have to show kids how to save things as a Office 97-2003 document so they can open it at home.

    I do like, however, when you're trying out different font sizes, it magically changes into the larger or smaller size.

  3. Hi---Sorry to be the bummer, but I saw your post on the EDTECH list serve and just wanted to say....

    Office 2007 has ruined me......

    I knew how to do EVERYTHING on the old office. Table of contents... everything.

    Now whenever I try to do something I used to be able to do with ease, it almost always requires a visit to help or a google at least. Nothing is intuitive. Obviously I am very frustrated..... but I am sure I will learn it----oh say---by the time the next version comes out.

  4. From what I am hearing UIL Computer Apps will be making the switch to 2007 next year so we are going to have to not only learn it but be able to teach it. I haven't played with it at all except to find that while we do not have 2007 on computers at school, I can open a 2007 document on my MacBook using Pages. It's kind of sad to me that Microsoft's product is not backwords compatible with it's own software but IS compatible with software that is strictly Mac.

  5. One of the problems of a monopoly is when it decides to make capricious updates, you don't have a choice about it. Whether the update is good or bad, you have to use it eventually.

    However, 2.3 is available, and makes more sense for a lot of users--especially those who are price sensitive, need a reliable ISO-standard file format (as many governments begin to adopt ODF), or who need applications that are available on all the major platforms.

    The CIO of our company had been using MS Office 2007 for several months when he switched his desktop to Linux (Ubuntu) and I think this is going to be a trend we will see in the business world, so it's important for educators to be ready: the hegemony is not as strong as it was, and the responsibility to prepare students for alternatives is bigger now than it has been in 15 years.

    If you don't also have OpenOffice on your machine, you really should install it now, so that you can be comfortable with both of the major players over the next few years.

  6. I am happy that Microsoft and the Office Team had the will power to make the first dramatic shift in the Office Sutie in almost 15 years. While you may be used to and like the old menu structure it had outgrown its usefulness. I can't believe that anyone would argue the positives of multiple fly-out menus followed by multi-tabbed windows for finding controls. Yes the transition is not easy due to unlearning and re-learning. However I can say that teaching Office 2007 to non-Office users is much easier than teaching Office 2003 and earlier was. I firmly believe that once you become accustomed to it you will be more productive in 2007.

    Also for those saying stick with Open Office, just as before I would be willing to bet that Open Office will attempt to replicate much of the design and functionality of MS Office. It would be nice if Open Office just did there own thing, but so far that doesn't seem to be the plan.

  7. I have been using Office 2007 since BETA version. I think this is the best update Microsoft has produced for the Office product. It is much easier to navigate. I love the ribbon as opposed to the drop dopwn menus. This cuts down on productivity time.

    To those who say Office 2007 is not backward compatible....not true. It is backward compatible. Just make sure you do a complete install (as always) not the typical or minimum install. I was the only person in our company with Office 2007 for about a year...and no one new the difference when I sent docs to them...

    We are now migrating to Office 2007. I have assisted with other understanding the "Ribbon layout" as opposed to the old drop down menu structure...

    Try will love it.

  8. I'm learning the system slowly. I'm with you about old habits--once automaticity has set in, it's hard to break and relearn. I've also had the experience of remembering that I had already tried to relearn and had already forgotten that I "relearned."

    I do like a lot of the features. I'm trying to learn the Notes system, etc. I think I will enjoy those features when I get them down.

    It is frustrating to be under the gun with a time deadline and having to relearn the system.

    Mostly, I wonder what is going to happen when folks here and there make a switch to Linux and Open Office. How are we teachers to educate our students to be prepared to enter either world? And how about the increasing number of Mac users? (I love my MacBook.)

    We are soon going to test Linus and Open Office at work. I have offered up one of my library computer stations for this trial.

    Curiouser and curiouser....

  9. After the initial frustrations with how different Office 2007 was, I now love it! I love how it's organized. Plus I keep finding new features like the one I found the other day in Word. It will format citations for you in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian format. awesome!
    But what I really love is Microsoft Office OneNote. That is the coolest way to organize notes, links, pictures & everything else all in one program. Plus, you can password protect sections of it, if you need to. And you can send info back and forth between other programs easily. Love it!