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Office 2007 Delayed Again

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the clippy's-triumphant-return dept.

211

Tyler Too writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft Office 2007 has been delayed again, this time into early 2007. 'Based on internal testing and the beta 2 feedback around product performance, we are revising our development schedule to deliver the 2007 system release by the end of year 2006, with broad general availability in early 2007.' Tough bit of timing after this week's online preview of Office 2007."

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211 comments

cue the obligatory joke: (5, Funny)

MrSquirrel (976630) | about 8 years ago | (#15632024)

Maybe it should be called Office 2008?

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15632044)

nah, nothing wrong with Office 2007 coming out in 2007....how old will clippy be by the way?

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (3, Insightful)

PB_TPU_40 (135365) | about 8 years ago | (#15632078)

Actually they should change from the year labels, that is so Windows 95. This naming scheme is also leaving them open for these jokes when they push back shipping dates.
Maybe they should just call it "Office V10", fewer crashes, with twice the big brother. Look here [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] if you're unsure what I mean.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (4, Interesting)

ePhil_One (634771) | about 8 years ago | (#15632278)

Maybe they should just call it "Office V10",


Except Office 2003 is Office v11, take a look in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11, the standard install path. Just like Windows XP is NT 5.1, and Server 2003 is NT 5.2. Marketing calls it what they want, the engineers keep things sane.

So Maybe by late next year I will be running Office v12 on NT 6.0 (or will it be 5.3? Who has the Vista beta installed?)

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (5, Informative)

Zarel (900479) | about 8 years ago | (#15632400)

NT 6.0 (or will it be 5.3? Who has the Vista beta installed?)
It's NT 6.0.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 8 years ago | (#15632946)

See, I knew that .NT was being used somewhere in the Windows codebase...

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (1)

PB_TPU_40 (135365) | about 8 years ago | (#15632465)

Hey for pulling a number from my ass, at least I was some what close. Sorry, I dont run Office on my linux box much.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (3, Informative)

Drishmung (458368) | about 8 years ago | (#15632279)

But "Chicago", which was to be named "Windows 4.0", was so late and had slipped so many times, that it was renamed "Windows 95" to force a 'drop-dead' ship date and encourage the troops.

As Samuel Johnson said: "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15633055)

That's why they dropped numbers in favour of 2 to 5 letter words! They do not need to rename it between announcement and release.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (0, Redundant)

treeves (963993) | about 8 years ago | (#15632085)

Or maybe they should quit putting a year in the name altogether: just call it Office: Vista, or Office 12.0 (too common?), or whatever. . .

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (4, Insightful)

saridder (103936) | about 8 years ago | (#15632249)

Psychologically speaking, calling it Office (next version such as 2007) just sounds like an upgrade, and upgrades are tough ways to get companies to shell out money as MS has seen first hand. From a marketing perspective, Office Simple or Office Vista sounds like something new and might get companies to buy.

If it were me, I'd call it Office Live or something else to promote its collaborative features. In fact I'd call it anything but Office (next version) to try and break out of the upgrade cycle. I'd probably do studies and conduct research and find the optimal work that most consumers and business favorably responded to. Didn't they just hire some Walmart and Proctor & Gamble execs?

(of course, they could always be "old fashioned" and add some ground-breaking innovative features and functionality that create a new market so they wouldn't have to rely on marketing tricks).

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#15632732)

(of course, they could always be "old fashioned" and add some ground-breaking innovative features and functionality that create a new market so they wouldn't have to rely on marketing tricks).

Such as? Innovation is hard, that's why so few companies do it very much. What ground-breaking innovative features and functionality would you add to Office?

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (1)

Sam Ritchie (842532) | about 8 years ago | (#15633099)

...and upgrades are tough ways to get companies to shell out money as MS has seen first hand.
Microsoft have this covered - it's called 'Software Assurance'. Basically they get people to pay for the (potential) upgrade before it even exists, so they don't have to do a hard sell on minor feature improvements.

Personally, I can't stand this approach. The only advantage to Microsoft over 'olden day' upgrade pricing (besides having the money sooner) is being able to sell upgrades that people wouldn't have otherwise paid for had they known in advance the (lack of) useful features. If Microsoft aren't confident it will be worth upgrading, why should we believe otherwise?

Of course, that also ignores the possibility Microsoft miss their ship date and your SA expires before the new software's released - then you've just paid for nothing... sorry, 'support'.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15633131)

(of course, they could always be "old fashioned" and add some ground-breaking innovative features and functionality that create a new market so they wouldn't have to rely on marketing tricks).

From what I've been hearing, they've actually done just that with the UI. It's pretty shocking! Not that it would do me any good until (and if) they come out with a PPC Mac port or when I move to an Intel Mac.

Of course, if Vista is anything to go buy, they're delaying Office 2007 so they can remove these new features and give us the same old same old.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (0, Redundant)

treeves (963993) | about 8 years ago | (#15632809)

-1, Redundant?
Hey guys, cut me some slack.
My post has the same timestamp as the other guy with the same idea (2:58) and he didn't get modded down.
Shucks.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (5, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | about 8 years ago | (#15632507)

Or Office Forever?

