Office 2007: Good or Bad?

Overview: The Purpose of Office 2007

When Office 2007 finally came out, many users were disappointed, and many were satisfied. This is in stark contrast to previous Office releases, which have all been largely accepted by the Office-using community. However, the major changes that took place in the new version of the software were largely misunderstood as an "unnecessary makeover" or an "extreme overkill" of perfectly good software. If you take it upon yourself to do a little research and get down deeper into WHY the changes were made, you begin to understand things a little better. This is especially true for users that haven't been forced to use the new versions. Unfortunately, many HAVE been forced to use the new Office 2007, and I am genuinely sorry for those who were used to the old interface. I can certainly understand and agree that after becoming accustomed to an interface for 5+ years, it would be quite irritating to have it completely overhauled, without any way to go back and use it efficiently like you're used to. I count myself fortunate to not be among that crowd; I have found the new interface to be far more efficient to use and easier for me to find things. It is too bad it couldn't be that way for all users.

So, it's time to answer the question. WHY was such a big deal made about the new version? WHY did so much extra work go into the user interface? WHY did it have to be so different from the old versions?

The answer is that Microsoft supposedly wanted to "reveal" features to users rather than have them hidden behind endless menus, submenus, and dialog boxes, forcing the user to have to look in a different place for each option. Instead, they developed a tabbed look that sorts all available options into similar tabs, so that you can see pretty much everything you can do, and don't have to navigate a maze of menus to get to anything. You can, of course, invoke dialog boxes for certain aspects of your documents if you prefer, which adds a slight amount of traditional feel to the application. This can be done in any "pod" in the ribbon that has a tiny icon in the lower-right corner. Clicking on this icon will bring up the traditional dialog box for the options in that pod, if there was one. Whether this change truly revealed new features or hid them is still largely debatable, and depends on each particular user. I found plenty of new features within minutes of using the new software; however, for most users, it seems this wasn't the case, in fact it was quite the opposite.

Every version including and preceding Office 2003 used the menu system rather than the ribbon. All these "pre-ribbon" versions had, for the most part, the same exact features you can use in Office 2007. In other words, not much was added to the software feature-wise. The primary difference is in how many features users are able to find and use. On average, the basic (non-tech-savvy) user will use 23 or so different features on a word document in Office 2003 or a previous version. With the new Office 2007, that average has risen to nearly 70 features per document. That's a lot of extra feature usage! Why bother to even program the features if no one is going to use them? The whole point of Office 2007 and the new ribbon is to make it easier for users to find the features they want to use, but do not necessarily know about. In fact, after Office 2007 was released, statistics show that most of the "new" features that users were trying out had been available in the past, but the users just didn't know about them, or couldn't find them. I can certainly attest to this; many of the features I thought were new had been previously hidden in a submenu or dialog that I was unaware of, and now is exposed plainly on the ribbon.

Now that you know WHY Office 2007 is the way it is, let's look deeper into various parts of it and see what has really been done.

The New Look

Obviously, the user interface has undergone the most drastic changes. Again, this is mostly to allow the user to more easily find features that he/she wants, as well as find by accident features that the user didn't know about.

The main source of frustration for users switching to Office 2007, at least in my experience, is the Office Button. Why this is such a problem is a mystery to me--the office button was the very first thing I saw when I opened the program. I'm not sure why--it could be that it was flashing prominently, that it was 20 percent brighter than the rest of the screen, that it was the biggest button in the interface, or that it was right in the upper-left corner (which is the first place my eyes go to anyway!) So if you somehow missed all that, let me just put it to you straight: yes, you can click that, it's a button. It's basically the equivalent of the file menu in previous versions, but more interactive. It has two halves--the left half is the commands, such as new, open, save, yada yada yada. The right half is a nifty recent file list, which you can also pin files into so they always stay there (click the little thumbtack). Also at the bottom of the right half are the "Options" and "Exit" buttons.

Next we have the two customizeable bars: the quick access toolbar (at the very, very top of the screen) and the status bar (at the very, very bottom). The quick access toolbar is, basically, the toolbar from older versions of Office. It's just a lot easier to customize. Also, the status bar, which used to be an amalgamation of various who-knows-what gizmos all bunched up down there (where no one ever looks anyway) is now a sleek and efficient second toolbar. It's more for displaying things like word count, line number and page number, and the lock key states as well as insert or overwrite mode. It's as easy to customize and as helpful to use as the quick access toolbar.

