back to article Microsoft Office 2007 migration aches foreshadow 2010

It has been predicted Microsoft's Office 2010 will cause migration headaches, but for some, the pain is already here. Customers speaking with The Reg are experiencing major delays in their move from Office 2003 to 2007, more than three years after Microsoft released the latest version of its suite. Problems include having to …


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  1. David 141

    Lessons learnt = none ?

    Sounds like these people built on sand, had it washed away, and are now going back to the agent for some more sand to beach their wrecks on.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is this guy smoking?

    This statement is hilarious!

    "large enterprises will at least have dedicated IT teams that can plan and implement the upgrade."

  3. DJ Particle
    Gates Horns

    MS Shoots Themselves In The Foot Again

    My boss' wife is feeling the pain...the "ribbon bar" is too complex for her. Hell, I could barely find my way around it. The trashing of the classic "File Edit View" menu structure is likely the #1 reason for the slow utilization rate of Office '07.

    ...and now they're going to change things even more in Office '10?

    ...and they wonder why more businesses are choosing to use Sure there are a few small incompatibilities, but if I were an average cubicle-dweller, I'd rather that, and have to re-do a few files, then have to learn an entirely new interface. OOo at current version still has a classic-style interface that most people have gotten used to over the years.

    1. Matt 5
      Thumb Down

      I refuse to title a response!

      Then I'd say that more likely your boss' wife is a complete idiot then.

      We have people here who've been using windows for more than 10 years and still don't know when they need to double click or single click something, let alone understand what a folder is.

      We rolled out office 2007 with the ribbon bar and we had no complaints. If these luddites can cope I have to assume anyone who can't figure it out is severly thought impaired.

      1. Bilgepipe


        The inability to adopt a completely new user interface is not related to intelligence, but more likely the quality - or in this case lack of - of the interface itself. Microsoft have never, ever made a user interface that is not counter-intuitive at best, and downright misleading at worse. They consistently break every basic UI guideline in the book.

        Your luddites are probably more likely to be the idiots in not even noticing the change.

    2. regadpellagru

      backfire at them

      "Hell, I could barely find my way around it. The trashing of the classic "File Edit View" menu structure is likely the #1 reason for the slow utilization rate of Office '07."

      I'm with you on this.Took me a while and a lot of blood pressure to find how to print and how the f*ck to undo something !

      I instlalled OO one week after :-)

      Change of UI for the sole purpose of having the user locked into its ill logic is going to backfire at MS. Probably as usual, on the second issue, when Office 2010 hits the shelves ...

      Drop MS, join the militia !

  4. Bruce288

    This is only half of it...

    Great story, well reported. But I have to add something: Three years ago, I upgraded to Office 2007. I hated it then, I still hate the ribbon now, although I use it every day.

    But here's the key thing: I'm in a service business. I work with lots of Fortune 500 companies. Where I used to be able to send MS word or PPT files back and forth, and always be assured that the person at the other end could open them, this has never been the case with Office 2007.

    Three years later, in 2010, I still can't send docx docs with any reasonable degree of assurance that there won't be a problem. The corporate world has not adopted the office 2007 format. Everyone I know who uses Office 2007 ends up saving Docs in the .doc format, (and/or just converts everything to PDF.)

    Microsoft hasn't addressed this problem at all. They can claim whatever they like, but the docx format still hasn't caught on -- and it's a problem that no one wants to deal with, or talk about.

    1. Michael C

      simple resolution

      If you're sending Docx file formats, in the message body send this link:

      If they can't open the file in 2003, it's because they don't have the patch, which BTW is included in office 2003 SP2 so if they can't open the files still today they're GROSSLY out of compliance with patching their office suite! btw, this also works with Office 2000 and 2002...

      Docx has not caught on because a lot of IT departments simply set the default format to doc to avoid having complications rolling out patches, and then never went back and changed it once SP2 for 2K3 came out. People simply don't see the file type very often.

      However, the real benefits of Docx are mostly in a smaller file size. There are some format changes that get hard coded back when saving to Doc as well, so editing graphic elements or Escher graphics is not possible once it's been saved, but it still looks the same and other text can be edited.

      Of course, if you're collaborating on a working document, you should be on the same version anyway, so tell them if they want to work with you they just need to upgrade and suck it up. If you're just sending files for review or to provide data, SAVE THEM IN PDF FOR CHRIST'S SAKE (it's free in 2K7!). Also, when sending doc or docx files, don't forget to CLEAN them first of previous edits by using the publish options...

