Installed Office 12. And quite like it.

by Volker Weber

Word 12 without ribbon

I had to make up my mind which Office to use on the Samsung Netbook. I briefly tried OpenOffice 3 and Symphony and liked neither. Today I finally installed Office 12 (Microsoft Office 2007 as they call it), and surprisingly I quite like it. I can hide the ribbon in Word, which gives me a clean interface with one click access to the functions I need. Even with the ribbon, the interface works very well for me:

Word 12 with ribbon

Much better than the long menus in Office 2003 or OpenOffice. And the ribbon works better than the sidebar in Symphony. This is a keeper.

I am also going to use OneNote, but that has still the old interface and looks as crowded as Outlook. Meh.


Vielen Dank für den Eindruck :-)
Ich überlege derzeit auch, ob ich mir ein Samsung NC10 (ohne wäre ich dort niemals drauf gestoßen, danke nochmals!) oder das Lenovo S10 zulegen soll, hauptsächlich als mobile Schreibmaschine, zum Surfen u.ä. .
Wie ist denn die Performance im Allgemeinen (sowohl Office, als auch sonstiges Handling)? Zufriedenstellend oder doch eher mangelhaft?

Vielen Dank und viele Grüße

Johannes Woltermann, 2008-12-08

I do not like the ribbon at all - it hides important menues in a very affective way.

Here the task - time how long it will take you to do a "paste special ->only text" from a text copied from a website by using the ribbon.

Gregory Engels, 2008-12-08

Gregory, two seconds:

Also note, that there is now a shortcut: alt-ctrl-v. Very handy.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

Das Lenovo kenne ich nicht. Ich würde drauf achten, dass es genug Akkuzellen hat - sprich sechs Stück. Der eigentliche Witz ist, wie lange diese Biester durchhalten.

Word startet in ein, zwei Sekunden und funktioniert prächtig. Auch in seiner bisher dicksten Version.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

Did you try anything besides Lorem Ipsum?

Stipe Sumic, 2008-12-08

Stipe, what was my profession again?

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

Hmm, I'm still using Office '97, which still works fine for my needs.

Am I missing out on some groundbreaking new features beside fancy ribbons?

Marc Beckersjuergen, 2008-12-08

Yes, Excel for instance has gained some very good and highly usable in-cell data visualization features. If you did not live under a rock, you may have seen that already.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

I have been using Office 2007 for about 20 months now. I approached it with a completely open mind fully knowing that they radically changed the user interface and that for a while I might be referring the help a little more than usual simply to find the button or menu that is now in a completely different place.

I don't think Uncles Bill & Steve have invented anything great here. There are some very nice features, but when it comes to the basics I constantly find myself switching between the ribbons.

For example "Paste" (and all clipboard functions) are on one ribbon and the zoom features are on another. I'm a frequent user of "Paste Special" which is not available through hot-key or right-click. I also Zoom in and out quite a lot, depending on what I'm working. Makes me miss the "Page Walker" feature in Ami Pro. Also worthy of note is that the specific Zoom % is now buried in a sub-menu.

Little stuff like that has me constantly switching ribbons and using extra clicks.

A couple of positive things to say:
(1) The Help is very impressive
(2) Excel can now sort more than 3 columns.
(3) Preformatted Headers and Footers are very nice.
(4) Fonts adjust dynamically in the body as you scroll through the choices in the drop-down menu

Henry Ferlauto, 2008-12-08

The shorcut for paste special is ctrl-alt-v, and you get this as a bubble when hovering on the paste-submenu of the ribbon. Zoom is on the status bar in the lower right (see my screenshot). Click the number and you get a dialog. You can also zoom with the scroll wheel of your mouse.

Hey, I found this out in a minute. :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

Good to see you like Office 2007 over the copycat versions of other ;-)

Look forward to your findings of OneNote ...

Peter de Haas, 2008-12-08

Peter, you will find that copying the user interface is making your competition quite strong. For people who cannot adjust, or do not want to adjust, those are the most recent versions of Office. Your employer is placing quite a bet on the new interface. And so far, I may like it, but most other people I spoke to don't.