The newest part is called "The Ribbon", which is the long, thick part just underneath the tabs that has all the options and buttons and everything in little pod-like containers that glow when hovered over. This is quite different from the bland, menu-driven interface of past versions. No longer do you have to find the exact submenu, dialog, and tab for only one option; instead, all options are displayed directly on the ribbon, and can be easily and quickly accessed. Some users complain that the ribbon takes up too much space--however, if you double-click on any of the tabs, the ribbon will hide itself until you open another tab (or double-click the same tab again). There are also three "themes" that you can use: Blue, Silver, and Obsidian. To change the theme, click the Office Button (again, it's that huge, flashing circle in the upper-left corner, you can't miss it) and go to "Word Options" at the bottom next to the exit button (or "Excel Options" if you're in Excel, and so forth). Click the "Popular" button on the left, and change the "Color Scheme" option to whichever of the three schemes you want.

The Features

Okay, so the user interface has been completely revamped. But is that IT? I mean, is that ALL they did to make Office better? Thankfully, the answer is no.

Many new features besides the UI have been improved, including backwards compatibility, document formatting, visual styles, live previews, and better drawing tools called SmartArt.

Backwards Compatibility

You can still open and save documents in formats from 97 to 2003 versions of Office. This is a great help for those who don't have 2007 and still need to use the old formats, or for more reliable backups.

Document Formatting (*.docx, *.xlsx, *.pptx, *.mdbx)

The new document formats are not only compressed so that they take up less than half the space of old formats, but they are saved using XML, a new tool that is becoming increasingly popular, especially in web design. These new formats will give you a level of quality never before seen in Office documents.

Visual Styles

You can now use and define custom styles for any Office document, and use them again and again. These are similar to the old "header / normal text" styles that could be found in the font toolbar, but they can now be redefined to your needs, so that you'll always have the styles you want.

Live Previews

Didn't you hate having to apply a change to a whole document, realize that it wasn't what you wanted, change it all back, and then reapply a new one? I certainly knew, when it happened to me, that there were better ways I could have spent five minutes. Now this problem is gone with the introduction of live previews--see what the changes will look like before you make them! A little window will pop up and show you a preview of what the new style or text will look like before you actually change anything.


Remember all those shapes and different things on the drawing toolbar? Now, this has been standardized and dubbed "SmartArt." It's a little drawing that you can put all those shapes and lines and things into, and it functions as a unit that can be easily moved from one application to another, or copied among other documents.

The Verdict: Good or Bad?

Office 2007 may not be right for you, but feature-wise, there are certainly some great new options available. The trashing of a completely-usable interface that probably 90% of the everyday users were accustomed to is definitely a downside. At the very least, they could have allowed for a much slower transition (or none at all if preferred) by making the new interface an available option, but not the default one, instead keeping all defaults the same. Gradual changes, rather than earth-shaking and interface-crushing ones, are generally the better choice.

So, the verdict is, Office 2007 is good for users who can use the new interface efficiently, but bad for those who prefer the traditional menus. I would encourage you to at least give it a try on computers that have it before deciding to buy it or not. If this isn't possible, you can download a 30-day trial version from Microsoft's website. Chances are that if Office 2007 isn't for you, you already know it. The only catch is, if you want to take advantage of all the new features, the ribbon comes with it. No matter what you choose, I hope that you can benefit from and enjoy your choice as much as I enjoy Office 2007.

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Comments 38 comments

Microsoft Office free download fan 9 years ago

I have been using Microsoft Office 2007 for a few weeks and I really like it.

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Cybermouse 8 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

Neato! I'm glad you like it. I was kind of forced into getting it because my old office screwed up and I couldn't find the install CD, but I had no idea that the new Office I was getting would be this awesome. Thanks for the comment!

Mike 8 years ago

I actually find Office 2007 much more difficult and frustrating to use. The features I most use have been hidden away behind the ribbon when they used to be right there where I could get to them. Additionally, I used to be able to create my own floating toolbars with the commands I need and then I can hide the built-in toolbars completely if I want. I can then move these custom toolbars around to the place at which I am actually working in the document.

Unfortunately, this powerful capability was removed in Office 2007 -- evidently, Microsoft feels they know best how I should be working.

