Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Outlook 2007. Don't. Use. New. Features.

I switched my work machine to Office 2007 a few months ago.
  • Excel - minimally changed. Mostly better.
  • Word - big changes. Maybe they fixed their ten year old broken formatting model, but the new model requires .docx files so I can't tell. Mostly annoying, esp the asinine shortcut bar UI, but it's ok.
  • PowerPoint: improved. Update: It's bloody awful when used in PPT 2003 compatibility mode. Beyond that I cannot say.
  • Access: yech. Some old bugs fixed, some new bugs added, some old functionality lost. A real pain to re-learn. Still, good Sharepoint integration -- that counts for something.
And then ... there's ... Outlook 2007.

Sweet mother. Who the Hell coded the new features of Outlook 2007? Was it outsourced to Latveria? Did someone fail to tell the engineers when code cut-off was?

They fixed some old bugs, but almost all the new capabilities, like RSS feed sync with IE 7 or the internet calendar subscription or the calendar publishing ... or .. well ... everything new ... is basically horked.

Oh, and I think they got the new menuing system half done and then gave up. Every item seems to have its own peculiar menu structure.

Categories now have color assignments? Good luck reading your purple colored Notes (Memos)!

If you're on Outlook 2007 in a corporate Exchange environment I implore you -- don't try any of the new features. Just stay with the old stuff, it's not too bad.

You've been warned.

Update: Ok, so Microsoft knows Outlook 2007 sucks. Waiting for SP2 prior to installing Office 2007 is definitely recommended.

Update 8/20/08: Never, ever subscribe to internet calendar sharing. You won't be able to remove them. Official recommendation - try "/cleanprofile" then wipe and start over. I suspect the bug is triggered by larger calendars.

Update 8/21/08: I may have a lead on the 'unable to unsubscribe to internet calendar sharing bug'. The story is that even after deleting the various data files, subscription settings, and even the .PST files where the data is stored Exchange sync will still report errors and Outlook will recreate the data file and subscription references.

A clue is that even after deleting these settings, if one looks in the Send Receive Settings:Define (Ctrl-Alt-S) one will see 'Internet calendars' as a persistent member of the Send/Receive group.

Microsoft's engineers forgot that if one removes an internet calendar subscription, it must also be removed from the send/receive group.

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