That would save them from ever having to ship it.

Re:cue the obligatory joke: (1)

shajed askor (985950) | about 8 years ago | (#15633047)

lol :)

Gone are the days? (1)

celardore (844933) | about 8 years ago | (#15632040)

Are we no longer going to be offered software that is "Product 20xx" before the year 20xx actually happens?!?!

Re:Gone are the days? (5, Funny)

richdun (672214) | about 8 years ago | (#15632356)

Don't worry, Battlefield 2042 will be out on time, so all hope is not lost for year names.

Re:Gone are the days? (1)

Cesa (972909) | about 8 years ago | (#15632859)

Yeah but oh the pain of waiting for Battlefield 1942.

Time to upgrade? (5, Insightful)

AsmCoder8088 (745645) | about 8 years ago | (#15632048)

I'm still using Office '97!

Re:Time to upgrade? (1)

aymanh (892834) | about 8 years ago | (#15632152)

And I'm using OpenOffice 2.0, I'm a casual office suite user, but it has the functionality and compatibility I need, and it's free and actively developed.

The latest version of MS Office may have some advanced features, but for the majority of users, OO.o is sufficient I think.

Re:Time to upgrade? (1)

HermanAB (661181) | about 8 years ago | (#15632161)

No need to upgrade - it still works just as well as it did in 1997 - and yeah, I use it too...

Re:Time to upgrade? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632171)

And in 91 more years you will be right back in style...

Probably... (2, Informative)

darthservo (942083) | about 8 years ago | (#15632252)

As the guy above [slashdot.org] kind of eluded to, Open Office 2.0 (just released 2.0.3 today) is pretty sufficient and that would be worth upgrading to.

Office 97 was a piece of junk, and 2000 didn't offer much more. 2002 was where they started getting things right, and 2003 had some nice features. I've personally been using the 2007 beta where there's some nifty stuff that I could see some business use for (though they're pushing Sharepoint like a crack dealer).

So, IMO, if you don't have documents that are very heavily formatted (which judging by the fact that you're still using 97, I don't think so), and money is an issue, move yourself out of MS 97 and go with OO.O 2.

Re:Time to upgrade? (1)

Brobock (226116) | about 8 years ago | (#15632307)

I'm still using Office '97!

You know what we call people like you? "That Guy"

Re:Time to upgrade? (1)

addaon (41825) | about 8 years ago | (#15632344)

Word 5.1 for Macintosh FTW!

Re:Time to upgrade? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15632390)

Yeah, Office 97 was the last release that actually offered more functionality than added bloat. It does have problems, though. If you have it on your secondary display, pop-up menus still appear on the first one...

Re:Time to upgrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632915)

Yeah, well, I still use EDIT.COM for MSDOS 6.22 for all my text-editing needs!

Office 97 vs Office 2007 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632051)

So what exactly are the improvements over the last ten years.

Re:Office 97 vs Office 2007 (1)

HermanAB (661181) | about 8 years ago | (#15632243)

Apart from the exciting new bugs? Uhm, well, uhhh... lemme see now... I'm sure there is something... Oh, yeah! You can turn clippy off in the newer versions of Office without having to hack the system. That alone is worth the upgrade.

Re:Office 97 vs Office 2007 (1)

SJasperson (811166) | about 8 years ago | (#15632500)

Blog posting. Don't forget posting to blogs directly from Word 2007. All the Microsoft bloggers have been wetting their pants over that one.

Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632052)

Who cares? I mean what features could they add? I'd be excited if Office 2007 was a strip down. Obviously, it is going to be bloated with useless junk. By the way, Word 5 for the Mac was the best product Microsoft ever built.

Re:Blah (2, Informative)

gathas (588371) | about 8 years ago | (#15633086)

I second the praise for Word 5 for Mac. Fast, straightforward UI. 6 was just awful and slow.

Lost sales (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632056)

Dang, they're going to miss the 2006 holiday season. Now what should I ask for for Christmas???

Re:Lost sales (2)

jrmcferren (935335) | about 8 years ago | (#15632122)

You should ask a friend with a cable modem for a copy of the beta version.

Beta Version - XP Only (1)

wintermute1974 (596184) | about 8 years ago | (#15632858)

The beta version only installs on Windows XP.

Now armed with this knowledge, people running older versions of Windows can save their bandwidth for other things.

pass the shovel (2, Insightful)

whysanity (231556) | about 8 years ago | (#15632057)

microsoft is just digging thier hole deeper and deeper. of course, the incentive to upgrade to office is typically called into question with each iteration; but after the vista delay media frenzy, this is probably not exactly what microsoft wanted.

Office Forever! (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#15632058)

The release date of this office suite is "When it's done".

Anything else, and we mean anything else is someone's speculation. There is no date. We don't know any date. If you have a friend who claims they have "inside info", or there's some office suite news site, or some computer store at the mall who claims they know - they do not. They are making it up. There is no date. Period.

And yes, we know the office suite has taken a long time. There's no possible joke you could make about the office suite's development time that we haven't already heard. :)

Except the one about us having bought out 3D Realms [3drealms.com] to redo the UI in Aero so it'll look cool under Vista, which is why their other project's a bit late, too.