I have played with OneNote for a bit and it looks quite useful. However, it seems I cannot use it, since I don't want to lock any data into its proprietary file format. I would not have access to that data from a Mac, or would I? I also found out that MSFT has changed the file format from 2003 to 2007, so I could not even share data with Office 2003 users.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

I found the SearchCommands ( to be an interesting addition to the ribbon bar.

OneNote may grow on you. In our team it has become something of a Wiki due to its splendid synchronization capabilities when you keep the OneNote-book on a network share.

Frank L. Quednau, 2008-12-08

Frank, Evernote is more useful to me. It syncs across all my devices. As you can see here, Ray has the right plan. :-) OneNote is just not delivering yet. Probably in Office 14. And MSFT better have a Mac version by then.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

You job... early adopter maybe? :-)

I have used Office 2007 for a year now in a mixed environment (company) with Office 2003.

I still have a feeling that it's nothing but a wheel being reinvented.
Almost NONE of the documents created with Word 2007 look the same when opened in Word 2003 (even if we put aside the whole doc/dot vs. docx/docm/dotx/dotm story).

Basically, the only new feature I find useful is PDF export.

Stipe Sumic, 2008-12-08

Thanks Volker. Now, can you figure out how to adjust the Zoom in few clicks? :)_

Here's my favorite two-part Microsoft Word trivia question:

In Word for Windows Version 1.x, [ Ctrl ] + [ P ] did not mean "Print."

Q1: What did [ Ctrl ] + [ P ] do?
Q2: What was the hot-key combination for Print?

Henry Ferlauto, 2008-12-08

Early adopter? Office 2007 in late 2008? :-)

I am less concerned with how things look, but more with how things work. So far they seem to be working well for me. But of course you are absolutely right. If Office 12 breaks Office 11 documents, that is a bad thing.

I had not found the export as PDF yet, only the useless XPS driver. Now I looked in the online help and installed the add-in. Thank you.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

Henry, we leave that as an exercise to Peter, our resident MSFT expert. :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-12-08

Hihi, bin ich doch nicht der einzige, der noch Office 97 benutzt und glücklich damit ist ... :D

Kristof Doffing, 2008-12-08

Don't forget the QAT (Quick Access Toolbar) at the top of the Ribbon... and wait 'til you see Office 14. :-)

Greetings, Ulli

Ulli Mueller, 2008-12-09

Welcome to the bright side, sir.

Barry Briggs, 2008-12-09

Isn't the debate Word vs OOo vs WhateverOffice getting old? Docs have been an analogy to paper. Now people are spending more time online then offline. Old habits die hard, agreed, but the effort of coordinating any kind of collaboration using docs and email is inefficient and frustrating. The only time we really need doc-like formats are for print outputs. But isn't print just a means to an end? So what do we need most of the format funtionality of Office-like word-processors for?

And if online collaboration is the thing, then sharepoint & co are an overkill, because they still are more doc then web, like an add-on for paper formats. Even Google Docs are only a step towards wiki-like editing tools.

So yeah, Office 12 might be finally a good one, but nobody seems to care. 10 years ago we all would have had the latest Office edition by now... whereas now as an O12 user you are called an early adopter :-)

Curiously universities seem to struggle a lot with online formats , with all their "papers"...

And Volker, why do journalists need an office-like word-processor? The publisher surely doesn't need any of the formatting stuff, does he?

Moritz Schroeder, 2008-12-09

No, I don't need to format text very often. But I do need the language tools within Word. Can't do that in a programmer's editor.

And then there is Excel, which I have not found a viable competitor to. I am not a heavy Excel user, but I know one quite well. :-) And there is still interesting progress in this space. And then there is PowerPoint which also has room for improvement.

I would not discount the need for Office so lightly. There is a lot of stuff happening outside of "the web".

Volker Weber, 2008-12-09

Yes, there are power users, especially regarding Excel. And true, functionality wise, Excel doesn't have a direct competitor. Turned on it's head, do most people need Mathematica or SPSS in their work environment, because some power users work with it?