  5. davenewman

    Migrate to OpenOffice

    and you keep the same interface as MS Office 2003.

    Problem solved!

    1. The Original Steve

      Migrate to OpenOffice

      Keep the same interface as 2003, but gain the incompatiblity problems of 2007 with all versions of Office..!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No more incompatible formats - switch to OpenOffice

        My brother has just spent a month recovering documents in numerous MS incompatible formats and put them into OpenOffice. Never again he trust his information to a proprietary format like Microsoft Office.

        I have used OpenOffice to open/edit/print Office 97, 2000, 2003 and 2007 documents.

        You may continue to pay to access your data, there are many that realise this is not a sensible solution.

  6. ben_myers
    Gates Horns

    Office 2007 migration and yet another migration to ???

    Well, people who drank the Microsoft productivity kool-aid, having built all sorts of now-broken extensions to Office, apparently now have a massive hangover. Maybe it's time for some of them to consider another migration... away from Microsoft, to OpenOffice maybe?

    What's wrong with this picture? Microsoft gives you a whole bunch of tools and capabilities to lock you into the Microsoft way of doing things. Your world gets more productive for a while and you and your cohorts take advantage of these tools to streamline work flow. Then, it's time to upgrade to a newer and more shiny Office, and you find that it is now necessary to rewrite AND RE-TEST every litle extension, macro, or script you ever did to make Office fit your way of doing business. And, oops! Anybody can write these little Office widgets, so you don't even know how many there are within the enterprise.

    So much for putting your faith, trust and confidence in Microsoft products... Ben


  7. jake Silver badge

    The mind boggles.

    How long will MS be able to string out the charade that MS upgrades "just work" and are the easiest way to stay up-to-date and modern, anyway? Are people as a group REALLY as stupid as it seems? Why in the fuck is ANYONE in the business world sticking with MS products? This constant upgrade cycle must be costing tens of billions a year, world-wide ... and for WHAT? What can I do with the latest MS-Office stuff that I couldn't do 20 years ago, in the same business?

    (Preemptive insertion of "it's for g4|V|3rz, dude" comments here ... despite the fact that I was clearly mentioning business use in my very short, easily parsed paragraph ...)

  8. Paul Maddox
    Paris Hilton

    Cost of Progress

    Microsoft release a major change and it breaks some old VBA. What do you expect?

    The problem here is far too many businesses (my employer included) rely on hacked together VBA solutions for stuff that's mission critical. Either you take on board the responsibility that VBA entails - i.e. you accept there may be migration issues and upgrade Office accordingly; or you're leading your business down the garden path. Any good developer will consider future migraiton when they choose a technology in the first place.

    On the opposite side of the coin - my word and excel files open fine thanks. I can't find half the functionality though. THAT is the biggest migration problem businesses (should) face.

    Paris, because maybe she can use the office ribbons.

  9. Hugh_Pym

    easy answer

    Don't use office macros for business critical applications.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ...meanwhile, on planet earth ...

      oh, FOAD ... unfortunately, this is the real world, where (wait for it) real-world things happen. Having been in IT for 20+ years now, you just have to live with things like this. In every organisation I have worked in, the monolithic "IT department" which manages to deliver things consistently over-budget and late, will tell a section, department or manager that it will take x months and y pounds to deliver an app which will <insert managers pressing need here>. Result ? Manager gets book on Excel/Word and writes a snippy macro to do the job.

      Other managers are impressed and rather than ask IT, get a wopy and tweak.

      And so a monster is born.

      In my first real job, at British Gas (of all places) the "IT Department" (then "C&I") had a lead time of 6-12 months on *anything*. It was 1986. PCs were easy to rent (so no capital purchase) and Lotus 1-2-3 had arrived. In my year I took the department from 1 PC to 20, had taught most people Lotus basics, and left about 30 quite complex spreadsheets behind.

      Which is it easier to change, peoples behaviour, or software ?

  10. The Original Steve


    Yeah, I get it about macro's (which are a user-friendly version of implementing VBA), but that's pretty obvious and is very well documented.

    File format problems are bullshit as a GPO will set Office 2007 to default to the old .doc / .xls formats. Also, Office 2000 upwards have a free update from Microsoft that will allow old version to read new formats without a problem.

    And I have no idea what the hell these guys are doing - Outlook 2007 not working with both Exchange 2003 and 2007? Utter nonsense.