Consequently, my productivity in Office is much lower now that they have switched us over to Office 2007 at work. And I have been trying for over a year to get used to it. The Ribbon is confusing, dumbed down (it was designed with the novice user in mind), and takes longer to get to the same features that used to be quickly accessible in previous versions -- that is, if I can even find what I am looking for. It took two weeks for me to figure out where Word had hidden Heading 2 style. I couldn't find anything in Help (that's a mess too).

I'm no dummy -- I develop software for a living and I simply cannot be productive in Office 2007. If they ever "ribbonize" Visual Studio, I'm screwed.

The article says "if you don't like it, don't use it", but a lot of people don't get the choice at work. However, at home I have the choice, and I will NOT be letting Office 2007 taint my home computers.

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Cybermouse 8 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

I agree that the custom toolbars was a definite loss. I, too, like to customize the locations of most of the toolbars, especially in Visual Studio as you mentioned. For word or excel I prefer the ribbon, but I doubt I would be very disappointed if they ever bring the ribbon to Visual Studio. I find it interesting that you called the ribbon "confusing" as well as "dumbed down" which seem to be opposites of each other. Generally when something gets dumbed down it becomes less confusing and easier to use, which is exactly what they were doing for Office 2007. I can't imagine anyone actually enjoying using the old office--the endless menus and dialogs. Custom floating and docking was about all the old system had going for it. By the way, customization is still available in Office 2007--more of it, in fact, than in the previous office suites. Now you can customize the status bar as well as the ribbon toolbar. I have trouble understanding how it took you two weeks to find one feature--within a day of using it I had already discovered about thirty new features in each program that I had never known about before, most of which had been available previously but were hidden in the maze of menus, submenus, and vast dialog windows. It looks so much more sleek and open that I don't understand how you can say that anything is "hidden." The goal for Office 2007 was to make sure that nothing was hidden, and as far as I'm concerned, they succeeded. Also you mentioned that I said "if you don't like it, don't use it." However, if you had read the previous statement, you would have noticed that I said that only applies to those who haven't been forced to use the new software, and since you have been forced to use it at work, the statement was not meant to apply to you. It's unfortunate that your company uninstalled the old versions--my college did not, so students can choose the Office version they prefer. I'm also surprised that you develop software--I thought that part of being a software developer was to be as efficient as possible in whatever software you have to use. It seems odd that you "can't be productive" just because of the new ribbon. I taught myself BASIC in two weeks when I was twelve years old, using Visual Basic 3.0 (for windows 3.1) because that's all I had. You'd be surprised what one can do with an ancient laptop and Visual Basic 3.0. Saying you can't be productive because of the new interface is like saying you can't ride a bike because it has training wheels. Also, if you'd be in trouble just because they ribbonize visual studio, then it's a shame you never devoted any time to programming in other IDE's. Trust me, there's a lot of good IDE's out there besides visual studio. I'm sure you could be just as productive in NetBeans, JCreator, or Dev C++. They're not going to be using the ribbon any time soon, that's for sure.

fjenkins 8 years ago

Its good to make a change in what you do this good to update and to known what's new

amy 8 years ago

Office 2007 sucks. I hate it.

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Cybermouse 8 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

Ah well, we are all entitled to our opinions. Then again no one can please everyone, not even Microsoft (although they rarely do anyway).

Jack bauer 8 years ago

Its the best

David Marsden 8 years ago

The disappointing thing for me is that many shortcuts have changed.

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Cybermouse 8 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

Ah, but David, the keyboard shortcuts can all be customized. You can change them all back to the way you liked them before. Simply click the Office button, then "Word/Excel Options" and then the customize tab. At the bottom of this screen, click the "Customize" button next to where it says "Keyboard Shortcuts."

Sammy 7 years ago

"Ah, but David, the keyboard shortcuts can all be customized. You can change them all back to the way you liked them before." Uh, but this is the problem, isn't it? Why did MS require users who already knew Word to change things back to the way they were before? At worst, 2007 should have overlaid the standard menus on the ribbon, so that users familiar with Word 2003 and predecessors would not not have had to waste time futzing around learning to become efficient once again. What would have been lost? Nothing, since the persons who preferred using only the menu could have ignored the menus, and the persons who preferred using only the menu options could have ignored the ribbon. As it is, some programmer invented an overlay for the software that...restores the old menu setup. Except that you have to pay extra for this add-on. Where things go on the ribbon does not always seem all that intuitive to me either. What is "intuitive" is informed by previous experience or lack of experience with MS Word, but, again, this is the point. MS simply ignored the fact that many previous users of the software would not have wanted to waste time relearning it in order to be able to cope with Word docs that would be showing up in the new format.

