Jul 142011
 

I finally succumbed to self-imposed pressure and upgraded my Microsoft Office from 2007 to 2010, and in doing so, joined the just over 100 million others who are already using Office 2010 (not bad for a product that was first released almost exactly 13 months ago).

 The good news is that the cost of Office 2010 is lower than the prices were for the 2007 version.  The bad news is there is no reduced rate for people upgrading from 2007 (or other/earlier versions) – everyone pays full freight.

The upgrade pricing (or, more to the point, lack of it) discouraged me from rushing to upgrade the day Office 2010 came out.  The other big discouragement was concern about possibly needing to learn yet another new interface (Office 2007 was terribly different from its predecessor, Office 2003).  And then there’s the half joking and half grim suggestion that it pays to wait until the first service pack has come out before buying a new software product.

The first service pack for Office 2010 came out on 28 June 2011, and the coincidence of that event and the announcement of 100 million copies sold, together with the growing acceptance of both the new file formats introduced in Office 2007 and of Office 2010 itself, encouraged me to accept that it was high time to hop on the Office 2010 band wagon.

 Upgrading was simple and straightforward.  After some debate with myself, I simply installed Office 2010 over the top of my current Office 2007 installation, and by doing so, it seemed that most if not all the various settings and customizations I had created for Office 2007 were preserved and passed over to Office 2010.

 Now that I have made the plunge, I’m generally pleased with the new suite of programs, and happily the few interface tweaks this time around are minor and are generally improvements rather than just changes for change’s sake.  It took a while, but I was finally getting used to the radically different look and feel of Office 2007 compared to previous versions (with what they call the ‘ribbon’ of context-sensitive options running horizontally along the top of the program, rather than with semi-fixed menus dropping down) and the tweaking and improvements to the ribbon functionality in 2010 makes it more intuitive and easy to use.

As for the programs themselves, most of them are much the same as before, with generally small tweaks rather than major new advances of functionality (because, in truth, most of the programs already do just about everything you could possibly want already).  My sense is that the programs may be even bigger in size than before, and they seem to load a little slower to start, but once they are loaded, they work perfectly responsively with no perceived delays.

Outlook perhaps has the most changes, because it now has a ribbon rather than menu interface (it was the one program that was not updated to the ribbon interface in 2007).  Happily, my biggest objection to the Office 2007 ribbon concept (the lack of a ‘File’ menu) has now been resolved and there is once more a file menu and it was easy to convert myself over to the new Outlook look and feel.

There is one other significant enhancement, however, and that is with an Office program that I’ve largely ignored until now.  OneNote.  Chances are you’re not very familiar with it, either.  But maybe now is the time to become more familiar with this incredibly – almost overwhelmingly – powerful application.  The good news is that OneNote is included with all versions of Office, so even if you just select one of the basic Office packages, you get OneNote.

I’ll write about that separately, and next.

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