    Either they didn't RTFM before deployment and removed Public Folders (which is required for old Exchange clients) or they just balls'd it all up. Using both Exchange 2003 and 2007 in our current environment, with a mixture of Outlook 2003 and 2007 clients.

    Blown way out of proportion.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now even more easy.

    The overall Microsoft Office experience has greatly improved with Microsoft Office 2007 and the soon to be released Microsoft Office 2010. With the addition of the new Microsoft Office 2010 collaborative working tool sets and the Microsoft Office 2010 Migration Package Rollups, it makes it more easy to store lists and add them up in Microsoft Office Excel 2010 and create forms and write stuff down on your computer in Microsoft Office Word 2010.

    Microsoft will make it even more easier when Microsoft improve the Microsoft Office Experience even further with the release of Microsoft Office 2012.

    1. Bilgepipe
      Gates Horns


      Either you're Steve Ballmer, or this is a brilliant piece of sarcasm.

  12. JWS

    Deal with it

    Really, just deal with it. The Office experience is far better in 07/10 than previous versions. Granted it will take some time for the average office user to get the hang of the ribbon and if someone has built VBA macros then they at least have some knowledge to re-build it in the new versions of Office.

    I'd expect a 3 month drop in productivity on roll out at my place with a gradual pick up over a further 3 months giving us 6 months of reduced productivity max.

    1. Keith Oldham

      Re : Deal with it

      You don't seem to have given any good reason to upgrade in exchange for a 6 months reduced productivity !

    2. Tom Smith 1 Silver badge

      2 Weeks

      We moved from 2k3 to 2k7 about two years ago now (to 50 odd employees).

      For the first two weeks I got nothing but bitching and moaning from my users about the new interface.

      Then they shut up, learnt how to use it and now everyone is quite happy with it, and I've not had a complaint since.

      As far as I know, there's no plans to upgrade to 2010 anytime soon (we're still using XP due to some old bits of software), but 2007 made my life a bit easier (the customised setup builder is very useful), so all in all I'm a happy geek.

  13. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    We use Outlook 2003 throughout the building - and discovered very early on that Outlook 2003 was unreliable (I'm being kind here) unless the rest of the Office 2003 package was installed.

    We can't justify moving to Office 2007 just to get Outlook 2007 and the same will apply to Office 2010 - most people here would rather spend time getting the job done than learning a new interface that's going to change with the next release anyway.

  14. Nigel 11
    Paris Hilton

    Microsoft shooting self in foot again

    The number one problem: as with Windows Vista / 7, they've thrown out the user interface which the Office users grew up with, on all versions up to 2007. A menu bar (with incremental "improvements" at various upgrades, but not intrusive enough that one couldn't adjust as one went). It was insane not to offer an Office-2003 User-interface compatibility mode.

    It's also significant that very many Word users know nothing about computers and (dare I say it) are not always particularly motivated. They're secretaries or call-centre staff, or all sorts of people who hunt-and-peck at a keyboard who would prefer not to have to.

    As others have said, the best "upgrade" may well be OpenOffice, more compatibility with these users at zero cost.

    Paris, scrutinizing a ribbon bar. Ooh-err.

  15. Ocular Sinister

    If migrating is Office 2007 is such a pain...'ve got to ask, why are they doing it at all? What new features are they getting in 2007/2010 that's worth that much pain? Just stick 2007, it still works!

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      or indeed stick to 2003. it puts words on a page, spell checks them, and does excel calculations. What more do you want?

      1. Ocular Sinister

        Stupid typo...

        *doh!*.. I actually meant 2003!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why are people still paying for the hassle of upgrading MS Office?

    OpenOffice v3 is a very good product, no licensing costs and does what people need to do and is can be installed and distributed freely. Staff can use the same software at home and in the office on as many computers as they like Windows, Linux, Solaris and Apple. Over 100 million downloads can not be wrong.

    Is upgrading MS Office of any interest to any but a few lunatics?

  17. N2

    Are we finally realising

    If it aint broke, dont fix it.

  18. Mark Simon

    Less reason to stick to Microsoft

    Let’s face it. Microsoft once had a good product in its Office suite. But when they implement dramatic changes and incompatibilities, it is harder to justify the effort of an "upgrade" when it is barely the same product.

    I train in Microsoft Office products, and, while some appreciate some of the improvements, most users are unhappy with what they perceive to be unnecessary changes to something which seemed to be working well enough before. They are also unhappy with the fact that Office 2007 is an incomplete product, with many omissions, quirks and annoyances. They will be even more annoyed if they have to go through it all again, especially if they have to pay extra for the privilege.

    Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away, but mostly Microsoft taketh away and charge you extra for it.

    So why is Microsoft so much better than Open Source?

  19. David 155
    Gates Horns

    Whats the advantage of upgrading?

    I cant see many reasons to upgrade, what can it do that 2003 or XP cant? One strange bug i found was that installing office 2007 changes the spell check dictionary in Outlook Express to French and its the only dictionary available! The fix is to install the dictionaries from Office XP!

    1. Michael C

      What is the upgrade for?

      @David 155:

      Seriously? We're still asking whether of not 2007 is worth the upgrade over 2003??? We don't yet know what 2K7 improved on? Have you even really LOOKED at Excel 2007? Have you seen any of the new PPT graphics? Have you seen the inline editing power? Have you examined document collaboration, sharepoint integration, document signing, native PDF conversion, the new power added to Outlook?

      First off, Excel is no longer a simple spreadsheet with some VBS macros, it' now a seriou data management application. The power added to the data filter option ALONE is worth the whole suite, let alone the conditional format system and more. It's now possible to practically write applications inside of excel without ever using a single macro.

      Clearly you have not even checked out the features listing, which is over 150 major new items. Improved mail merge, online integration, increased spreadsheet max size, more powerful formulas, overhauled fumula editor, practically a whole new PPT experience, new graphics across the board, better image handling in documents, smarter document tagging/TOC/index functions, new Outlook interface, better preview, better print functions, better 3rd party format support, FREE PDFs, file support inside databases, better search, inline editing, this goes on and on and on. 2007 is the most significant improvement (other than the GUI alone) since it moved from Windows 3.1 to 95.

      c'mon, get with the game... It's been out almost 4 years!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "It's now possible to practically write applications inside of excel without ever using a single macro."

        WOW! Everyone is going to love writing applications inside of excel. Everyone, that is, except for hackers who would never do something as unethical as using MS office features to compromise people's computers.

        Just look how long the list of new features is, and they're all packed into "the ribbon" which as you know is everybodies favourite and most user-intuitive interface and not at all a scam to lock a generation of people into their wonky GUI.


      2. Ocular Sinister

        I have a confesion....

        I have, and do use Office 2007 on a daily basis at work. Do I find any features that I would miss in 2003? Nope.

        > Have you seen any of the new PPT graphics?

        Meh, I've no interest in presentations, but yeah, maybe there are some cool pictures in powerpoint.

        > Inline editing power

        No idea what this is.

        > Document collaboration

        Tried this, and it didn't work - not because the technology was broken, but because this didn't turn out to be an efficient way of working. The whole thing felt like there were four people at the steering wheel and we went back to the traditional review process. In any case, OpenOffice supports collaboration so its not a show stopper if you want to move away from MS Office.

        > sharepoint integration


        > document signing

        Ummm... there are any number of simple, free ways to sign a document (*any* document) and I don't see why this should be part of an office suite. Should be at OS level.

        > native PDF conversion

        Again, any number of free solutions (e.g. PDF virtual printers) that allow you to do this for *any* document, not just Office documents. Again, this should be at the OS level, not part of the office suite.

        > new power added to Outlook

        Is that why the damn thing takes 5 minutes to start? I don't see any 'new power' either, but god knows, I can't find jack sh*t in the new ribbon bar interface...

        > It's now possible to practically write applications inside of excel

        Oh, shit... Its bad enough with people cobbling together database apps in Access, and now the accounts team can do the same with Excel?

        All hands to the pumps 'cos if they really are writing data management apps in Excel we are in deeper shit than I thought.

      3. Steven Knox

        Features Listing

        Or, perhaps, David did check out the features listing, and realized, like a LOT of other users, that it's a load of flash which he just doesn't need. I know that's what I did.

        Did you even consider, Michael, that perhaps some people choose their software based not on the features list, but based on what features will be useful to them? A few examples:

        Even on high-end hardware, Excel 2007 is a dog when you get over 10,000, let alone 65,000, rows with any useful data in them. If you seriously need to work with that much data, you're better off with a database engine like SQL Server Express or MySQL.

        Free PDFs have been available for dog's years with free software from various vendors.

        Mail Merge, from my experience, is actually simpler and less fraught with difficulties in Office 2000, rather than 2003 or 2007.

        "New graphics" or "New experience" are Marketing-speke and do not qualify as features.

