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Why "Upgrade" To Office 2007

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-question-asked-everywhere dept.

Microsoft 598

walterbyrd writes "IMO: Office-2007 is a contender for the least useful upgrade in the history of computing. It's expensive, has a steep learning curve, and it's default format is even less compatible with anything else. Stan Beer discusses the "upgrade" in his article: Question: why do I need to upgrade to Office 2007?."

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Don't you mean downgrade? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613398)

More bloatware != Upgrade. Mod me insightful, and you won't regret it.

MOD PARENT INSIGHTFUL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613492)

You won't regret that you did!

MOD PARENT INFORMATIVE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613524)

You'll be glad that you did!

MOD PARENT UNDERRATED (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613544)

You'll be awfully glad that you did!

MOD PARENT INTERESTING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613602)

You'll thank yourself down the road!

Re:Don't you mean downgrade? (4, Informative)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613642)

GodsDuck is trolling for karma (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613664)

Reply to the FP and get instant karma? Idiot.

Re:GodsDuck is trolling for karma (-1, Offtopic)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613728)

Ok -- so, yeah, (1) I should have AC'd to avoid that accusation, but (2) a cachelink *belongs* right up top, so you don't have to dredge through a hundred comments to find it, so many of us *like* it when people provide said link in said place and (3) thbbth. :-)

Site's down, try original link. (-1, Offtopic)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613888)

No, Slashdot programmers, nothing important was missing from my comment.

Re:Don't you mean downgrade? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613862)

You'll look back on this and say, "I'm glad I modded him insightful!"

I've already upgraded.. (0, Troll)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613408)

And if i have to explain the reasons to you, its really not worth your time is it? The fact is my business loves it, my users love it and it ties up our services and simplifies our processes so much better than 2003 that it was worth it.

So my point is, you either have a already researched features you like and will run with or you ignore everything and pretend because you don't upgrade no one else will.

Re:I've already upgraded.. (3, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613670)

So my point is, you either have a already researched features you like and will run with...

The ability to open large datasets in Excel, instead of having to use vim to figure out what the structure is. I'll be pleasantly surprised if the rest of the features aren't a step backwards, but it'll still be worth it the next time I have to figure out why SAS is choking on some huge text file.

And that's one of the features. (3, Funny)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614018)

If you go two layers deep into the "Tools" menu, you'll see that "Auto-Astroturf" is by default enabled, where it automatically monitors RSS feeds for relevant discussions and posts pro-Office messages without user intervention!

Re:I've already upgraded.. (2, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613716)

As you are the first person who claims to use the colaboration features (I assume that is what you mean by "simplifies processes") I have heard I would love to hear more about how you use it.

Funny how you are so keen on a feature that MS has been marketing heavilly and that most real users do not care about.

What exactly do you mean by "ties up our services"?

Re:I've already upgraded.. (3, Insightful)

Teckla (630646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613750)

And if i have to explain the reasons to you, its really not worth your time is it? The fact is my business loves it, my users love it and it ties up our services and simplifies our processes so much better than 2003 that it was worth it.

So my point is, you either have a already researched features you like and will run with or you ignore everything and pretend because you don't upgrade no one else will.

Let me see if I can translate that:

My business just loves the new features, but I'm not going to tell you which new features we love, and why we love them! Nyah nyah!

And you got modded +5 Insightful... Amazing...

Re:I've already upgraded.. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613804)

More like +5 elitist.

Re:I've already upgraded.. (4, Insightful)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613954)

I've been here long enough to know the reasons i upgrade aren't the same reasons anyone else would consider it.

My point is, i've explained myself MILLIONS of times to the slashdot crowd and they always point out how those features are useless, misleading or done in other products but they forget the simple fact that Software is a Solution and as long as it solves your needs, fits your budget and is easy to use & integrate then it doesn't matter what other people think.

Too many times i get drilled down for all the wrong reasons, so if you can't find whats right with something on your own then what *I* say won't make any difference to you.

Not my fault this place is stacked with ignorant users.

For a list of features:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office_2007 [wikipedia.org]

As for streamlining our business, we use Microsoft CRM and our smaller offices uses Accounting 2007 Pro and tying everything together through Office 2k7 is easy as 1-2-3. We use services in Windows 2003, Windows Longhorne Server, SharePoint, Jboss Portal, and Jahia app server to tie things together, share files and publish services/data to our clients and extranet/intranet portals.

Users love it, thats all that we needed. Upgrade was a breeze and included as part of our services.

Re:I've already upgraded.. (5, Informative)

hurting now (967633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613894)

Well, we researched the product, and while Office 2007 isn't a bad thing, its way too damn expensive. When we are looking to upgrade 125+ licenses, its going to cost us way more than any of us can justify, no matter how cool the options are. We are currently running Office 2000 and our next "upgrade" is, Open Office.