When It's Done (0, Redundant)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 8 years ago | (#15632645)

>The release date of this office suite is "When it's done".

The problem with this is that "When it's done" will still include a truly awsome number of bugs.

Re:When It's Done (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 8 years ago | (#15633005)

Yeah, and it's a damn good thing that the alternatives (OpenOffice.org and Corel Office) don't have any bugs. Er, right.

this is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632064)

The postponement notice came within a week of the Vista bombshell about a month ago. It doesn't make a lot of sense to start marketing the new Office before Vista comes out.

Well at least.. (1)

Frightening (976489) | about 8 years ago | (#15632068)

it won't come much later than Vista.

*evil grin*

Re:Well at least.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632124)

At this rate, if Microsoft is going to continue to license famous songs for their startup music, they should look at "Fly Like an Eagle"... time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future ;)

Re:Well at least.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632273)

How about Nine Inch Nails - Something I Can Never Have.

In other news... (5, Informative)

gasmonso (929871) | about 8 years ago | (#15632097)

Open Office 2.0.3 was released today for the low low cost of NOTHING :)

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:In other news... (5, Funny)

alfrin (858861) | about 8 years ago | (#15632310)

You are obviously missing a very important detail:

Open Office 2.0.3
Office 2007

Seriously people, thats centuries outdated.

Re:In other news... (2, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 8 years ago | (#15632371)

Open Office 2.0.3 was released today for the low low cost of NOTHING :)

And it sucks just as much as the previous version, so you won't miss anything by upgrading! ;P

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632422)

Yup, and you get what you pay for. It still sucks.

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632510)

I just tried Open Office for the first time and I found it to run much much better than the Office POS I use at work. It seemed to be much more intuitive than Office. With Office I always have trouble doing anything more complicated than typing. The last time I was so satisfied with a word processor was with WordPerfect 5 (Dos) or WP 6 for winders.

p.s. I am a programmer, so maybe they are building Office for normal people and I just don't know how to be normal.

Re:In other news... (1)

jc87 (882219) | about 8 years ago | (#15632704)

Dont forget Gnumeric and Abiword , great lightweighted office apps, because of them OOO is now dead for me ;)

Re:In other news... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 8 years ago | (#15633030)

I had the toughest time installing OOo 2.0.3 today. If you're upgrading from 2.0.x, be prepared for a rough ride if you deleted the "OpenOffice 2.0 Installation Files" folder since you last installed it. OOo's installer is horribly complex and broken... specifically the UNINSTALLER.

Ok so I go to install 2.0.3. I launch the meta installer, which is coded in NSIS, which makes excellent uninstallers (but OOo doesn't use that functionality). So the meta installer installs the installer just fine, and sticks it on the desktop where it creates a useless folder icon that irks me.

Then the actual InstallShield installer launches, and I set my options for install and hit install. Then it tells me the MSI file... you know, the one that's CURRENTLY BEING INSTALLED FROM... isn't a real MSI file. I eventually figure out this is the uninstaller for 2.0.2 complaining that the MSI file, which it expects to be from 2.0.2 because it was on my desktop when I installed 2.0.2, is actually 2.0.3. I have to hit cancel on the "Browse for MSI file" dialog. Then the 2.0.3 installer complains it couldn't uninstall 2.0.2 and aborts.

SO WRITE OVER IT, it's a 0.0.1 upgrade, I write over older installs of stuff all the time, ignoring warning dialogs, and stuff works fine. And if it doesn't I wipe the file folder and install again, and that time it works fine.

But of course the installer insists, so I go and uninstall OOo 2.0.2. Except I get the SAME ERROR and the UNINSTALLER FAILS. How can an UNINSTALLER FAIL.

Here is a good time to refer to my previous statement of how well NSIS makes uninstallers for you, and how the OOo team failed to utilize that.

So then I go to rip out my old install by hand. I delete the uninstall key (that puts the entry in Add/Remove Programs) and I delete the HKLM\Software\OpenOffice.org key (where I imagined, wrongly, that all the OpenOffice.org info was stored in). The 2.0.3 installer loses track of WHERE my installation of 2.0.2 is, but it still knows that I have one, and tries (and fails) to uninstall it. Then I go and delete my OOo program files. The installer STILL refuses to work.

At this point, I had a system where OOo was not installed, and where OOo would refuse to install! Basically, an OOo-proof system where MS Office would be king! The average user would be helpless!

Fortunately, I am not the average user. Back into regedit, and I rip out every reference to OpenOffice I can find. FINALLY the installer works, and at the end of the installation... I delete the installer files. I'm not letting Sun push me around any more than Microsoft. OOo works fine without them (actually, I think 2.0.1 or 2.0.0 needed the installer files even after the install finished, the first time it launched, so I might need to download and install the meta-installer to install the installer again. Oh well.)

For those of you who scrolled down just to get my main point: The OOo devs NEED to scrap their existing installer and just code it in pure NSIS. It would improve it immensely.

And for the record, I love OOo, I have Office 2k7 beta on here as well and I'll probably still use OOo for all my papers and such.

