Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Office 2007 - the bizarre bits

I've been using Office 2007 on XP for a few months.

My overall impressions are:
  1. Excel: few real changes, maybe slightly improved
  2. PowerPoint: Using themes in PPT 2003 mode is ... a recipe for madness.
  3. Word: mostly better, but some odd new gaps
  4. Access: buggy and mostly worse for what I do (data analysis, manipulation)
  5. Outlook: almost every significant new feature is broken, some hideously broken. For heaven's sake, don't try the feed reader sync with IE 7 on a non-trivial feed list -- unless you like to see your machine meltdown. Some ancient bugs were fixed.
If you're on Office 2003 you should wait about 2 months post Office 2007 SP2.

The main benefits of Office 2007 seem to be that it does work, awkwardly, with Sharepoint 2007 document management, whereas Office 2003 is a total fail. (Non-Office applications are even worse, which suggests that the European anti-trust effort has finally collapsed.)

Which brings me to the bizarre stuff I keep running across then forget about. I'll put one in one or two then add more. These aren't bugs -- those are too numerous (esp in Outlook 2007) to list. These aren't rants on the half-baked user-customizeable quick reference bar or the new UI (which is dumb but I'm used to it now), these are just bizarre design choice.
  1. Word tables: There's a whizzy new table creator, but we've lost control over row and cell attributes. Try to copy table cell shading from one cell to another cell. The table overall didn't work; the Office team should figure out what went wrong and fix it.
  2. Word auto-format: Even more intrusive, though less often wrong.
  3. In Outlook 2007, unlike 2003, you can't
  4. PowerPoint "Theme" revision - at least when used in PPT 2003 compatibility mode. Oh, my, Lord ...
Update 11/4/09: The more I use it, the more I wish Microsoft would go away (they won't)
  1. In Outlook there's no visual indicator to differentiate between blocked times (appointments) and meetings (has attendees). When I look at my calendar I'm not sure whether I'm late for some work I set for myself or if I've got people waiting for me.
  2. I hate, hate, hate that I can't get PowerPoint to open windows on more than a single monitor. (To be fair, I think Microsoft screwed this up ages ago).
See also:

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