Re:I've already upgraded.. (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613902)

I've been using the betas for months and I'm really dreading having to go back to 2003. I can't afford 2007 and I didn't get the promised free copy of 2007 Office Pro when I went to MS's stupid "Ready for a New Day" launch event in Toronto so I guess I'm SOL. Real shame to because I absolutely adore Office 2007 but I would never spend so much money on an office suite. I'd sooner start using Google Docs.

The reason to upgrade is simple and unavoidable (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613960)

Eventually more and more customers and clients will send you documents encoded in MS format. You will need to not only read them but edit them and send them back. So far no one has ever been able to create a document in MS WOrd that is 100% platform interchangable. Even MS word on mac is in 100% compatible with ms word on PC, though it's pretty close, the page layouts shift subtly with tables and figures changing positions and dimensions.

Thus the only way you can work with other people's word documents is to own word. anything else as the parent points out is a waste of valuable time. the cost of word is negligible compared to your time

Re:I've already upgraded.. (1)

billy8988 (1049032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614032)

Whats your business? Microsoft? Just kidding. I have been seeing so many contradicting reports on this...I am bit confused. Not too long ago slashdot had a link to an article that claimed office 2007 was one of the top 10 products of last year. Either we had a crappy year as far as good products are concerned or people are completely biased and the truth is somewhere in between.

Could you be specific? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614034)

Why does everybody love it? Specifically what feature in Office-2007 ties up your services and simplifies your processes?

Why? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613410)

a) Because Bill says so
b) Because muppets keep sending you files in a new, super incompatible format that you can't open otherwise

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613812)

It's not entirely true that the new formats will force you to upgrade. There is the Office Compatibility Pack which allows Office 2003 + XP to open and save OpenXML formats as well as convert between them.
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/HA10168 6761033.aspx [microsoft.com]

well... if you're gonna switch, why not (3, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613424)

switch to OOo and for that matter, why not OOo on Linux... the training costs for the upgrade to Vista and/or office 2007 might as well be considered as similar to those for switching away from the proprietary lockin and moving to truly open formats for your data. Then you will have jumped off the upgrade treadmill and will be free to upgrade at your own pace instead, when you want to rather than when outside pressures force you to...

Re:well... if you're gonna switch, why not (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613592)

Except that there's also training costs for your IT department to learn to deal with Linux and OO.o. A lot of Windows admins that I've seen would never be able to deal with a Linux system. The users might not have much trouble switching to Linux with OO.o, because of the simplicity of the tasks, but the IT department that's used to dealing with Windows and MS Office would have a very hard time dealing with the switch.

Re:well... if you're gonna switch, why not (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613704)

OO.o runs on Windows - and once the transition to OO.o (and supposedly away from Outlook) is done, an important part of the need to keep the Windows platform is solved.

Re:well... if you're gonna switch, why not (1)

thousandinone (918319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614040)

OO.o may run under windows, but it does not run well. It crashes more often than is acceptable in any kind of business situation. Sure, you can tell everyone to save often, but try reminding accounting of that AFTER they've lost X hours worth of updates... If you're going to run OO.o, it should be run under a linux environment. The windows build is questionably reliable at best.

Re:well... if you're gonna switch, why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613618)

For the love of god... can we please go two or three stories without someone saying "switch to linux" or "switch to OO"? I realize it's Slashdot, and no, I'm not new here. But this post has absolutely nothing to do with looking for ANOTHER alternative... it's asking about a specific one.

Re:well... if you're gonna switch, why not (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614004)

If you are paying people $40,000 a year, $500 a year in software licensing is a consideration, but it doesn't take much of a productivity gain to justify it. It also doesn't take a very large risk of lost productivity to justify not switching to something very new.

If switching does save $500, that money can obviously be used elsewhere, but OOo is going to have to be very good to convince people that are satisfied with MS Office to switch. I am not going to speculate about how many people are actually satisfied with office.

as in ? (3, Insightful)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613430)

FTA: While I have the utmost respect for Mr Mossberg, I can't help but feel that the words in the second paragraph contradict and negate the words of the first. To my mind, a logical layout of commands and functions would obviate the need to learn how to find those commands and functions.

While I have the utmost respect for Mr. Beer, I can't help but feel that he has laid out an impossibly high standard for software menus. Is it even possible to, as he puts it, "obviate the need to learn how to find those commands and functions?"

Take what I said with a grain of salt, I'm bitter 'cause wish I had a kewl last name like his. Cue the "free-as-in-beer jokes." In 3, 2, 1...