For most use cases the biggest problem is the process and not the functionality and that is true for Excel as well. So many spreadsheets are used and re-used, but because of the decentral nature, they are also a nightmare regarding the output. Who has ever checked all those formulas and numbers?

A friend told me he once asked what a particular capital coefficient actually meant, which was published in the annual report of a major corp. 'Oh that is used in comparison over the years only.' But nobody could really explain it. The following year the coefficient had vanished from the report. The coefficient had suddenly become negative, which just wasn't logical. So they checked the spreadsheet. Turned out, they used the wrong cell in the formula.. since they first published that coefficient a couple of years ago (which was meaningless anyway).

In my work environment, we increasingly use online spreadsheets. And yes, Google Spreadsheet does have limits, but we rarely hit them. It also offers unexpected advantages. Direct collaboration is easy and better than for text: rarely 2 users work the same cell at the same time. And then there are the online links to tables, feeding of RSS and even possibilities like questionnaires and polls which feed the spreadsheet live. To me as a non-power spreadsheet user, much of Google Spreadsheet seems more intuitive than desktop spreadsheets.

The next step might be something like hypernumbers, which takes the concept of online spreadsheets a (logical) step further.

And regarding Powerpoint, finally people are starting to present stories rather then "points". And for that SlideRocket & co seem just great... And most maccies prefer Keynote to Powerpoint, don't you ? :-)

Moritz Schroeder, 2008-12-09

@ Peter de Haas on copycats: funny remark, as Microsoft is known for copying, not creating.

Talking about which: How's the ODF and PDF handling in MS Office? How is Micorsoft's copycat version of Google Docs going? Ready with copying Firefox/Opera features into IE going (Tabs, RSS-feeds, search engines, right-click-search-options, plugins, blocking unwanted content)? Ready with copying VMware and Xen functionality?

Microsoft: "wait for us; we're the leader".

Eva Quirinius, 2008-12-09

@ Vowe:

I think the (German) C'T had an article on OpenOffice versus MS Office a few weeks ago. Have you read that article?
A number of people, new to both Openoffice 3.0 and MS Office 2007, were given a number of tasks to complete. The time was then measured how long it took to complete that task. Sometimes OpenOffice was quicker, sometimes MS Office.

Question: what did you pay for MS Office? Have you taken the cost of the software into consideration? Do you find that money (if any) worth the new features?

FWIW: my father bought a 388 Euro laptop a few weeks ago. He is uses his computer a few hours a week. He needed advice on an office suite. He had been using MS Office for about 7 years. I gave him these options:
1) free but illegal version of MS Office
2) 100 Euro, legal version of MS Office only for private use
3) 300 Euro, legal version of MS Office for any use
4) free and legal version of OpenOffice
He chose option 4. He likes it and he finds the PDF-export of OpenOffice handy.

Eva Quirinius, 2008-12-09

My previous comments were a bit philosophically off-topic :-) Do I have Office-like software on my devices? Yes. OOo and on the Macs also previous versions of Keynote & co. Do I use them? Yes, if I have to. The default has become online. Would I ever buy MS Office again? Only if I had to, but I don't have to any more, do I?

So for these increasingly rare times of need, OOo is more than good enough, otherwise...

And you do the same, don't you? :-) You have had a spare O12 licence. Would you have purchased a normal non-rebated licence? And would you now?

Moritz Schroeder, 2008-12-09

Eva, can we keep the discussion civilized and on topic?

Yes, OpenOffice is a very good choice for many. As was for your father. I am not questioning that.

Microsoft Office 2007 Home & Student is currently sold for 79 Eur here and can be installed on three computers. I think that is a very good value. OpenOffice is sold for zero Eur and can be installed on as many computers as you want. That is also a very good value.

I did not have to pay anything for my Microsoft Office 2007. I can get one copy for free. So I happened to have it and tried it out. And so far I like it a lot.

Moritz, I also prefer Keynote to PowerPoint. However, it does not run on the Samsung Netbook. I do not prefer Pages to Word, or Numbers to Excel though. I am not particularly fond of Office on the Mac, but on Windows it's really nice.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-09

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