Martin 7 years ago

I really would like to like Office2007, but after using it several months I must say that there are some problems with the user interface. I seldomly use the help feature in programs, but in Office 2007 i need to use it often to find the features.

Like to insert a page break? – Sure, go to the Insert tab.

Like to insert a section break? – Don’t look in the Insert tab, go to the Page layout tab….

Most actions now require two mouse clicks instead of one, first selecting the tab and then the desired function.

Of course there are nice things in Office 2007, but the ribbon interface is not one of them.

BW022 7 years ago

>The answer is that Microsoft wanted to "reveal" features

>to users rather than have them hidden behind endless

>menus, ...

Then it is a failure. Why are ribbons any better than menus and dialogs? IMO, as implemented, they aren't. My reasons for feeling this way are:

a) They are used inconsistantly. Some windows have ribbons, some don't.

b) They provide a less consistant display of information. Rather than a single vertical list of text, you get a series of icons (big and small) with text of different sizes and colors, which are sometimes horizontal and sometimes vertical.

c) Their actions are inconsistent. Some create child windows, some drop menu lists, some popup menus, some open a dialog, some show/hide panels, etc.

d) They don't display everything and repeatedly rely on the same navigation items which they are trying to replace - dialogs, more menus, etc.

e) Grouping of items is illogical. Say Outlook, why is HTML under a group called Format of the Options tab and not just under the Format tab?

f) Because they are trying to use ribbons rather than a menu or dialog, they run into real world space issues which forces them to not group things together. Yes, an options dialog might take some time to explore, but you are pretty sure it is there. An options ribbon can't display 50 options, so... it moves them to other ribbons, dialogs, and sub-menus anyway.

g) They often display multiple views of things and the default view is limited. For example, in Word, they show "styles" in a ribbon, but only some of them. You can spend hours trying to figure where the complete list is, trying to add them to this sub-list, etc. only to find a tiny (unlabeled) icon which displays the actual list of styles.

h) Because ribbons are limited in terms of space MS needs to make choices of what to show and what not to. And because ribbons are there, folks assume that if their option isn't clearly visible on a ribbon, it must be on another ribbon. i.e. you are looking for 1.5 spacing. You look under Home, look at all the Formating group and don't see it. Is your first thought to click on the 6 pixel unlabeled icon at the bottom of the group, or to assume that it must be in some other group or ribbon?

Sorry, if you access common items (which you know) it is no faster than an icon (and in most cases slower). If you know what you are looking for and it isn't on the default ribbons, it is much slower than menus or dialogs to find.

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Cybermouse 7 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

BWO22, that is an excellent list of reasons why you don't like the new interface. I always like it much better when someone presents proof rather than just opinions. There isn't much there that I disagree with either, but personally, I am a more visual person and I like the new look a lot better. I would rather have to look around in the ribbon than in a menu because it is more pleasant to look at. However, I realize that's a rather shallow reason to like something better, but it suits me just fine. Add the fact that I have had to do a lot less looking for things when using the ribbon, and that's good enough for me. But it is obvious that Microsoft has put off a lot of customers with their decision not to include the old interface as an option. And that is a problem that only Microsoft can fix, if they are wise enough to do so.

Franspot 7 years ago

Office 2007 is really the worst MS Office I have seen in a long time. The new ribbon is really stupid, is for novice, It's a toy office

giulio 7 years ago

office 2007 is good for elementary school kids. it is an offense to human intelligence to provide such a stupid interface. go '' : it's lighter, safer and free!

Tracy 7 years ago

I agree whole-heartedly with Mike - Microsoft always tries to make their software best for the novice which continually takes control away from the advanced user until they can find a way around Microsoft's control. It's very unfortunate that at work you rarely have an alternative to Microsoft. I am a certified master instructor in 2003 so this is not coming from an inexperienced user. Office 2007 is the first version that made me say, "I hate Microsoft."

Swane R 7 years ago

Office 2007 is very very very bad!

Chris 6 years ago

This office 2007 is made for ediots. For advanced users that need access to important areas of excel, it takes more time to get to it, than before. Sorry office 2007 needs to go back and give the user an option to look like the new 2007 or the older style. This layout sucks.