This story is dumb! (5, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613434)

we adults (or at least many of us) would prefer to keep using what we're familiar with until something better comes along

These arguments are EXACTLY the arguments used with every major innovation in the past.

DOS vs Windows anyone?

Re:This story is dumb! (3, Insightful)

2ms (232331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613526)

Dude, it's a word processor. Can you honestly tell me that even all of the upgrades to Word put together since like Word 95 could really be called revolutionary? You are correct that Command line versus Windowing/GUI was revolutionary. You are not correct that anything in word processing in the last ten years at least has been revolutionary. And how many thousands of dollars in Word upgrades have there been in 10 years? Gimme a break

Re:This story is dumb! (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613814)

Most of the evolution/revolution has come in the form of layout. Yes, many authors want the ability to create very advanced documents that feature images, figures, tables, columns, rotated text, etc. You can't compare this to Word Perfect for DOS. It would be a little more appropriate to compare it to Quark Express. This has resulted in a complex tree of options in the menu. first they tried solving the problem by hiding infrequently used options - to the consternation of many users. The Ribbon Bar is their next attempt. It think the Ribbon succeeds in accomplishing that goal.

Re:This story is dumb! (5, Insightful)

timftbf (48204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613986)

Most of the evolution/revolution has come in the form of layout. Yes, many authors want the ability to create very advanced documents that feature images, figures, tables, columns, rotated text, etc. You can't compare this to Word Perfect for DOS.

You're absolutely right. WP for DOS let you do all of those things, but let you keep control of them, and made it easy to produce coherent documents, with logical mark-up, in a user interface that didn't fight you every step of the way. (I was actually do most of my word-processing work in WP for VMS at the time, which was equally versatile.)

Word encourages you to apply effects willy-nilly, while at the same time making it really hard to apply styles properly, or see exactly what tags are applied to what elements, and in which order. (Does changing *this* change the definition of a style? Create a new style? Reformat this particular element in the style with custom local changes? Most of the time, it's anyone's guess.)

What you end up with is a document that can possibly be tweaked to look flashy, but probably unprofessional, by one person, on one PC / printer combination, for a given revision. Make changes, make changes on another machine, or (heaven forbid) let someone else make changes, and what you'll end up with is a document that quickly descends into a mess of semi-random style, formatting, language, spell-checking and other tags, with little to no hope of regaining any logical structure.

Re:This story is dumb! (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613852)

Dude, it's a word processor.

I'd have to agree. There's plenty people could do, just using Notepad or Wordpad and some proper tab spacing (heck, sometimes, it would make it easier than dealing with Words formating bugs).

That being said, I hear the new 2007 interface is much better designed for professional layout and design. I'd be interested in trying it, but I've believed for a long time that MS products are superiorly over priced, particularly for what you get. I don't deal with publishing (at least not outside of a website), so there's no reason for me to upgrade.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Masochism (2, Funny)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613436)

Why the same reason you install any Microsoft Software, because you like a challenge.

I want my 1 minute back (2, Insightful)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613454)

All the article says is "the ribbon interface is less intuitive than the menu driven one, and it takes time to learn".

Meanwhile, Office 2007 would probably be mandatory for new functionality in new products from Microsoft - just as Office 2003 is mandatory for some functionality (edit in dataview) for Sharepoint Server 2003

Speaking of menus... (5, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613608)

I don't know what these new "ribbon" menus are or what they look like, but this just prompted me to speak of my biggest pet peeve of Windows menus that came on the scene a few years back: Dynamic menus. What I mean by this is how the drop-down menus off of the toolbar change to reflect the most recently-selected options. Thus every time you pull down a drop-down menu it looks different, and you must seek out the option you need, ususally by clicking on "more options" to see the "full" menu.

Whatever menus look like, they need to be consistent. Menus that change every time you look at them suck.

Re:Speaking of menus... (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613662)

On the other side, I don't really like to hunt for a submenu/option in all of the 10 or 15 submenus/options inside a menu. The reduction in menu items shown is somewhat good (what I really really hate is the disappearing of taskbar icons)

Re:Speaking of menus... (1)

3278 (1011735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613880)

The objections to both complaints - dynamic menus and hidden tray icons - are many and varied, with supporters on both sides of each issue, but ultimately, the objection is moot given that both options can be manually controlled, one of the features of Windows which I think is often downplayed. I control precisely which icons are hidden, and which are shown, in my tray, which I find /tremendously/ useful. I turn off dynamic menus, because like many of us, I want the same options in the same places all the time.

What's great is that you get the choice of which option to use. I hate the Windows XP interface, the new start menu, the idiotic task panel in Explorer windows. So I turn it all off. My XP looks virtually identical to my [stripped down] Windows 2000 interface. I've been given the option to do things however I'd like to do them, and I appreciate that.

