First of all I should probably mention that I’m not a big user of MS Office. In fact I only really use Outlook and Word for emailing and rarely launch Excel, Access, Visio and all the rest. Apart from emailing I look at documents and spreadsheets I’m sent, but tend not to actually write them (I’m a web kind of a guy, I prefer HTML to .DOC).
That out of the way, I must say I’m really impressed. Within seconds you can create some really cool, professional looking graphics and suddenly I feel like I want to create a PowerPoint presentation with it to really impress the boss! However, the user interface really is completely different. Those who felt comfortable with the myriad toolbars and buttons will feel completely lost for a while trying to figure out where everything is. This is both good and bad.
It’s good because everything is very sensibly located. You’re never far from where you want to be and commands are logically organised so if you don’t know where something is you’ll be able to find it within a couple of mouse clicks. This brings me onto the bad, which is that until you get used to it, you have to think. Once you’ve mastered using a piece of software you can forget about it and turn all your attention to what you’re actually trying to do (like writing a motivational email or a resignation letter). With Office 2007 you’re going to spend a lot of time initially trying to work out where the hell everything is, meaning you spend less time thinking about what you’re trying to achieve. This will bug a lot of people.
For me it’s great. As a non-heavy Office user I don’t know how to do anything anyway so with a little bit of exploring I’ve come across all kinds of cool things and straight away I look like an Office pro! There are loads of other cool things (live preview being one I like straight away) but it’s early days so I don’t know what’ll turn out to be useful or not yet. I’ll keep you posted…