Douglas Lehman 6 years ago

I understand why opinions are so divided on Office 2007, as I've observed many uses of it in meetings and seen how my colleagues have dealt with it. I think the fault line runs along the lines of how users view their software. I see one group of people that view the software as a tool to efficiently manage information and be productive at work. Another group of people, such as Cybermouse who are more attuned to how it looks and feels. People who know how to type probably prefer the systematic nature of Word 2003 where so much of the work can be accomplished with relative little use of the mouse and only cursory glances to the various menus. The "ribbon", which in my opinion, bears no resemblance to any sort of ribbon, is pretty, but is really lacking in logic. The user can contemplate the upper third of the screen that is filled with the pods (of the ribbon??) and click on something that looks like it might be helpful. Microsoft was careful to change most of the terms used so that users will go through the experience akin to learning a new language. I spent, for example, 45 minutes trying to get my new (Vista) computer to hibernate, and finally gave up. The term hibernate definitely exists, but there is no hint anywhere the the help service as to how to get it to work. The Office 2007 software is I think designed like a video game adventure for people who like to play around on computers. Cybermouse, you really are stretching things when you posit that it is practical to click away the ribbon so you can see your spreadsheet and then click it back into existence each and every time you want to use an icon. EXCEL 2003's icons were so manageable, clear to understand, small and out of the way. And the menus always gave you a backup plan if you don't like icons. Why, I wonder, didn't the makers of Office 2007 give users the option of a 2003 interface? I remember when 2003 came out, everyone went for the "classic" view of the control panel because that was so much more efficient that going through the notional "themes" window before getting to change anything. So, if you like an adventure and don't need to be very productive, then I think 2007 is a nice option. Otherwise, if you know how to type, and you're not enamored of clicking the mouse, then you might go with 2003.

A Rand 6 years ago

I agree with everyone that is "con" 2007. I'm a developer. I develop in Office and VS and a couple of other tools. When one of my clients decided to move to 2007 a couple of years ago, I didn't think much of it until while on one of their workstations it took me 1/2 hour to find a feature in MS Access (I don't remember now what it was) that was very easy to find before. 2007 is for Disneyland, not serious production. MS wants to make everything easy but as a result they make it harder (I don’t think there is a contradiction between “confusing” and “dumbed down”). I refuse to go to 2007 until I absolutely have no choice because as one poster noted, it would make me less productive. One thing that I was surprised not to see among the comments was the fact that it just plain takes up too much vertical space. It's so much more efficient to see a few words than a bunch of huge icons. Come on. Be serious MS! It’s called “Office” not “Kindergarten.” And I didn't know that it's customization is so limited as it seems from other posts in here. That's a bit scary. I sure hope that 2010 takes a step back and allows for a "classic" look & feel to accommodate those of us that don't need to feel like we're at an amusement park while we're working. Look at the ridiculous animated paper clip we all hated and the silly little dog and going further back the inception of the "my" in front of everything. Maybe MS collaborates with Spielberg!

John 6 years ago

I would happily have continued with 2003, but too much is coming at me in 2007 docx format.

Its fine, as long as you have web access to constantly google where thre completely "unintuitive" bits and options are hidden.

One of the woorst bits fo sofware design I have ever experienced. 12 months using it, and its no easier, still unintuitive, and I wish I had an alternate ...

I hate MS mindset !

Dan 6 years ago

Excel is miserable. Especially if large amounts of data need to be modified. Charting is PAINFUL. Where before an operation could be repeated by selecting multiple objects now each one has to modified separately. I've been crunching data for many years and 2007/2010 versions of Office are great steps backwards solely because Microsoft wanted to use XML based software. Probably so they can outsource programming.

Huzz 6 years ago

I am stuck with Office 2007. After several weeks, I find it dysfunctional in organization, cluttered, overly complicated, filled with 100's of items I will never use, and wasteful of precious screen space. The Excel program gives errors on any cell that I touch, even though the error checker says everything is fine. Powerpoint editing requires bouncing between the tabs to do what once was conveniently in one place, Word has created display formats that I cannot suppress (split screens, inserting comments in other languages, with arrows, and highlights- pretty impressive self-actualization by the software! Reminiscent of the Blackberry if you accidentally put it in the holster backwards and it changes to Catalana... I bought my wife a new high-end notebook with 7 and 2007- she put it on a shelf and uses the old desktop....