The utility of these features is debatable, but I think that either way, it's worth noting with some appreciation that they're optional.

Re:I want my 1 minute back (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613652)

That's why the whole MS lock-in thing is such a problem. All their applications are so tightly integrated together that if you want to use one, you have to use them all. Want to use Sharepoint, you have to use MS Office, want to use Exchage, you have to use Outlook, Want to use any of these, you have to use Windows. It would all be much better if you could use one application without being forced to use another application to get all the functionality.

But if you dont upgrade (0, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613462)

You dont help lock in the monopoly even further.

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613988)

It should be Insightful, not Troll.

From the article (2, Insightful)

AlanS2002 (580378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613464)

"A question that must be asked then is whether some of the time taken to master Office 2007 would be better used to gain a more advanced knowledge of Office 2003, with the rest of the time being used to do some productive work? After trialling Office 2007 for some weeks, while away from home base, I believe the answer is a resounding yes."

A better question would be 'whether some of the time taken to master Office 2007 would be better used to gain a knowledge of OpenOffice, reducing our need to jump every time Microsoft releases a new version of office'.

I Maintain That I Don't NEED It (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613466)

Question: why do I need to upgrade to Office 2007?
Answer: Nobody needs to upgrade to Office 2007.

Microsoft isn't holding a gun to your head. You don't have a need for a ribbon. You may find out later that it increases your productivity and then you may learn that it provides a better solution for your problems. But if you're accomplishing your job and tasks with older copies of Office, why do you need 2007? The fact is you probably don't. I myself am quite successful with OpenOffice.org but I don't use the spreadsheet much if at all.

Hell, as long as Microsoft keeps supporting the copy of Office you use, who cares about 2007? Let the early adopters play around with it and work the bugs out. I'll use the ribbon when everyone else is--no reason for me to learn another "J++" Microsoft product only to have that skill be completely useless. Office 2007 will probably be the de facto standard but why pay the price and risk of an early adopter?

We're all intelligent people here (I think), and we're all capable of weighing the pros and cons of software. Office 2007 should be no different. If you want to present a good article to me on 2007, I'd like to see all sides of the issue, not just telling me why I need to use it.

Shooting themselves in the foot (2, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613468)

Agreed. GUIs are detestable for many reasons I will not elaborate here, but it must be also recognized they have some advantages: Attractiveness to first-time/rare computer users and semi-obviousness of how to do simple tasks.

The banner might be more attractive to true first-time users, but will pose a whole new learning hurdle for rare users and much more for users with simple requirements (80+% of all users). The tasks have moved and now are much less obvious.

MS has shot themselves in the foot again. I don't know whether they hit an artery.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (5, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613530)

Speak for yourself. I've been using Word for 15 years (on Mac and PC), and I personally think the ribbon interface is a nice change.

Yes, you initially have to take time to figure out where things are, but when you know it's quicker.

I might like to mention something else about all this bitching about "users having to learn a new interface" for Office 2007: Can I not use that same argument for not switching to Linux?

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (5, Funny)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613806)

Can I not use that same argument for not switching to Linux?

You could, but dude, your karma would take a beating around here.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613550)

Microsoft is fighting very hard against its biggest competitor on the Office software market: its older products.
      I don't think Office 2007 is a better product, compared to Office 2003, than Office 2003 is compared to XP. As such, Microsoft will slowly force an upgrade using artificial obsolence

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (4, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613576)

GUIs are detestable for many reasons I will not elaborate here
That's a very bold statement to go unsupported. If GUIs are so detestable why have they been the primary interface for every computer outside the server room for the last twenty five years or so? Just because you prefer a command line....

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613944)

Actually, they're pretty popular inside the server room as well. Netware used a text-based GUI in version 5. Windows NT servers have always used GUI tools to manage things. The first thing you do when installing SQL Server is boot up Enterprise Manager or Query Analyzer, both GUIs, to configure your databases. I'm also curious to hear his reasoning why GUIs are "detestable".

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613890)

GUIs are detestable for many reasons I will not elaborate here

Detestable? Detestable? You honestly believe that GUIs are (and I quote from Dictionary.com) "deserving to be detested; abominable; hateful"?

In God's name why!? What the hell are your reasons?

The only even half-sensible reason I can come up with for your belief is that GUIs are detestable because they allow those human vermin known as "normal people" use computers as well as any of us Unix nerds, and we simply can't have them mucking around in our world because they are so inferior to us!

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613942)

GUIs are detestable for many reasons I will not elaborate here

Such as? Or are you just an elitist who wants the world to devolve to the 1970s so that you can feel special because you can use that darn computin' machine.

