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Office 2007

In the computing world, when it comes to office suites, there is a range of products available, but the king of the hill has and most likely always will be Microsoft Office. Conspiracy theorists will make all sorts of claims about why Office became so dominant, which is something I’ll not talk about here. Rather, Microsoft has been polishing and refining the product since the early 90’s. With the amount of feedback it gets from customers, it is able to do things other companies can only dream about.

With Office 2007, Microsoft took a very big gamble with the interface as well as default file types. The end result was a suite that polarized users, with some loving the new way of doing things, and others staunchly sticking to Office XP or 2003. Incompatible file types caused much grief initially, but the converter pack Microsoft released for free for older Office versions took care of that, provided people bothered to install it.

I personally ran Office 2003 because I knew the interface inside out and felt comfortable with it. I had the converter pack installed, so I could open 2007 documents, so I was really in a mode of no need to change. However, after I formatted my computer a while ago, I took the gamble and decided to really try Office 2007 out and see firsthand what it was like. Sooner or later I would have to end up supporting the software, so it was another reason for me to use it.

It took me a while to get used to the interface, and I must candidly admit I’m still far from up to speed on it. Initial settings annoyed me, like Word defaulting to double spaced text, but that was quickly fixed. Overall though, as I’ve begun to use the suite and get comfortable with it, I’ve begun to realise that it’s not as bad as people like to claim. Yes, the interface is a big change and may indeed require extensive re-training, but after a while it becomes easier. For absolute computer beginners it may be scary, but if trained properly I can’t see any reason why they can’t handle it.

From what I understand, Office 2010 will also have the ribbon interface, so there is no chance of going back to the “old style” of doing things. Indeed, the ribbon has even worked it’s way into some parts of Windows 7.

The more I use 2007, the more I have begun to warm up to it, and the less and less reason I see to tell people to hang onto 2003 or the even older Office XP. Forced change is usually never a good idea, but sometimes it turns out to be the correct solution. The old Office interface had not changed that much since Office 97, and it was time that Microsoft sorted out the mess of the menus and hidden features.

Overall, Office 2007 gets my vote of approval. 🙂

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