I guess if you think like a Gatesian, it is obvious, but I have only been working with, and building (from scratch), computers and networks since 1969, so i am a bit of a newbie.

Allan_Vancouver 6 years ago

I just found this thread after seeing that the "glorious, wonderful, awe-inspiring" "RIBBON" feature is being added to Office for Mac 2011. I'm very much on the critical side of the "ribbon" discussion. One thing that was very useful in this thread was BW022's post described how to change line spacing in Word 2007 -- I had never been able to find it in Word or Powerpoint, so Hubpages has helped me today. Thanks to BW022.

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Cybermouse 6 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

I hate to repeat myself, but many people who have commented here obviously didn't read any comments before posting. So I'll repeat myself.

I agree completely that it was a bad decision on Microsoft's part not to include a way to revert to the old menu system, for users who liked it that way. At least they learn their lesson; I've heard that it's a planned feature for Office 2010.

Now that that's out of the way:

Douglas Lehman, it's a shame you think that because YOU can't be productive with the ribbon, that NO ONE can. I can be extremely productive in Office 2007, much more so than in previous versions. Also you said it was stretching things that I said it was practical to have to repeatedly hide and unhide the ribbon. I NEVER SAID IT WAS PRACTICAL. Some advice about appearing to know what you're talking about: don't put words in other people's mouths and then argue against that. It's a common logical fallacy. I'm quite sure that if I used excel as much as you do, I would find it impractical. However, I don't. I'm a writer. Therefore, I spend most of my time in Word, typing, rather than using options, typing, then using more options. I tend to use options all at the same time, and then type a lot. And if it isn't obvious by now, I know how to type very well, as I should. I've been doing it for over a decade. Also, it was incredibly naive of you to claim that I like to "play around on computers" simply because I like the ribbon interface. I am a SOFTWARE DEVELOPER. I design computer programs, like Microsoft office. Therefore, it is inevitable that I would have a different perspective on Office 2007 than non-programmers, at the very least. Do I like to play around on computers? Sure I do. But that has absolutely nothing to do with why I like the ribbon better than the old menu system. I personally find it more efficient. That it is also nice to look at is simply a bonus.

Huzz, since you must know far more than I do about computers, I think it's a shame that Microsoft was more keen on pleasing newer users like me rather than people with experience and know-how like yourself. I have yet to meet someone older than my generation that likes Office 2007 better than previous versions. Likewise, my generation (from what I can tell) prefers the new version because we haven't grown attached to the old ones, at least not enough that the changes would negatively impact our productivity.

Gary 6 years ago

How are obscure icons clustered together, impossible to distiguish, better than clear text. MS Office 2007 is terrible. I'm afraid though that because society is generally dumbing down and don't like to read (less words the better), this dung will stick. The next version will be a package of crayons and dot to dot picture pages.

Timmy 6 years ago

Cybermouse your "generation" may well be happier with the new office 2007 and it's inane toolbar, it seems to go with the delight you seem to find in a pictographic interface and juiceboxes rather than cogent software designed to enhance features rather than make them useless.

Factually as an email editor MS Word 2007 -the choice for the new Outlook- is simply a disaster. If you had in your vast typing experience of ten whole years ever used a custom stationary you might then understand that this is no longer possible in 2007.

Let's say you want to put the logo from your favorite juicy box (or company graphic)in the background as your stationary for emails, no can do.

Microsquish didn't make it so you cant use it.

Perhaps while cheerleading for these boobs you might want to investigate a new concept, called "Constancy" and the expectation of maintaining it.

As to improvements next time, all I need is now Office 2010 to fix some of the glaring issues in 2007 and create a whole new set for the rest of us to deal with - at a cost of upwards of $200.00 per revision.

Oh and try to learn Excel it might be enlightening for you, as a typer or is it typist?

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Cybermouse 5 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author


I am not a typist, I am a programmer. I have a double major Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, and I know how to use Excel far better than most. I might suggest right back to you that you learn how to use MS Access; it might be enlightening for you.

I find it interesting that you say it's not possible to put logos or create stationary in the background of Word 2007. I find it interesting because it IS possible. Granted, it took me a whole 5 minutes of doing a Google search to figure it out. I would't go around blaming a whole generation for a decision Microsoft made, just because we are more visual learners than you are. Personally, I don't like the ribbon because it's visual; I like it because it works better for me. I've found far more options and used pre-existing features I didn't know about than before, now that I can see them all and they are not hidden in a vast menu system.

