Office 2007 Beta 2 Review

I downloaded Office 2007 beta 2 back in the summer and have been using Word, Outlook and Excel since then about 5 to 10 hours a week. I have no need for publisher or access in my job, so while I have opened those products to look at them, I have no experience with the previous versions to make any comments on the new version.

The first thing you will notice with the newest version of Office is that they have changed the layout of the programs. No longer do you see file, format or any of those other menus at the top of the screen. Instead Microsoft has decided to go to a tab like view of properties, with a big Microsoft button in the top left with a save button. When I first saw the new layout I was a little overwhelmed, Microsoft has been using their old layout since I started using Word 95, there has been small changes with each new release, but nothing this drastic. It has been 6 months or so since I started using Office 2007, and I am still not used to the new layout. There is no way to revert back to the old layout either, so expect a learning curve. While this might be fine for someone who has computer knowledge, many users will be turned off by this new layout and having to learn a new way to do things. In my experience many users will not appreciate having to relearn how to open up, or print a new document. I have not seen enough new changes in Office 2007 to recommend going out and spending $200. Writing basic documents, reading and writing email, and making spreadsheets hasn’t really changed too much. Along with a spell check there is also a check to make sure you are using the right spelling of words, like there instead of their. The new layout though I would say is a dealbreaker for any organizations that want to maintain productivity. Many users will be unhappy having to relearn the wheel.