My Experience With Office 2007
So Office 2007 was released in February (?) of 2007 for the public, just before Windows Vista was released. A lot of people were excited about this new version of Office, especially since the last version came out in 2003.Microsoft really out-did themselves with numerous changes to all of the Office windows. They replaced the menu bar that everyone was oh-so-familiar with, with what they call a ribbon.
The Ribbon, a panel that houses the command buttons and icons, organizes commands as a set of Tabs, each grouping relevant commands. Each application has a different set of tabs which expose the functionality that application offers. For example, while Excel has a tab for the Graphing capabilities, Word does not feature the same. Instead it has tabs to control the formatting of the document. Within each tab, various related options may be grouped together. The Ribbon is designed to make the features of the application more discoverable and accessible with fewer mouse clicks as compared to the menu-based UI used until Office 2007.Enough about the technicalities, when I installed the new Office 2007, the first thing I actually had to do was tweak some things on my resume in Microsoft Word. This is a document I’ve been working with for year’s. A document that I created and have tweaked and edited on multiple occasions. It shouldn’t be any different this time, right? Wrong! One of the simplest elements of my documents, the tab stops, needed to be changed. While this is not a difficult task, and they needed changing not because the new version had done anything crazy to the document, finding the Tab Options within the crazy ribbon was impossible. It literally took me clicking 100+ times and eventually having to look it up, just to learn that you can get to it from the Paragraph Options window, which you can get to by clicking the little tiny arrow in the bottom left of each section of the ribbon. I know, it sounds complicated, right? Well, it is, at least I thought. Honestly, I haven’t ran into too many other problems. Really though, it’s not like there have actually been any problems, just a learning curve that all of us proficient in the Office Suite will have to learn. Now, I’ve been informed that we’ll be installing it very soon here at work, which is good that we’ll be getting the latest edition of the software, it means that I’ll have a much shorter time to get familiarized with the package. Something I have found that is incredibly useful, but not so much if you’re trying to teach yourself the ways of the ribbon, is a Microsoft Office 2007 add-in that shows the classic menus and toolbars on the ribbon. I know right, how useful is that? I was ecstatic when I found it. It’s just what I need, particularly when I’m short on time and need to edit a document fast. You can find this neat and little invention at AddinTools.com. Check it out! It comes with a 15 day trial that you can download, and if you like it… it’s only $30, which may be worth it to give your productivity the boost it needs to get it back up to speed. Also, I discovered that you can install the new Office 2007 without getting rid of your old 2003 installation. Just choose to NOT update during installation. It’s just that simple. Something else I should discuss is the fact that Microsoft also changed the default file extension for the new Office products. They all add an ‘x’ to the extension. For example, in all previous versions of Microsoft Word the file would save as Document.doc (doc being the extension), the new version of Microsoft Office now saves the same file as Document.docx (docx being the extension). This may not seem like a big deal, particularly if you don’t know the true purpose of file extensions, but essentially this means that you cannot (without a plugin…keep reading) open Office 2003 documents in Office 2007. Eww, yuck, right? Exactly, this becomes a problem for pretty much everyone if you’re not careful. By default Microsoft saves the files in this new file format, however you can make it save the file in the old format either manually or by default. This may not be such a bad idea until more people begin to use the New Office 2007. Briefly, you can save the file with the old extension by clicking the Save button (little floppy disk looking icon in the top left-hand corner) and selecting Office 97-2003 in the Save As box underneath where you would type the name you’d like to save your file as. I hope this hasn’t been too confusing, I’m normally much better at descriptions, but I don’t want this post to be SO lengthy. =D If you don’t have the new version of Office and would like to be able to open these documents with your version you can download the Microsoft Office compatibility pack from Microsoft here. I hope this hasn’t been too much… hopefully next time I’ll be able to shorten it a bit, or just break it up into segments… we’ll see.