        They removed the "Reply with Attachments" feature in Outlook 2007. That's one I used in 2003 all the time, but it's nonexistent in '07.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Migrate to OpenOffice

    Migrate to OpenOffice... and get a reverse-engineered copy of Office 97.

    Seriously, stop whinging and get on with it. I have over 2000 users who got migrated onto Office 2007 last year, I'm not aware of any complaints or problems.

    If you let your end users create complex macros, rather than involving the IT Dept, then be prepared to pick up the pieces later.

    Why don't we go back to an abacus and a slate? Because it's not feasible. Time moves on, the world moves on, shit happens.

    1. Ocular Sinister

      Shiny new!

      > Why don't we go back to an abacus and a slate?

      Just because something is new, doesn't mean that it is better. Otherwise everyone would already be using my new design for a car with four steering wheels and rear facing seats with the 'ultimate' cruise control option.

      What I don't get is what is so wonderful about Office 2007/2010 that justifies investing minimum 3 man-years (it doesn't say how many people were working...) of effort? At even low salary levels, how can you justify spending ~£100K* on something with no apparent benefits?

      OK, this is probably chump change for large organisations like banks... hang on a second...

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Decisions, decisions

    My lot are on the horns of this one right now. I've been an OO.o user at home for some years now, and it's even made its way into the office for purposes of dynamically generating documents from our database. I've no doubts about its power and efficacy for our in-house jobs, but compatibility - there's the rub.

    The only reason this is even being considered is because we need a new PC, and don't fancy the chances of getting Office 97 (yep, you read that right) installed on Windows 7. The brass are more than a bit resentful of being coerced to kiss-off paid-for software that's still perfectly equal to our needs, just because MS won't support it on their latest OS a mere 14 years down the line. I dunno, some people...

    I wasn't even going to mention OO.o in this context but it slipped out, and the more cost-conscious half of the management jumped on this like a leper on a tube of hydrocortisone. Then the other half - the half that does the lion's share of the document exchanging with other orgs - demanded guarantees on compatibility, which I thankfully wasn't arrogant enough to give.

    There were also worries about users having to re-learn skills with OO.o, but I must say it's interesting to hear so many people griping about that same issue in the context of moving to MSO 2007/2010. I can't see OpenOffice winning this particular skirmish, which is a bit sad as it's probably the best opportunity there will be for the foreseeable future. Oh well...

    Here's hoping Oracle put a bomb under OO.o and make it a more heavyweight competitor.

  22. Hugh_Pym

    The excuse has always been...

    ...'We stick with MS because it is what we know'. People are willing to pay for MS Office for simple word processing and spreadsheets rather than get a free tool that easily copes for such tasks and arguably much more simply to avoid a little re-training and unfounded worry about compatible file formats. This is the FUD MS have been spreading to sell Office for years. They have trained users to fear change in order to propagate lock in on their own software.

    Why are they surprised then that when they change 'what people know' i.e. the familiar interface and introduce file format worries that people don't want it.

  23. deadlockvictim

    I can't speak for the others

    I can't speak for the others, but Office 2010 has lowered our Total Cost of Ownership (as Microsoft products tend to do...).

    1. James Pickett


      "Office 2010 has lowered our Total Cost of Ownership"

      How's that, then?

    2. Steven Knox

      Lower TCO?

      You ARE Steve Ballmer, and I claim my free 60-day trial edition of Office 2010!

  24. David 155

    @ Michael C

    Sorry Michael but most of these new features are not much use in the environment I work in.

    Free PDF conversion we already have and using Outlook here always results in some sort of major FAIL so we have no interest in that.

    We are only just starting to install it for some people because of surprise- compatibility issues. A cynic might say these problems were intentional to get people to upgrade. As soon as one person has it and starts mailing round docx's etc its lighting the touchpaper.

  25. James Pickett


    “c'mon, get with the game... It's been out almost 4 years!”

    So? Some of us have to pay our own way, and unless a new version offers a usable, worthwhile improvement (the ribbon isn’t one) without buggering other things up (docx, etc) then there isn’t much incentive to change, is there?

    Still using Windows and Office 2k at home, and XP and 2k3 at work, where there is no rush to open their wallets and invite MS to help themselves. If only others would do likewise...

  26. Mage Silver badge

    Upgrades or Bloatware

    I still use Office XP / Office 2002. But gradually moving to Open Office.

    Parts of OO are better, but it still loads slower and prints slower in Windows XP than Office 2002.