Office 2007 to be shipped in 2007? (4, Funny)

Nybble's Byte (321886) | about 8 years ago | (#15632101)

Imagine that. But maybe MS needs to hedge their bets in the future, like Windows Whenever or Windows WTF.

Where are they when in need? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632114)

Someone bring me a couple of script-writers so I can make a joke about DNF, NOW

woo... (1)

User 956 (568564) | about 8 years ago | (#15632137)

So which part of this writeup did Ars Technica plagiarize from someone else [ipdemocracy.com] ?

I tried it... (4, Insightful)

citizenklaw (767566) | about 8 years ago | (#15632177)

I tried the beta this week. I went in with an open mind, actually I was quite eager to try the 'ribbon' thingy. My hopes where dashed by the shameful M$ data mining effort before accesing the demo.

I don't like it. Maybe is the learning curve, but doing basic stuff in Word (changing font size, for instance) was troublesome. The terminal environment didn't work either. And Outlook? Piece of crap. I for one will stay on my current version of OpenOffice, thank you.

Re:I tried it... (5, Insightful)

SA3Steve (323565) | about 8 years ago | (#15632223)

The 'data mining' effort? Do you mean where they are trying to get feedback on the program? It is a BETA release...where I would think the main idea is to get feedback.

What was troublesome about the font changing mechanism? What didn't work about the terminal environment? What could be done to improve Outlook? Feedback is always welcome I would assume, but there isn't much that Microsoft can do without feedback explaining what you felt was wrong and how you feel it could be made better.

Re:I tried it... (1)

citizenklaw (767566) | about 8 years ago | (#15632267)

Well the information I wrote on four or five screens before going into the beta was my position, number of employees, that sort of croc. I haven't yet received a notification via email of where to input any feedback from my experience using the beta. Come to think of it it wasn't present or evident to me at least.

Also I used my hotmail account which I use primarily for that kind of stuff (you know, free mags, pr0n.). And I haven't checked that in a while. Maybe the feedback form is sitting there waiting for me.

On the font thing maybe it was my emulator, but it's just the whole ribbon thing. You select the font and the ribbon changes in three or four places at the same time. It (IMHO) *asumes* you're going to do something with the selected text and it changes accordingly. Honestly I don't want any piece of software waiting in the wings for me to do something. It makes me nervous. On Outlook I got an error message, but then the emulator crashed on me. I didn't try again.

Re:I tried it... (1)

DuckWizard (744428) | about 8 years ago | (#15632317)

Your Emulator?

Hold the phone. You can't go dissing a product because you don't like the way it works on a platform for which it's not intended. Not that I'm saying the product is great - haven't tried it - but you should at least try it on its own platform so you know it's behaving correctly before you bash its interface.

That would be like me saying *insert linux software here* stinks because it acts strangely under Cygwin.

Re:I tried it... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 years ago | (#15632513)

His primary concern was how the ribbon worked. He stated that the other problems may bave been his emulator,

Re:I tried it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632520)

His primary concern was how the ribbon worked.

Maybe the ribbon didn't work right because of his emulator?

Idiot.

Re:I tried it... (1)

citizenklaw (767566) | about 8 years ago | (#15632803)

Thank you, I've been called worse.

Sorry for my use of words here, English is not my primary. What I meant to say was that when trying out the Office beta it runs on some Citrix/Cisco Terminal thingy. I'm speculating that this combined with the fact that I'm using a corporate laptop (i.e.: heavily locked down) hindered my experience. A couple of weeks ago I downloaded IE7 Beta and it kept crashing. I downloaded it two days ago and it seems to work well.

Does that clarify the doubts of the present? I'll try the software again, certainly. Maybe my first impression wasn't the best.

Re:I tried it... (1)

zenpiglet (708412) | about 8 years ago | (#15632313)

I tried both Office 2007 and Vista betas this week and thought they were both excellent - much better than I feared they would be.

Admittedly both require a some element of re-learning, but as a tech-oriented person I quite like to play around with things and see how they work. I am sure plenty of people here would happily spend hours struggling with the latest OSS release to make it work, but when some effort is required in an MS product it's automatically bad.

The ribbon idea in Office is actually very easy to use once you get used to a slightly different way of thinking - changing fonts is trivial, it is one of the default options right there on the ribbon. And I was also very impressed with the "diagnostics" in Vista - when I had some trouble setting up the wireless connection I hit the "diagnose" button and the answer it gave was spot on.

I think after all the bad press your average user is going to be pleasantly surprised when they finally have a look at these products.

I tried to try it, and all I got... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 8 years ago | (#15632978)

...was this lousy video demo.

I even went through all the info-gathering rubbish first, and downloaded their ActiveX control. And then when I actually tried to start the interactive "test drive" thing, I got an error message popping up (apparently within their application) saying it had gone wrong, and a blank screen. I hope that's not the demo of what Office 2007 is actually going to do! :-/

I did watch the streaming video demo of the new UI though, and I have to say that it pretty much plays out my worst fears since the first previews appeared. A lot of the stuff they pitch as being "great" and "amazing" and "beautiful" doesn't look all that hot to me.