Here's how to do custom stationary in Word 2007 (you need FrontPage 2003, or a good knowledge of HTML):


I realize there are a great deal of circumstances in which this will not work, and I agree that it was a bad decision for Microsoft to remove the built-in functionality for this from Word 2007. You mention the concept of "constancy" but in today's society, this is pretty hard to find. You might want to investigate a new concept called "adaptability." I think it would do wonders for your ability to use anything Microsoft produces.

Experienced user 5 years ago

MS OFFICE 2007 in fundamentally flawed and bad. When you re-assign common tasks that are English word based commands to new bitmap designs you are basically taking a step backwards to pictogram language - similar to chinese. Every character is unique and requires greater specific memorization in order to understand and execute.

Secondly, many common 1 click commands are extended to 3 clicks!! WTF! It is like an "easter egg hunt" printing and printer previewing now. Sure its cute at first but nobody wants a full time job trying to find the pink egg!

Thirdly, the interface is fundamentally changed so that 15 years of MS Office and common windows program navigation is thrown out the window. What is the productivity penalty for that? Heck with that how much Aspirin is sold to counteract these millions of stress headaches? Give me a MAC, please!! Yes I will pay extra and be happy about it:)

Chuck 5 years ago

Just want to say that I agree that Outlook 2007 is crazy-bad.

Firstly, it is almost deliberate sabotage to go and create a whole new series of document types (docx etc.) that are not able to be opened by older versions of Office.

Every single person who has ever tried to open these files ends up hating Microsoft. Well, at least everyone I've ever talked to.

The other problem is the ribbon bar - it hides the most commonly used buttons. You have to constantly remember exactly where each commonly used button is hidden. Even if you can do this, it takes longer to access them.

Honestly, if it isn't sabotage by a Microsoft engineer, it would surprise me.

Matt 5 years ago

I have to side with the con-Office 2007 people here. I am a young engineer (probably part of CyberMouse's generation), AND a visual learner, and I still find the current suite of office products to be less usable than the prior. I am currently developing .net applications that foster interoperability between MS Office products and a number of analytical engineering codes, so I have first hand experience in both above and under the hood of Office 2007.

First, the move to an xml-based open file structure is outstanding. Say what you will about Microsoft, I find the ease with which I can programmatically modify office documents to be outstanding.

However, when I come out from under the hood and try to use Office 2007 for content creation my productivity plummets. I cut my teeth on Office 97 and 2003, and after roughly a decade using that paradigm I feel I had achieved system mastery. Enter Office 2007.

Gone are my standard toolbars, with icons intelligently grouped by purpose.

I'm in PowerPoint, and I need to crop an image. Hmm, the crop icon is no longer on a toolbar that conveniently shows itself when i click an image. Hmm, it's not on the home pane of the ribbon. What's that, a 'Picture Tools' tab appears above the ribbon, let's click on it. Wow, a whole screen width of icons, it's going to take me a minute to look at them to find my trusty crop icon. Hmm, I can't find it. Maybe it's hidden in one of these group boxes on the ribbon. Let's look under 'Adjust' because I want to adjust my image (and the icons shown in this box are icons that used to appear next to the 'Crop' icon in the Office 2003 Picture toolbar). Nope, can't click to expand to show more icons, I can't drag it to the workspace to create a floating toolbar that shows more options, this must not be it. 'Picture Styles,' nope, 'Arrange,' nope, nothing related to cropping here, 'Size,' nope I already know how to resize my image and I don't need to specify an exact size. Maybe I can 'View -> Toolbars' to show it like in Office 2003. Nope, the 'View' pane has nothing like that that I can see. Maybe it's in another ribbon pane. *searches for a bit* Nope. Well, I guess I'll Google it.

*typetypetype* *clickclick* *read*

Oh! What do you know! It is in the 'Size' group under the Format pane after all! Hmm, it's still not showing up there...let me click this 5-pixel monochrome icon on the bottom corner of the group box. Hey, it drops down a menu, with my crop icon on it! Hurrah! Oh, look, NOW it keeps the crop icon visible in the Size group box on the ribbon... *completes task*

Total time to complete task in Office 2003 & prior: 5 sec.

Total time to complete task in Office 2007: 5 min., 5 sec.