Graphically Heavy (2, Interesting)

tijmentiming (813664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613472)

Someone here at my job has Office 2007 installed. It has some weird graphical things, like transparant popup windows when selecting text. this window shows options like bold/italic, etc. when moving the mouse over it, it slowly fades in. Moving the mouse out of the window makes it transparent again. I really don't see the use of it. Then there is this OSX background and still too much buttons.

Re:Graphically Heavy (1)

Scoutn (992649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613928)

Is saves one from having to move the mouse to the top of the window/viewport. Since one would generally be changing the format of text when selecting it, it's just a quick way to format text. I kind of like it.

Re:Graphically Heavy (1)

Spike15 (1023769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613958)

like transparant popup windows when selecting text. this window shows options like bold/italic, etc. when moving the mouse over it, it slowly fades in. Moving the mouse out of the window makes it transparent again. I really don't see the use of it.
So that you don't have to move your mouse all the way up to the top of the window to access commonly-used formatting options. And it's transparent so that when it pops up it doesn't completely obscure the text behind it. It's a great feature.

Re:Graphically Heavy (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614008)

I use Office 2007, and actually, I think it is better than Office 2003. It isn't harder to understand than 2003. The "ribbon" isn't some difficult concept, it's just a menu turned sideways that always open (unless you turn it off). The menue-like buttons allow you to easily switch to different ribbons depending on what you're doing. Basically, the ribbon just has all of the most commonly used buttons for a given task right up front. And they're done in a way that makes more sense than the mini-ribbon in Office 2003 (they're arranged according to purpose, so there isn't just a nonsensical mass of buttons), plus the full preferences are available with a single click without going into a menu.

As for the transparent box that comes up when you highlight text--what is your intention when highlighting text? Generally when you highlight text it is because you're about to change the font, color, style, size, color, or something along those lines. In Office 2007, when you highlight text, if you move your mouse up, a box appears with right next to the highlighted text with several oft-used formatting choices, far reducing the amount of mouse travel needed to make minor alterations. I found this extremely valuable when making many small changes in a document. You can turn it off if you don't like it.

So personally, I like Office 2007--it is definitely an upgrade over 2003. I don't think it's enough of an upgrade to be worth the money, and I don't think people should put out money for it when there is something like OOo available, but still, it's pretty good.

Problems exist mostly for existing 'power' users (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613474)

The problems mentioned mostly exist for existing 'power' users who already know Office 2K3 and are unfamiliar with the new 'ribbon' interface of Office 2007. I think that the vast majority of users out there in the real world, however, use Microsoft Office as a fancy word processor and don't really know the true functionality of Word or Excel or PowerPoint.

For those users, the ribbon may be a great help in unlocking the use of the tool.

Of course, the real question is will the PHBs in major corporations see it that way? If they don't adopt Office 2007 in droves, it will die. If they do, then due to file format differences, everyone will be forced to upgrade and this becomes an entirely moot point. *sigh* Which is too bad for those of are using OpenOffice.org and other competing open source products.

Re:Problems exist mostly for existing 'power' user (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613626)

There are (probably many) corporations that use software rented from Microsoft - for those, there will be little choice when Microsoft decide to force the change.
      Anyway, here some "snowball effect" is needed for the file format change to force upgrading the Office version

Simple Answer (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613484)

Mr. Ballmer needs a new Ferrari.

As an employer? (5, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613496)

As an employer, you'll want to upgrade because that's what all the college students will be trained in.

I'm still irritated that the college I work at jumps on every little thing from Microsoft, but still doesn't cover anything recent from the UNIX or Mac worlds.

Re:As an employer? (2, Informative)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613754)

As an employer, you'll want to impose to your employee what software he/she is to use. If he knows only Office 2007, but you use Office XP in your network, he/she might learn it or go.

Re:As an employer? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613970)

We had wordperfect when i went to college, that didn't mean that prospective employers used it.

Re:As an employer? (1)

tidewaterblues (784797) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614000)

You know, that is funny, because as a member of a University IT department, we need to upgrade to Office 2007 this spring, because that is what the employers will expect all of our student's to know. Moreover, this is what our students demand that we teach them. Remember that Colleges are business too, and few students understand the term "de facto standard". They want the latest and the greatest or they will take their money elsewhere. Period.

"It's expensive, has a steep learning curve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613500)

and it's default format is even less compatible with anything else. "

Sounds like Vista.

2007 isn't needed (1)

jupiterssj4 (801031) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613504)

.docx is not a nice file format. Yah, the program has a steep learning curve, I couldn't find anything that I needed, plus, even with 512MB of RAM it runs slow/like crap. Its just a pretty version of Office with crappy default file format.