For a start, there is going to be a significant amount of retraining required for the UI. Things have moved, big time, and by the looks of it we're stuck with context-sensitive everything. (I'm guessing I'm not the only Office user here who disables the "smart" menus that hide items as one of the first things they do on a new install?) Just having a significantly rearranged UI is going to put a lot of people off, regardless of any merit the actual layout has.

But what's worse is all the missed opportunities. Everything and its brother now comes with "live updates", e.g., as you move your mouse over the font combo box, the document text in the background switches to the font you select in "real time". Sounds handy, but I can see it getting old real quick, given the lag time for the visual updates evident in the demo.

There are also loads of "galleries", where you can select a particular setting for everything from table formats to the position of an imported picture on the page, based on effectively a pane of thumbnail previews of the options. The thing is, Word's default templates have always sucked big time from a design and typography perspective, and all the examples they used in the video demo were a million times worse. Do I really want a lime green, 3D-shaded border around my text box, if I'm producing a document for print? Probably not. I won't even mention the Powerpoint demo, where our host takes a perfectly readable six-item bullet list, and with a wave of his magic mouse turns the list into several different graphics... all of which were completely unreadable by comparison (but the colours were pretty). Oh, sorry, I did mention it. Never mind.

What was conspicuously missing from the video was any information about how customisable this all is (or isn't). While the example footer style they add with "just one click" isn't offensive in isolation, it's completely unrelated to the rest of the document formatting, and unlikely to be much use to anyone as it stands. There's no concept mentioned of an overall document template with consistent styles across all these different settings. And all of the demonstrations about text formatting still focus on manually clicking random formatting icons, just like people do with a toolbar now. You'd think they could take the opportunity to catch up with the semantics-based formatting that everything from LaTeX to HTML has been working towards for decades.

There are a load of minor things as well, but personally as a "power user", I found pretty much all of their "improvements" sounded like things that were more limited and awkward to work with than the status quo. Of course you have to use something for real for a while to be sure how much things will really help or get in the way, but after a couple of decades, I'm a pretty reliable judge ahead of time, and things are not looking good.

Bottom line: it's not a good demo video if they want people like me to buy their product. If they were willing to bite the bullet and go for a radical UI change, they could have made a lot of the features so much better, but from the video, it looks like all we've got is yet another facelift on the same tired old feature set and underlying models. Let's hope that's just bad advertising, and not how things turn out in the finished product...

Re:I tried it... (1)

Blackforge (8018) | about 8 years ago | (#15633121)

Changing a font? Probably easier than ever before.

Three Options:

Option 1:
Select your Text
Right-click to bring up the context menu
Change your font

Option 2:
Select your text
Hover over your selected text and you'll see the Font menu pop-up transparently
Move over to the transparent pop-up and change

Option 3:
Select you text
Go to the ribbon and use the drop down to change the font. This interface allows a preview as you highlight each Font name or size. Which ever one you want just select and its changed.

Only gripe about Option 3 is that they should probably add transparency to the Font change menu in order to see some of the previews if the selected text is hidden underneath it.

Outlook problems:
I agree Outlook can be a real pig in this beta. What improved general performance was uninstalling the Windows Search 3.0 Engine Preview. I get an annoying pop-up to "install" it, but Office (and my computer) is quite a bit faster now. The Windows Search 3.0 Engine Preview is a bloated pig and can easily take up 160MB (at least!) and slows everything down. I uninstalled it and went back to Google Desktop as the plugin still works.

I wonder... (3, Interesting)

rilister (316428) | about 8 years ago | (#15632193)

... if this could be related to re-thinking that radical user-interface change that they've attached to Word. (I use a CAD program that adopted this kind of thing a few releases back and I still detest this, just like anyone with tendonitis would detest pointless extra mouse clicks.)

Beta preview is right the time that all their big corporate accounts would feedback "for the love of God, we're not retraining every person in the darn organization just to use Word. Now CHANGE IT BACK!"

MSFT sets the standard (1)

rainer_d (115765) | about 8 years ago | (#15632197)

Don't you hate it when companies ship product X with "year" as the version-number or title actually in "year - 1"?
Just like you can't really buy sandals in summer because the silly shoe-shops have already stocked the autumn-ware?

MSFT is responding to consumers and posponing the release of Office2007 until it matches the year it is shipped in.
As Windows Vista bears no release-date name, its release-date is bit arbitrary... ;-)

Re:MSFT sets the standard (2, Funny)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | about 8 years ago | (#15632253)

Works for Gentoo... but I suppose the version number is added after it's released...

Be Patient (2, Insightful)

tkarr (459657) | about 8 years ago | (#15632239)

You'll notice that they CARE about the people who use their product. People might give Office crap about how they keep pushing products back, but they only do it so you get the best product. Do you complain when Blizzard does it?
You do?
Well, you shouldn't :-P. It's worth it to wait.

Re:Be Patient (3, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 8 years ago | (#15632383)

Only company I don't complain about pushing back release dates is Valve. (Might do the same for Blizzard, but newest I have of theirs is WC3:FT, and I haven't beaten it yet)

They've shown they can justify a delay because the product is GOOD.

