So... some time ago, Microsoft released Beta II of Office 2007 (http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview
. I downloaded it two days after, and I have a pretty good idea of what it's like to live with now.
First and foremost comes the new ribbon toolbar applied in Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access. True, they do make life easier, but the procedure for deleting pages is ridiculously long in Word. However, now you get ready made title pages, updated Wordart in Powerpoint, and an improvement (if that were possible) over the soothing colours in Office 2003.
And it's quite fast, even on my Athlon 650mHz machine. True, it does hang every so often and the Wordart in Powerpoint takes quite a while to update itself, but apart from that, my machine can actually use the fading effects.
Then comes the next toy: corporate identity. You can use one of Office's inbuilt themes (or one of your own) system-wide, in every program.
Now for the bad news. The new file formats make them incompatible with previous versions of Office that haven't got filters installed for
.pptx, etc files. You can convert them back, but I will just show you a sample of that one's downside.
I had to create a file for my schoolwork and then upload it to the school's servers. The length of the
.pptx file was 1900kB. But, since the school's best computers only run Office 2002, I converted it to that format. This increased the file length to 20000kB. And then, since some machines only ran Office 2000, Office 2K2 ran another conversion. Guess how long the file was now. 27000kB? 31000kB? Nope. 80mB long.
I actually had to edit the file name before depositing it on the server in the IT drop directory : "...FINAL WARNING - 80mB".
But the jewel in the crown of Office 2007 is the revision of OneNote. It now has prebuilt personal and work notebooks, with personal information stores, to do lists, recipe books, information about each section, and it looks as beautiful as the rest of the suite.
I can't afford a tablet or laptop computer. But I'm sure the suite would work perfectly on them. And you could use it like a real notebook.
There was no information about the prices at the time of writing, but estimated prices are about the same as Office 2003 (ridiculously expensive...)