Something Good Just Got Better
Article by Rick Leinecker, August 18, 2007

I'm a real fan of Microsoft and their products. In spite of antitrust lawsuits and accusations of unfair business practices, the American consumers and business owners have benefited from their software. The quality of Microsoft software along with its usefulness has gone way up, while prices have gone way down. Not many businesses can make that claim, but Microsoft can.

Office 2007 fits nicely into this pattern of greatly enhanced features with a lower price tag. The extra features are only useful if they solve the problems that we all encounter. And they do in Office 2007. Microsoft has taken all of the feedback from the last several years and responded with an incredible package.

But I want to warn you that at first glance you may not agree. I went to an early workshop that introduced Office 2007. I was shocked to hear the speaker tell us that we'd hate Office 2007 at first. What a way to set up the seminar! But she was right. It is very different. When you first use Office 2007, you'll encounter a noticeable difference from previous versions of Office. But getting past the initial adjustment is worth it as we'll talk about.

For starters, there are no pull down menus. None! The pull down menus have been replaced with a new metaphor known as a ribbon. Each of the old pull down menus has an associated ribbon. For instance, the Format pull down menu has a Format ribbon. One ribbon is always selected, and the selected ribbon displays all items underneath it. That way, instead of having to pull down a menu, all you do is select a ribbon where you can see all of the choices that it offers. When I first saw the ribbons, I wanted to scream. But after about ten minutes I realized how easily they make things.

Besides a nice new interface that uses ribbons, Office 2007 has a lot of very cool stuff that can make simplify things. For starters, it now saves PDF files. These files are common on the Internet. They're also used extensively in legal documents and medical document storage.

If you're writing a research paper, Office 2007 manages the bibliography. All you need to do is enter your references into a template, and Office does the rest. It takes care of footnotes, and more importantly, creates the bibliography. And you can select from among the most popular publishing formats in use.

Office 2007 now comes with a built in graphics program. It's kind of like Microsoft Paint on steroids. It allows you to easily draw pictures, edit photographs, and apply dozens of special effects.

Office 2007 can be purchased on the Internet for more than $500.00. But if you want a good deal, it is on sale at the Rockingham Community College bookstore for just over $100.00. That's an incredible deal!

Those are the basics of Office 2007.