protocol7 archive
31 March 2007

Office 2007 horrors

A couple of weeks back I made the mistake of upgrading my Office 2003 to the bright and shiny Office 2007.

First of all, the new ribbons (huge toolbars for those of you who haven’t seen them) replacing menus are just pissing me off. The first couple of days I thought I was just going to adapt and learn how to find stuff on the ribbons. Simply put, this has not happened. I’m still struggling to find even to most basic things, adding significantly on the time I need to spend on tasks I don’t even enjoy doing. Adding insult to injury, there are things that I used in Office 2003 that I haven’t found at all (such as resetting the language on a selection in Powerpoint that contains mixed languages, the button just disappears). Not sure if it gone or if I’m just to stupid to find it among all icons and random buttons in strange locations (how about that Options button hidden at the bottom of the new application icon menu). And if these ribbons are all that good that Microsoft choose to throw out all menus (without any way of restoring them), shouldn’t they be used in all Office applications? Outlook still uses the menus just like before.

Second, I can’t seem to find options I used in Office 2003. The options panel back then was, arguable, pretty complex due to the amount of options. The new is greatly reduced in complexity, as far as I can see simply by removing options. That’s not a good solution.

Third, the performance is just crap. I’m on a fairly new Thinkpad with 2 Gb of RAM, one would think applications should be running blazing fast (most other do). However, all the Office applications are ridiculously slow. Opening a Word document now takes something like three times longer than in Office 2003. Outlook now integrates the indexed search that previously was available using the excellent Lookout plugin. Lookout was able to find all matching emails quite a bit quicker than the new search even switches to the search result panel, let alone shows any results.

Is this really the best Microsoft can do on their flagship product? They should have all their smartest people working on the Office team (those not busy with Vista of course) and still, this is the crap they ship? I just set OpenOffice to be the default option for all Office documents and I’m very happy with that choice. Writer will start and open a Word document faster than Word manages to show the splash screen (yes, really). Unfortunately, I’m still on Outlook as I have yet to find a worthy replacement, Evolution on Linux looks promising but doesn’t yet have the polish. But, at least Outlook (still) has menus.

All in all, moving to OpenOffice only makes my planned migration to Ubuntu that much easier. So, the end result might be positive.

tags: Applications