Re: .docx is not a nice file format (1)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613758)

.docx is not a nice file format
Do you have a real reason for saying that? Is it because nobody else supports it yet, or is it just anti-MS spite?

More rows in excel (4, Informative)

dhwebb (526291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613514)

The only feature I have heard of that makes me want to upgrade is the ability to have more than 65,536 rows in excel. Of course, if you have that many rows of data, maybe you should be converting the data into a real database format and working with the data that way.

Re:More rows in excel (4, Informative)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613724)

Actually, there are quite a few very good improvements to Excel. They finally blew the doors off of a bunch of stupid limits:

The total number of available columns in Excel
Old Limit: 256 (28)
New Limit: 16k (214)

The total number of available rows in Excel
Old Limit: 64k (216)
New Limit: 1M (220)

Total amount of PC memory that Excel can use
Old Limit: 1GB
New Limit: Maximum allowed by Windows

Number of unique colours allowed a single workbook
Old Limit: 56 (indexed colour)
New Limit: 4.3 billion (32-bit colour)

Number of conditional format conditions on a cell
Old Limit: 3 conditions
New Limit: Limited by available memory

Number of levels of sorting on a range or table
Old Limit: 3
New Limit: 64

Number of rows allowed in a Pivot Table
Old Limit: 64k
New Limit: 1M

Number of columns allowed in a Pivot Table
Old Limit: 255
New Limit: 16k

Maximum number of unique items within a single Pivot Field
Old Limit: 32k
New Limit: 1M

I will probably install Excel 2007 but nothing else. The conditional formatting alone should be worth it. Once you really understand it, you can quickly do some very useful things.

Re:More rows in excel (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613796)

Exactly my opinion. I think that the fact that Excel only supported 65K rows a feature. It's bad enough having people who don't understand databases making databases in Access, it's even worse when people try to use Excel to create a database.

Related question: Linux alternative to Front Page? (-1, Offtopic)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613522)

Is there a WYSIWYG web page authoring tool like Front Page for Linux?

Thanks.

Re:Related question: Linux alternative to Front Pa (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613614)

Kind of ... Nvu ... granted it doesn't have as many bells and whistles but it's fine for basic pages. If you're looking for more whiz-bang things like image viewers, etc ... then no, not really. However, Nvu pages will work in all browsers, unlike the incompatible HTML FP puts out.

Re:Related question: Linux alternative to Front Pa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613730)

How do you get "related question" out of that? Because you mentioned Frontpage and this is talking about Office? WTF?

Isn't Front Page part of Office? (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613884)

I thought Front Page was part of the Office package. Oh well.

Re:Related question: Linux alternative to Front Pa (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613766)

try nvue [nvu.com]

Well.. (4, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613528)

It's expensive, has a steep learning curve, and it's default format is even less compatible with anything else.

It supports saving/loading backwards compatible formats too...

It also had a surprisingly low learning curve for me, despite the vastly more accessible UI it seems to have than 2003 with its menu jungles.

I'd argue the opposite (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613536)

This seems the least thought through attempt at jumping on the anti-Microsoft bandwagon - Office 2007 is the first version in 12 years that really changes the way you use office to truly make you more productive. There are tools in Office 2007 to let you do some of the things that used to take you upwards of half an hour in under a minute.

It's sad that MS is slagged of for not changing Office much over the years, then why they finally do innovate, and change it to improve productivity and usefulness people slag it off with "Booohooo it has a steep learning curve". Honestly, Microsoft may do a lot of things wrong, but they do also do something right (i.e. the XBox 360, Visual Studio etc.), I honestly think Office 2007 is one of those things they've done right.

Re:I'd argue the opposite (1)

lbtori (811492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613850)

And I'll agree with you. I'm no fan of Microsoft, or any company really - they are just companies - but lately they seem to be making some good things (Office 2007, VS2005, 360, Expression/WPF stuff - imo always). Personally, I use Office 2007 and i find that it does make me more productive. I like the way the ribbon works and I didn't find it difficult at all to get used to it, I thought it was pretty intuitive tbh, and I *love* the referencing bit where you put in all the references and then it will just generate the bibliography for you. Ok, and I like the fact that it's pretty and it has cool effects. That has probably nothing to do with productivity but personally, working in a visually pleasing environment does affect me (in a positive way).

Re:I'd argue the opposite (4, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613854)

There are tools in Office 2007 to let you do some of the things that used to take you upwards of half an hour in under a minute.
That's quite a claim! Could you elaborate a bit, please? If it's true, maybe it's really worth using 2007.

Short canned answer (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613540)

There are some useful features in Office 2007. However, you have to evaluate whether those features are necessary enough to overcome the upgrade costs as well as the re-training that will be involved with the new interface. Some people really want/need the new features. The problem for MS is that most users are just fine with the features from Office 97.