    I hate the new ribbon interface. Can't see the point of it. Windows and Office seems to be going backwards.

  27. Mage Silver badge


    There is docX compatibility pack for Office 2002

  28. OrsonX


    How I wish I could go back to Office 2003. God I HATE that F-in ribbon SO much. I like my PC minimalist with only the icons I use regularly on display, instead I am forced to find the icon I want amongst every bloody possible frikkin icon - MORONS!!

    Secondly, as I suffer from migraines I liked the old blue-backgroun/white text option as it was easier on the eye.... THANKS A BUNCH M$ for removing this usability option!!!

  29. Wibble

    One percent if you're lucky

    Most average users of Office products that I know don't even know how to use the most basic of features such as styles. With the hundreds or thousands of features in Word, I bet most people won't use 1% of them let alone the esoteric features.

    What's the point in paying £100/year to Microsoft for Office updates (3 years at £300 give or take - and that's ignoring the real TCO uplift of support & training costs) for a word processor that people don't use.

    Stick with Office 2003 and be done with it. There's no need to upgrade.

    In any case, how do you print from the Ribbon? They seem to have forgotten to put that icon in. Oh, it's in the odd circle icon, WTF?

    It's all change purely for the sake of milking the cash cow.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When will people learn?

    "Problems include having to rewrite and test old VBA Office macros because they won't work in Office 2007, file incompatibilities, major interface changes, and instances where Outlook won't work on different versions of Microsoft's Exchange Server."

    The number one reason I have oft been given, by individuals and businesses alike, for not adopting Open Office is that it is not MS Office compatible and/or that a change in the environment and as a result the lost productivity as they have to relearn everything. This last one is simple fear, there is very little to 'relearn' unless you are writing Macros.

    MS has demonstrated that even their product is not compatible with older versions, they have broken their own macro language and provided a totally foreign GUI that has resulted in more productivity loss than the adoption of the Open Office alternative ever would have.

  31. I R Weasel

    SharePoint Integration, InfoPath

    Glossed over in a previous post but the integration with SharePoint/WSS in MSO 2007/2010 is not to be sneezed at. From a productivity point of view alone it's very useful, speeds up colaborative work tremendously and saves huge amounts of cash when developing apps within the enterprise.

    Very open to O.O and simmilar where they fit not just tying to blow an MS BS trumpet BTW. I'm pretty much platform agnostic but living in the current state of play not the imagined one.

    To my mild suprise my favourite addition to Office 2007 was OneNote (No really... ) I don't know why especially. I liked planning larger projects out in notebooks with tabs post-it notes and various addendums and OneNote feels a bit simmilar but searchable I guess? I thought it added value to the overall offering anyway.

    Also no one mentioned InfoPath 2007 which is an excellent and useful product within any appropriate business by any standard.

  32. AlterEgo77

    Self inflicted pain

    Unless you are a masochist, there is no reason to suffer so much pain.

    Switch to OpenOffice, Google Docs or Zoho and there goes your pain and in come the gain :)

  33. James Jago

    Reinventing The Wheel... And Squaring It

    (Disclaimer: I'm a hardware tech who spends relatively little time using Office for work.)

    I had a look at Office '07 the year it came out; the college where I was taking my A+ Certification had it installed on the machines there. (On a completely separate dual-boot of XP, which in hindsight I should have wondered about more.) I opened it, looked it over, and immediately thought: "Eye-catching, probably quite intuitive if you're not conditioned to the old system, but it'll take me a week to unlearn the old way of doing things and I doubt I'll be any better off for it."

    That's been my reaction to a lot of front-end tweaks MS have come out with, starting with the XP Start menu. (That was admittedly a matter of personal taste, since I habitually navigate the Start menu with the arrow keys.) That's where I think Microsoft has gone so fundamentally wrong; part of me wants to give them credit for being willing to innovate, but "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a cliche because it's a good creed to live by. Nobody appreciates being forced to adapt to drastic changes in procedures they've become accustomed to over a period of several years, especially if they're paying for the privilege, unless the learning process pays for itself in productivity gains very quickly. The ribbon does not achieve that. The revamped XP Control Panel did not achieve that. The heavy layer of graphical gloss added to Vista and Windows 7 certainly doesn't.

    @Robin Lee: "Migrate to OpenOffice... and get a reverse-engineered copy of Office 97." Can you name a feature added with Office 2000 onwards that's mission-critical to your job?

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