Microsoft Office 2007
On January 30th, 2007 Microsoft released Office 2007 for Windows, the latest version of this software suite which includes applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Microsoft has substantially revised Office, providing a dramatically different 'Ribbon' interface and changes in a number of features. Because of this, Information Systems & Computing (ISC) believes that upgrading will entail a significant learning curve for many longtime Office users.
Office 2007 uses new default file formats (examples include .docx instead of .doc for Word and .xlsx instead of .xls for Excel) that other versions of Office for Windows and versions of Office for Macintosh other than Office 2008 cannot understand. Early adopters of Office 2007 therefore are advised to use the Save As feature to save files in the formats that older Windows versions and Mac versions understand, especially if they need to share files with other people or applications. Users of Office 2000, XP, and 2003 for Windows can install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack to read Office 2007 files in their default format. A beta converter for Word for Mac is available, but Office for Mac users can't open Excel 2007 or PowerPoint 2007 files at this time.
Office 2007 is compatible with Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2. Note that Office 2007 will not install or function on PCs running Windows 2000 Professional or any non-SP2 version of Windows XP.
ISC will support the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook components of Office 2007 for its clients, including off-campus students.
Microsoft Office 2007 has significantly greater system requirements than many previous versions of Microsoft Office. ISC suggests the following minimum system requirements:
Many Different Versions
Office 2007 is available in three different editions from the Computer Connection.
Microsoft software is available to University of Pennsylvania departments through the Microsoft Select Program, a volume license agreement. A detailed description of the Microsoft Program including product information and a FAQ has been prepared by the Office of Software Licensing. All purchases of Microsoft Select software are made through the Computer Connection.
Unlike the last few releases of Office, Office 2007 is not an evolutionary revision of Microsoft's application suite. This is a big change for Microsoft and it shows considerable thought about how people create documents - not just being locked into how folks have previously used Word, Excel, etc.
With these encouraging changes, comes a lot of short term pain. Lots of users who are heavily invested in workflow using command keys will find that some of those combinations no longer function in Office 2007. Furthermore, there is far less opportunity for customization: you can no longer design your own custom toolbars - you have only what Microsoft's new 'Ribbon' interface (an example of which is shown below) chooses to display for you.
One thing to be aware of is that not all applications in the Office 2007 suite show as many interface changes as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint do. For example, users of recent versions of Outlook (such as Outlook 2003) will find Outlook 2007 to be reasonably familiar.
--Edda Katz, John Mulhern III, & Amy Phillips, ISC (January 30, 2007)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
Comments & Questions