Good question (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613556)

But before I answer that, can someone tell me why I should upgrade from Word 95? And the only justification I can think of to upgrade to Word 95 is long filename support.

Here's a reason why you don't... Cleartype! (5, Interesting)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613564)

I've been a diehard Microsoft Office user for years and have recently installed Outlook 2007 (upgrading from 2003) and discovered that they've replaced everything with a new font system which, on my dual high resolution LCD's, looks awful and blurred. To most people it's an improvement, however one of the original co-creators of Cleartype has gone on record to say that many humans have the ability to perceive more colors and these humans may find Cleartype to seem blurred or less clear. Going back to a non-Cleartype setup is extremely difficult, involving changes made in four separate areas of Outlook's unintuitive option screens.

yes it's diffrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613584)

the changes in the gui take some time getting used to, some = less than a day of doing work in it.
once you have grown accustomed to it you will find options, function etc a lot faster.

i cant disagree on any of the rest, just that save as xml works and works well, your able to open those in vi and read the xml as if it were plain text.

It's really no different than the previous upgrade (2, Insightful)

duh P3rf3ss3r (967183) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613594)

The only reason to switch to 2007 will be to read the documents that others send you. This is nothing new. When the organisation for which I work switched to 2003, for example, it was not because we needed any of the "functionality" new to 2003. Nor had our users pushed Office to its limits and were crying out for new functionality. Let's be clear, 95% of users use maybe 5% of an office suite's functionality. The other 5% use maybe 50%, at best.

But Microsoft never fails to make the new Office write files, by default, that the old Office can't read. Eventually, one grows fatigued with having to send a reply to every email asking that the sender "save the document in Word 2003, please, so I can open it."

This is the way MS has sold each and every one of its upgrades. It's a tried-and-true strategy for them and they've made billions from it. Why would anyone expect them to change at this juncture?

Why Change? (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613596)

You'll change because that's what Microsoft tells you to do. Or, rather, they will progressively stop supporting earlier versions. This coming from a fell who uses Word 2000 when he has to (OOffice or LaTeX otherwise).

Re:Why Change? (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613844)

tinfoil hat on...
      As Office 2007 might have more differences in basic code, there could be issues/bugs/vulnerabilities present only in old versions of Office. A faster time-to-patch for the new product might convince some companies to switch.

Best reason to upgrade ... (1)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613668)

The best reason to upgrade is probably if you have to much expendable cash and you want to see a really cool UI.

Re:Best reason to upgrade ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17613886)

Seems to me that a really cool interface for a word processor would use the keyboard.

So you have... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613686)

no sense of adventure, eh?

Kick me, I'm stupid..... (3, Interesting)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613838)

Isnt this what the dude is saying?

What about a serious investigation of whether or not the new features will help his organization?

How about a review of their current users, features used/wanted, to find out whether an upgrade would be cost effective and return something for the investment?

Why does every new MS Office release inspire a new round of articles from dopes wanting someone else to tell them what would be good for their business, without much effort on their own behalf?

Anytime I hear or read someone asking whether they should upgrade to the latest version of ANYTHING, I just want to choke them.

By the time a new product comes out, there has been MORE than enough time for due dillegance, and the answer should be apparent before release candidates are distributed, unless of course, you are an idiot, and your company sucks.

When a owner of smooth running Windows shop with dozens of .NET applications and centralized SharePoint askes me about switching to Linux to 'save a few bucks', I immediately do a quick cost/benefit analysis on whether or not I should just beat his ass and change professions.

Re:Kick me, I'm stupid..... (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17614038)

"When a owner of smooth running Windows shop with dozens of .NET applications and centralized SharePoint askes me about switching to Linux to 'save a few bucks', I immediately do a quick cost/benefit analysis on whether or not I should just beat his ass and change professions."

      There are very little money to be saved on the operating system of the client computer. Would Linux be cheaper? If you buy your Windows retail or OEM, and will move to a free (as in beer) Linux, there are some money to be saved. If your operating system comes preinstalled (at a cheap rate for your OEM), and you want to move to a commercial Linux (supported by $), you are poised to lose money.
      The big money are payed in the server room - "server" operating systems (Win2000, 2003), SQL servers, BackOffice maybe, client access licenses and so on and so on. As long as you don't move this infrastructure, any financial benefit in moving to Linux is small (if existent).
      "Cost/benefit analysis" should be simple for the transition: use what works now, for some $$$, or move to Linux for free, and have little working. Microsoft tax is very much "the cost of doing business", as long as even some mandatory financial reports (to be transmitted to the Financial Authority) must be done in Windows programs (supplied by the same Financial Authority)

I will upgrade for ONE reason (2, Informative)

ferrellcat (691126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613856)

I've been using Excel for nearly 15 years, and for the entirety of that time, I've been limited to 256 columns. Now the limit is 16,384 columns. This may not seem like much to the average person, but to a little abused VBA monkey who's had to use every trick in the book to handle the manipulation of big WIDE data, this is a godsend.

