How Un-Microsoft

How un-Microsoft of Microsoft is this — they are actually offering a full beta-test version of Office 2007 and it lasts until February 2007. What’s more amazing is that I care. Scott, the CDG president, has it running on his computer and I noticed that his Outlook looked different this morning. He showed me what it can do and some of the really interesting new features in the rest of the Office suite. I’m actually floored that it’s different enough and interesting enough that I actually want to beta test this.

So here begins the on-going series of my adventures with Microsoft Office 2007.

Now as un-Microsoft as the new Office seems, the download process is decided Microsoft. I had to sign up for a Microsoft Live account (their new passport thingy), and re-enter my information about three times. Then I had to answer a bunch of questions. It is a beta test, so I understand they want to know who is testing it. Still it felt extremely bureaucratic and immediately set off the, “I don’t trust Microsoft,” bells.

I finally finished the install — warning — don’t try to stop the install if you choose the “uninstall my old versions” option. By the way — I basically had to choose that option because it told me it couldn’t upgrade Outlook.

So far — I’m totally impressed by the new Office suite. The new features seem to be actually useful, no sign of any new and improved “clippy.” The new features in Outlook are fantastic. Much more of your information is right at your finger tips. You don’t need to dig as much to organize your life.

I think I like the features of Word and Excel, but right now I’m just trying to get my job done and not get too confused. The look is totally different and some of the short-cut keys have changed, so I am spending a lot of time just trying to figure out how to do stuff. But, the problem really is just that it’s different. When I stop working on auto-pilot and just look at the screen, it’s pretty easy to figure things out. Like Outlook, features feel less buried. More is just right at your finger tips.

I’ll post some screen shots with my next post about beta test.

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