The biggest difference – and the only difference most users are going to notice – is the ribbon, which is a replacement for the traditional menu system. The ribbon is supposed to make it easier for people to discover features that are already present in the office suite.
There really isn’t a huge difference for the average user: if you just type away then the difference between the two is negligible. for the power users, they’ll notice some slight tweaks and differences, along with a major speed boost in Outlook 2007.
Should you get Office 2007? Well, if you already have a version of Office that works fine, then don’t spend the money (and it is a lot of money).
If you don’t have Office and you want the suite, then try to find the bheapest price and buy it. Or, you could try Office alternatives, like OpenOffice.org, whish is a free open-source alternative to Office.
OpenOffice.org is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.
Microsoft owns the market for office applications today: but it won’t be like that in the future.
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At WinHEC, I was informed that the Ribbon bar in Office 2007 won’t be easy to customize. I couldn’t believe my ears! If this rumor is true, we’ll need to remember this tutorial. Microsoft may be telling us that we need to learn how to program in order to do something that Office used to be able to do for us automatically (or wait for a developer to help us). As of Office 2007 Beta 2, this seems to be the case. Setting aside the astounding mistake of using the word “many” instead of “all” in this first quoted sentence, we’re staring down the barrel of a application usability paradigm:
Many of the applications in the 2007 Microsoft Office system have a new look. The Ribbon user interface (UI) feature replaces the current system of layered menus, toolbars, and task panes with a simpler system of interfaces optimized for efficiency and discoverability. The new UI has improved context menus, ScreenTips, a Mini toolbar, and keyboard shortcuts that improve user efficiency and productivity. […] You can customize the Ribbon UI through a combination of XML markup and any Microsoft .NETâ€“based language supported in Microsoft Visual Studio. You can also customize the Ribbon UI using Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Microsoft Visual C++, and Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0.
They’ve already uploaded a few Office 2007 screencasts, too. I’m sure developers are in hog heaven – but the potential decision of eliminating simple Ribbon customizability leaves we mortal users left to fend for ourselves once again. At least the rest of Microsoft at least allows us to turn on “legacy” menus. Is the Office division really this arrogant? This is borderline unacceptable – but I’m reserving final judgement for Office 2007 RTM.
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