Microsoft has not given me the level of confidence Valve has.

Re:Be Patient (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | about 8 years ago | (#15632971)

Half-Life 2 was terrible. That extra year and they still had really bad bugs in their code. A fair amount of people could not progress because of them, myself included. The performance of HL2 was also quite terrible. A game that looks marginally better than UT2004 but runs terribly worse. Valve has shown me they only delay products because they don't actually finish them.

Re:Be Patient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632560)

You'll notice that they CARE about the people who use their product. People might give Office crap about how they keep pushing products back, but they only do it so you get the best product.

I've never heard this complaint about Office. I've only heard people giving them crap because Office (a) sucks, (b) is too expensive, or (c) requires people to upgrade just to open new-version files that their clients/bosses/friends email them.

My work PC has Office 2003. I remember using Office back in 1997 in a different employer's office. The only difference I can tell is that the new version likes to shove these "sidebars" in my face. (Copy some text? Here's an annoying sidebar!) If they made any improvements in those 6 years, I sure as heck can't name any of them.

I'm glad - its a VERY nice upgrade, but needs more (3, Interesting)

akac (571059) | about 8 years ago | (#15632247)

work....

I very much enjoy using the ribbon. I think its a huge improvement in usability. If I wasn't using it in Parallels mostly and there was a Mac version, I'd use it definitely. I always liked Entourage, but I won't use it due to Rosetta (I only use PPC apps when I have no choice - with email I have a choice).

So while I love Outlook 2007 and Word 2007, I don't enjoy the speed. Its definitely slower. So I hope they work on that more.

Say what? (1)

lannocc (568669) | about 8 years ago | (#15632358)

Parallels? Entourage? Rosetta?

Maybe it's a Mac thing, but I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Care to elaborate?

Re:Say what? (2, Informative)

jaysones (138378) | about 8 years ago | (#15632686)

It's a Mac thing. Parallels is virtualization software for running Windows natively at full speed in a window on a new Intel Mac. Entourage is Microsoft's Mac email client, bundled with Mac Office. Rosetta is the compatibility layer that allows new Intel Macs to run OS X PPC apps transparently but with a slight a speed hit.

Re:Say what? (1)

generic-man (33649) | about 8 years ago | (#15632798)

Parallels is a virtual machine for Mac OS X/Intel. It lets you boot Windows while leaving OS X running.

Entourage is the replacement for Microsoft Outlook on the Mac. It does a fraction of what Outlook does in terms of Exchange server compatibility, but it's the closest thing to Outlook/Mac since Outlook 2001 (which only runs in Classic, and Classic doesn't run on Mac OS X/Intel).

Rosetta is the layer that runs PowerPC programs on Mac OS X/Intel.

Re:I'm glad - its a VERY nice upgrade, but needs m (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632406)

The problem is that Office 2007 and the ribbon punishes power users.

If you know what you are doing under Office 95+, you can throw all your acquired knowledge out the window (not quite but close). Really what happens is that you know what you want to do, but are no longer able to actually do it. Now you have to figure out how to do what you want under some new system.

Now this isn't as bad as being an Office power user and moving to OpenOffice, where you know what you want it just isn't how OpenOffice works. Office 2007 stills works the way you think, under the hood. However, you can't open the hood and do what you want. It is like trying to drive your car using an RC car remote control. You know what you want, you just aren't allowed to touch the steering wheel or the pedals.

The other problem with the ribbon is the mouse-only nature of it. Forget mouse-centric computing, this is mouse only computing. It was bad enough that Office would change the Alt-mnemonics every release, but now they are bye-bye.

Really this is a UI change on a mature product with no real purpose but change for change sake, and assuming all users are morons. If you hit the space bar 20 times for each line to move something to the right (as opposed to setting a tab stop for those lines) this UI change is for you.

If we are lucky this will be like the MDI/SDI UI change in Office 2000 (?). Users complained ... a lot ... in Office 2003 an option appeared to select MDI or SDI. Maybe in Office 2010 we'll get an option to get our menubar back.

Typical, marketing attitude of computer users are idiots, there are no power users. When actually users tend to know more then the condescending marketing people think.

BTW, I know someone who worked marketing at my company and left for MSFT. She used to fake user surveys to reach the outcome she wanted. I have never trusted marketing surveys since then.

Listen to Jensen Harris Before Deciding (5, Interesting)

wintermute1974 (596184) | about 8 years ago | (#15632823)

The parent poster would probably change his mind if he were to watch any of the presentations made by Jensen Harris [msdn.com] , the man in charge of the new Office UI.

I am a Windows 2000/Office 97 user who does not upgrade just because Microsoft decides they need to make a few extra billions with a bump in version number and some new eye candy. I assumed (without any evidence) that the new Office would be more of the same. But then I found Jensen Harris' presentation at BayCHI last December [baychi.org] to be so interesting that now I am excited about trying the new Office UI.

Essentially, the new UI gets rid of the menu bars, button bars, side panels, clippy agents, personal menus and other cruft that slowly accumulated over the successive revisions of Microsoft Office. His argument is that a complex product needs a clear interface. And that's what the ribbon is: Everything is there, and its choices are always context sensitive.