Because it is much better for technical documents? (3, Interesting)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613882)

Word 2007 is much better for technical documents. The features that were hidden in 2003 (like styles) are now very easily accessed. Another example is tables: in 2003, you either had to browse through menus to open the Tables and Borders toolbar and then close it to save screen space, now you simply switch to the Tables tab. Also, a lot of buttons have labels beside them, meaning you don't need to hold the cursor near every button for 1 second in order to see the tooltip. Oh, and did I mention instant previews when choosing styles?
And the new equation editor simply rocks. It combines the best of TeX, Classic Equation Editor and OpenOffice Writer's equivalent. You can write some TeX code, press the Space key and Word automatically converts it to a WYSIWYG formula, which behaves pretty much like the equations in the Classic version.

Caring Intervention Needed? (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613908)

The intervention of friends, family, professionals, or other community members might sometimes be required for escape.
Just as the recently rescued kidnapped boys didn't walk or ride away when they apparently had chances for freedom, similar mental lock-in may very well apply in this case.

Pay attention to even those you know only casually.
You could be the one to spot their captivity and take them to freedom.

Ongrade Subscriptions Instead (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613974)

I don't know why MS doesn't just skip these "major releases" and just charge everyone a subscription (quarterly, annual, quadrennial, "lifetime") to the online "Windows Update" service. The initial purchase would include security patches for, say, a decade, or the lifetime of the product (when MS can force most everyone to pay again). But nonsecurity bugfixes, new features, extra modules (new formats, GUI styles, interops) would require the subscription.

MS could still package "milestones" with their sizzlingest features to attract new subscribers, especially among the "legacy" users whose subscriptions have lapsed. With the huge marketing pushes at those milestones that are the current "upgrade" releases' biggest features. While offering new marketing kickoffs at any time they want to do it.

MS would lockin not just users using their standard tricks, but actually lockin their subscription money. Especially with enterprises, their main market, they'd get budgeted in perpetuity, a massive entitlement that would require executive action (thereby happen less often) to cancel, rather than have to do something every time an upgrade decision comes up.

I wouldn't like it. But that's never stopped MS from doing things before. Maybe this "why upgrade?" release of Office, and the similarly tepid reception as Vista arrives, is the MS way to get us to think we're smart for choosing subscriptions instead of upgrades, "outsmarting Microsoft".

Not My Experience (5, Interesting)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17613998)

I've been using Office 2007 since it was released to MSDN Subscribers back in November.

I went into the upgrade with high expectations for the ribbon. I had read a lot about it, and honestly it just makes a lot of sense. Commands that are grouped logically and presented contextually, while at the same time not being buried in a menu that few will ever see, simply seems like the right way to do things.

At the same time I realized that I have been using Office for many, many years, and the fairly dramatic UI shift would probably result in some learning curve.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised. For the most part, commands are where they should be. If I want to change the alignment of some text I go to the layout tab. (Or just highlight the text and move my mouse toward the fading in popup thingy.) If I want to insert a picture, surprise surprise, I got to the insert tab. It all makes a lot of sense.

Furthermore, in just the couple of months that I've been using Office 2007, I've discovered a lot of functionality I never new existed. (And, as many of you know, most Office users only use a very small fraction of Office's features.)

Each Office upgrade before 2007 has, for the most part, been an exercise in adding features that few will ever use because they don't know they're there. Office 2007's new UI changes that. For many users, it will be like Microsoft added thousands of new features when, in fact, they've been there all along but were never seen.

Do we have to go through this everytime... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17614020)

Everytime an update comes out this argument will arise. Why get a 2005 Ford over a 2004 one, why get a X1900 card when my X800 one is still good. Why upgrade to vista when xp is just as good, blah blah.

Most upgrades work around the fact every second major upgrade usually makes you want to upgrade far more than every one. Unless there is something you want in that new one specifically.

Obviously ms wants to push this, its their #2 money maker. Its upto people to choose what they want. Anyhow, these arguments are mute.. its not important if its "worth the upgrade", Like Vista this is something you can just get on your next purchase / upgrade cycle... or when ms decides to stop supporting office 11 :)

Any suggestion we should all drop what we are doing and buy a new version of a program every time its released is just listening way too much to the hype that you want to just rip on now. Its just another revision, get over it.

If you don't upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17614036)

*the terrorist wins*
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