Rolling Back from Office 2007

Feb 13, 2008 by

I thought you all would find this amusing. After trying to use Office 2007 for about a month, I rolled back to Office 2003 last Friday – and boy, am I happy with that decision.

There were several issues of concern that I had with the new Office 2007:

  • Incompatibility with Adobe Acrobat 8 – I build a lot of PDFs from multiple files, especially for online classes, and this feature did not work with Office 2007.
  • Lack of customizability. In Office 2003, you can build custom toolbars, rearrange the toolbars, add and remove buttons, and even pop the toolbars out to other areas of the screen. Guess what? That’s all GONE in Office 2007. Oh sure, you get a “Quickbar” where you can put commonly-used buttons, but I have three rows of “commonly-used buttons” and you can’t organize those into a single quickbar.
  • I wanted to get rid of several tabs on the ribbon that I will never use (like the Mail tab). You can’t. That’s annoying – what a waste of good screen space.
  • The programs in Office 2007 took FOREVER to load. It didn’t seem to matter whether it was Word, PowerPoint, or Excel – every program wasted precious class time in a sloooooooow loading process.

What finally tipped the scales to the roll-back? I discovered that for the Mac Office 2008 version, all the customizable features of Office 2003 still exist. If Microsoft is going to remove features in “updates,” but leave them in for Mac users, I am going to assume they are TRYING to drive me away to another operating system.

Lately, I’ve been using some of the Google Apps for text and spreadsheet documents. I’ve got one gradebook on Google Spreadsheets, and several documents on Google Docs. Why? It makes them very easy to access from both work and home computers.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – Is that safe? What if it gets hacked? What about FERPA? The files are, of course, password-protected. But to make doubly sure there would be no possible problems, I did not put ANY identifying information on the spreadsheet. Student names are only first name + last initial. There are no student numbers, no phone numbers, no email addresses, just the names, a random number to post grades with, and grades.

I can access the grade-spreadsheet from my home computer, from the computer in one of the labs, from a friend’s computer, from a student’s computer, etc. That is awfully convenient.

Hmm… maybe I won’t need Microsoft’s Office for too much longer… how glad am I now that I haven’t purchased a new computer with Vista?

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  1. Jutti

    What do you call someone who buys/uses the first release of a Microsoft product? Beta Tester!

    Seriously, I never buy anything Microsoft produces until it has been around long enough for others to have worked out all the bugs.

  2. Frank

    I rolled back from Office 2008 to 2004 – and I use a Mac. Office 2008 does not allow Math Type integration at all and that’s a deal killer for me. The Design Science web site claims that the lack of VBA in 2008 prevents any fixes from them – the fault is Microsoft. Seems silly to alieniate the technical users/educators.

  3. Maria H. Andersen

    Yup – that would be a dealbreaker for me too.

  4. Robert

    I just had Office 2008 put on my Mac, and I have to say in spite of myself that I think it’s actually very nice. All the office programs actually *look like* Mac apps — and look nothing like their Windows Office 2007 counterparts. Entourage (= Outlook) in particular has undergone a really positive transformation. It’s actually somewhat usable now and doesn’t slow my system to a crawl when it’s on.

    As for the Mathtype, I never use Word for math typesetting anyway (it’s LaTeX all the way for me) so that’s not an issue.

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