My own personal opinion is that the new interface is pure brilliance, and it won't be long before other companies start poorly(*) imitating its task-based approach over the traditional feature-based approach.

Download the BayCHI slides and video. If you develop software, the new UI is definitely something to behold.

===
(*) The imitations will be done poorly because most other software firms do not have the huge sample of user reports automatically created in the current version of Office. The Office UI team was able to determine the frequency of commands so that even their arrangement on the ribbon will be from most-used to least.

Re:I'm glad - its a VERY nice upgrade, but needs m (1)

Mortlath (780961) | about 8 years ago | (#15632948)

I'm sure that once the product is out of beta, the suite will definitely run faster.

Anyone? (1)

yoblin (692322) | about 8 years ago | (#15632276)

Anyone else trying to hack this thing? I got visual studio to open, I think it's time to bypass that annoying proxy server...

OpenOffice (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15632285)

OpenOffice 2.0.3 got released today. :)
It is multi-platform, open source and free.
It supports the OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard which is an ISO standard.
It is compatible with Microsoft Office.

http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]

My First Experience with OpenOffice (0, Flamebait)

Neil J. Bauman (985929) | about 8 years ago | (#15632655)

I first got to know OpenOffice in a very awkward place at a very awkward time: specifically, in the Akihabara district of Tokyo at about 3:30 am. I had just finished a ridiculously long "meeting" which basically consisted of karaoke, drinking, and listening to The Greatest Hits Of The 80's volumes 1–9. Needless to say, we didn't accomplish much during normal hours that night! :-)

Anyway, it's 3:30 am. I'm stuck in Akihabara because I don't have an International Driver's License (let alone a car) and have to find a cheap place to crash for a few hours before the JR starts its morning run. I managed to find a 24-hour cybercafe open, so I went in, paid my ¥800 and found a quiet booth to stay in. As soon as I turn on the computer to check my e-mail, I see icons for both OpenOffice and Microsoft Office on the desktop. I figure, hey, maybe I can get some work done, and fire up OpenOffice.

And that's when the trouble starts.

I first tried to open up a Japanese text file (saved in Shift_JIS format). Simple task, right? WRONG! OpenOffice insists the file is in UTF-8 format. I try to override it by looking for a converter, but alas, I can only work in Unicode. Apparently Shift_JIS isn't good enough to be supported in OpenOffice. I open up the text file in Microsoft Word and it looks fine. I figure it's some sort of one-time bug, so I save the text file (making sure it's in Unicode) and close Word. I try (keyword: try) to open the file in OpenOffice, and...

I wait. And wait. And wait, and wait, and wait. I'm guessing Java isn't too good with rendering Kanji at a rate faster that 5 characters per second. I'm almost reminded of an old Telnet session made over a modem. But at least it rendered characters correctly!

After about an hour of trying to get this God-awful mess of an office suite to open and display a single text file, I give up. I close down OpenOffice and go back to trusty Microsoft Word. Later that day, over a bottle of C.C. Lemon and some habanero chips, I'm reminded why there are product delays: It's because they'd rather hammer out the bugs themselves than subject their paying customers to a shitty product. Go figure.

Long story short: If any employees suggest OpenOffice, or indeed any "quality" open-source program, I'm throwing them out on their ass. And they're not getting severance pay. And I'm filing it as them quitting so they don't get any unemployment checks. Morons don't deserve to be paid.

Re:My First Experience with OpenOffice (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 8 years ago | (#15633028)

Let me guess: You tried OpenOffice.org 1.x and it SUCKED, right? Yeah, it was a piece of shit.

OOo 2.0.x does have its issues but it's nothing like the 1.x piece of crap you tried in the distant past.

Re:My First Experience with OpenOffice (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 8 years ago | (#15633031)

Long story short: If any employees suggest OpenOffice, or indeed any "quality" open-source program, I'm throwing them out on their ass. And they're not getting severance pay. And I'm filing it as them quitting so they don't get any unemployment checks. Morons don't deserve to be paid.

Do you make a habit of announcing your intent to commit illegal acts in public forums?

You'd better pray that you never, ever have any ex-employees who read Slashdot, because you have just handed them ammunition for a massive lawsuit, as well as leaving yourself open to criminal prosecution. Have fun with that.

Oops (5, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#15632329)

They discovered Open Office could still read the new file format. Decided to tweak it that little bit further.

 

Re:Oops (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 8 years ago | (#15633118)

OOo can read .docx?

Care to post a link to instructions? 'cause OOo 2 just gave me a blank page when I tried to open a file with it.

Licensing 6.0 (4, Insightful)

nighty5 (615965) | about 8 years ago | (#15632442)

Microsoft is laughing all the way to the bank.

Not only have they locked in the vast majority of enterprise customers, they now have no pressure to deliver a product when they said they would.

This is classic Microsoft and their best.

