There I’ve said it.
No point in beating about the bush. This is a great product.
It may have its imperfections, of course — which one of us hasn’t — but as a piece of monumentally complex software, it surely stands supreme.
I know of all the complaints that portmanteau products like Microsoft Office are much too big, too complex, and contain hundreds of features that most people donâ€™t need and never will use. But thatâ€™s the nature of the beast. Just try using Google Documents and Spreadsheets for anything other than simple projects. And you need to be online to use them.
Iâ€™ve had Office 2007 for a couple of months now, and while I havenâ€™t yet got round to trying out every program bundled in there, I have to say Iâ€™m very impressed. I came to it directly from Office 2000, so missed the intermediate experience of the 2003 version.
At first, the so-called Ribbon feature was a bit baffling, like all supposedly intuitive controls are. But once I found my way around the different groupings of features and learned what all the icons stood for, I began to revel in its clean simplicity and ease of use â€” Iâ€™m usually wary of geeks being â€œintuitiveâ€, because more often than not, theyâ€™re not.
However, Office 2007 is a triumph of design and utility (my favourite word). Nowadays, we expect software to be over-engineered simply to get ahead of the competition. And, yes, it is. Features aren’t everything, naturally, although in today’s world of cheap memory, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have them, especially in a productivity suite that is expected to meet all criteria in a fully-functioning business environment.
I believe Word 2007 to be the best word processor around now, and Excel 2007 to be irreplaceable. Smaller features stand out too. Like most folk I donâ€™t need the massive clout — and expense — of Adobe’s Photoshop for my image handling. But I do want something better than the cheaper programs out there. One surprise in Office 2007 is the Microsoft Office Picture Handler which comes bundled in with the suite. It really is a doddle to use and has all the functionality I need (in combination with my non-Microsoft DTP program), without the heart-stopping overload of some other applications.
So, well done Microsoft. Itâ€™s not often you hear that, is it?