Could I figure it out? Yes, I am adaptable, and can learn to solve problems in many different ways.

Should I have to relearn how to handle spreadsheets, calculations and graph generation, presentation layout and creation, document formatting, printing, styling, and all the other myriad tasks required to prepare professional documents as a part of my livelihood? I think not.

Who made the decision to replace a decades-old proven layout convention supported by a gigantic user base, with a theoretically better nascent software layout with little-to-no track record, but make no attempt to grandfather in the millions of users who may (i.e. are very likely to) want to keep their work flow the same?

If I made the decision to throw out the existing interface and rewrite input file formats for one of our engineering codes, I'd be fired.

McFly 5 years ago

2007 is awful; not sure why anyone would like it, and from all the posts, I don't think anyone does.

steve h 5 years ago

I dislike the new Office ribbon more than any other software I use made by anyone.

I genuinely hate it.

There may be advantages for some but for me - and millions up millions like me - past Office suite users - its terrible.

There should be an option for those comfortable with the old UI to use the old UI.

Following tutorials on Excel pre 2007 is a breeze but I'm posting this as the info I am following does not relate to the UI in 2007.

As for not using it - I have to at work. So you can shut up about that silly point.

As for me - I have a degree in Biochemistry and work as a freelance programmer and consultant so no not stupid.

I do alot of design work in my job on UI's and whilst i know msoft did lab usability studies and found new users like the ribbon - what about existing users as just mentioned of which there are MILLIONS.

Microsoft totally dropped the ball on the Office ribbon and as I say for the 3rd time there are MILLIONS of people who think the same so dont try to put a spin on it to the effect that people need to learn the new UI or understand its design principles etc etc blather blather.

Most of us - especially me know all that and still HATE the ribbon.

And I'm one of the statistically few with the time and inclination to know of these ideas as I'm a techy.

99.9% of business people do not have the time or care to know so that argument is meaningless.

In addition defending a UI design by saying: "people dont understand it and if they did they would like it" is the biggest load of rubbish i've heard in a while.

A fundamental UI design principle is self-evidential navigation - ie you just know how it works instantly without any background knowledge or training.

If you need background info or training or any more understanding on the background design ethics and/or criteria then the design by definition FAILS.

The office ribbon which I hate fails big time and floors my speed using Office apps.

Msoft should rethink and go back - I doubt they will.

steve h 5 years ago

I just read matt's comments above.

Spot on - totally correct.

His point about grandfathering in the millions of users of a decade old established UI was expressed better than I and so I want to draw attention to his post.

And I want to ask again:

Where Oh where was the support for the MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of people who liked the old UI??????

I dont care about new users and how they interact with the new UI - sod them!

I care about how I use this software.

Matt's example above about looking for an icon he used to be able to locate in 5 secs is most enlightening - this happens all the time for me too.

Where is that common commmand in the new UI?

Hidden behind lots of features we dont use but microsoft wants us to know about...VERY annoying.

I hate the ribbon.

Oh did i say i hate it?

Cybermouse profile image

Cybermouse 5 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

Because I continue to receive comments from people who haven't bothered to read all the comments first, or even the entire hub itself, I have revised the hub slightly to more accurately reflect my personal opinion of the software. Which is, that I find it more efficient, though I understand and agree that overhauling the interface without providing any way to go back to the old version was a terrible move on Microsoft's part.

Tommy Andersen 5 years ago

I am a very experienced user of office 2003 and now shifted to 2007. I don see any new features and most things now takes 2 clicks instead of one.I have to constantly shift the ribbon to reveal functions that I could access by a fast button that was always visible. Besides that, many functions doesnt really work anymore. "sanp to grid" and text justifying when text is vertical are just two examples. I have consulted MS and they have answered that there is a very long defect list. Office 7 would have benefit from have a "traditional" option - so experienced users didnt have to slow down with the new user interface and newcomers could take the advantage of starting with the new interface. Nobody wants to block progress or new ideas, but office 7 would have also benefitted if MS had actually fixed the non-working functions before releasing it.

xhwbyyh profile image

xhwbyyh 4 years ago

Office 2010 brings a slew of new features like Office Web Apps, new transitions and video/photo editing tools in PowerPoint, and mostly a lot of ease-of-access features. You can tell this iteration of Office aims to make complicated tasks simpler and external tasks integrated into the Office experience.

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