What's in it that would make me want to buy it? (2, Interesting)

doodlebumm (915920) | about 8 years ago | (#15632498)

I mean, really! 99% of the users wouldn't use anything that isn't in Office 2000. The only reason would be for file formats (more MS proprietary, as well and XML and OD), but still 99% of the users still wouldn't ever NEED to use them. I think a new Office version is a dead horse. Somebody shoot Steve B. and Bill G.!

Re:What's in it that would make me want to buy it? (5, Funny)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 8 years ago | (#15632554)

mean, really! 99% of the users wouldn't use anything that isn't in Office 2000

Things that most users will use once they start using Word 2007:

* the new, smaller XML file format.
* Saving as XPS or PDF.
* Blogging.

For the first time in awhile, there's an office upgrade that's really worth getting.

Re:What's in it that would make me want to buy it? (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 8 years ago | (#15632939)

Anyone that wants PDF or Blogging from Word probably has that without 2007.

Re:What's in it that would make me want to buy it? (3, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 8 years ago | (#15633108)

Anyone that wants PDF or Blogging from Word probably has that without 2007.

No, not really.

PDF with Word you can get by either going through the hassle of installing a second printer subsystem, the frustration of getting a sub-par system for a modest fee, or the expense of buying a software package whose cost can equal that of Word.

Blogging -- there is no in-Word blogging for any system prior than 2007. Period. At best, you can get an ugly cut-and-paste that will either get you no benefit or just give you bloat.

And if you think that only tech-savy users want PDFs or Blogging, you've spent too much time navel gazing.

OpenOffice FTW! (1)

agentdunken (912306) | about 8 years ago | (#15632638)

OpenOffice FTW! 2x Fits my needs perfect. Been using it since 1.3 and loving it!

Re:OpenOffice FTW! (1)

tono (38883) | about 8 years ago | (#15633017)

Except for some stupid reason Open Office decided to copy MS Office on the one thing that should have been fixed years ago. Only allowing columns to IV and rows to 65536. Seriously at my job I have to create two seperate files if I need more columns than that, export them as text and then combine them into one file.. Pain in the ass, why Open Office couldn't see the need to support more columns and rows, I'd really like to know.

Re:OpenOffice FTW! (3, Informative)

PhxBlue (562201) | about 8 years ago | (#15633094)

I've heard of hitting a fly with a hammer, but this is the first time I can recall hearing of hitting a nail with a flyswatter.

Seriously, if you need spreadsheets that big, you don't need spreadsheets--you need a database.

Oh no's! (4, Funny)

jrmiller84 (927224) | about 8 years ago | (#15632724)

I don't know if I can wait that long! My spreadsheets and word documents just aren't living up to their full potentiall!

/sarcasm

is this the MS Office which is part of the OS? (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 8 years ago | (#15632747)

Sounds like there's some tight coupling with the next version of the rewritten-from-the-ground-up operating system having the best security of any OS on the market. Maybe they should stop charging extra for this and ship it with the computer and tie the pricing to the hardware so that you can't update the computer without asking permission.

or are they just having a difficult time figuring out how to read the ODF specs?

is there a train wreck coming or what.

LoB

Hasn't Microsoft ever heard of ... (0, Troll)

Skapare (16644) | about 8 years ago | (#15632801)

... rapid development? Oh wait, Bill told them to do rabid development.

Geeze (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15633059)

If you don't have anything original to say, then don't say anything at all.

I was quite impressed with the Office 2007 beta and was surpised to learn that performance was an issue. One of the features I really like is the ability to do real-time previews of different style sets, which performed quickly. The UI is also quite streamlined and its obvious Microsoft is trying something new with UI design that no other OS can attest to.

I just am amazed that when there is an article that talks about how slow Microsoft's product development is taking, people complain about how long it is taking. But when Microsoft was turning out Office and OS updates with only a year or two between them, people were complaining about how fast an unecesary it was for MS to come out with something new so quickly.

The bottom line is, people don't got anything new, or original to say about Microsoft, and it gets pretty tired. I don't know if people think they are being witty or smart when they post another "insert common misperception here" comment.

The saddest part is, how may people are using MS products every day. I mean 90% of the desktop market uses Windows, so you kind of have to wonder if Slashdot is only read and commented on by 10% of the computer market.

new ribbon on laptops (1)

quandmeme (956099) | about 8 years ago | (#15633164)

Though not a inveterate critic of Microsoft, I have remarked that they are best at canabalizing others' ideas rather than innovating. I was excited about the ribbon first because it does seem to be a cool alternative to menus but also because it represented something they believed in that wasn't just ripped off of Macs or a small startup developer. But it is so fat. I live on my laptop and smaller UI is better! I meticulously keep the toolbars minimized etc. to give the most visibility to my work product rather than the UI.

To state the obvious (to me, now that I think about it wasn't important to Microsoft) the bottom of a laptop screen is uncomfortably low--a couple inches below where one would normally place the bottom of a monitor. The screen real at the top is the most convenient for eye-level but that is the space most consumed by UI in general and the ribbon even more so. My next laptop will probably be a widescreen. In that case a ribbon will consume an even larger percentage of my screen. OpenOffice doesn't meet my firm's needs yet--though we are anxious to see how well Mozilla integrates the calendar with Thunderbird--so Microsoft, remember the laptops!
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