Saturday, January 27, 2007

In Praise Of – Right Click

I've said it before – the Ribbon is the hurdle.

So what to do when you are truly in a hurry and can't find that command? You'll be glad that you feel comfortable with right-click.

Here is a simple example: Format Cells.

Your challenge is to format cells or paste special before the phone completes its third ring and goes into voice mail. You want to see neat data before you pick up the phone.

If you are comfortable with right-click, you'll right-click, choose format cells, and be in business.

If you are comfortable with right-click, you'll right-click, choose copy, select, then right-click and choose paste Special.

As far as I have been able to see, the 2003 right-click menus are intact, and there's nothing new within them. (remember my theory is that we have 2003 with a ribbon and a new file format).

Get used to right-click today. It will save you time in 97/2000/2002/2003, and you'll be top-of-the-class in 2007!

In Praise Of – Shortcut Keys

I've said it before – the Ribbon is the hurdle.

So what to do when you are truly in a hurry and can't find that command? You'll be glad that you learned those shortcut keys.

Here is a simple example: File, saveAs.

Your challenge is to find that command in the ribbon before the phone completes its third ring and goes into voice mail. You want to effect a saveAs before you pick up the phone.

If you had learned F12 as a shortcut for saveAs, you'll be in business!

As far as I have been able to see, the 2003 shortcuts apply across the board. (remember my theory is that we have 2003 with a ribbon and a new file format).

Before you migrate to 2007, print off a comprehensive list of shortcut keys in Word2003. And Excel2003. And AnyThing2003 you use.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Nays Have It – For Now

The January 12 2007 issue of Computing Canada carries two articles about Microsoft's new software. I endorse both articles.

Office 2007

On page 9 Charles Whaley says "... products that already have far more features than anyone could ever use." And "The new features are attractive, but, in many cases, not attractive enough to justify the cost of upgrading".

Windows Vista

On pages 18-19 Lynn Greiner says of Vista "It has also created a whole new set of pains for users and administrators, turning the user interface on its ear, and making enough changes in coding and security to render many things inoperable".

Lynn goes on to describe hardware and software failures.

Lynn points out that "Vista continues to hide file extensions by default". Many of us will see this as a terrible lapse in security – it is one of the best ways to hide the impact of a bad program from a user's eyes.

Lynn cuts to the chase with "And staff will need training too; help desks will likely be very busy".

So what

So this. I have previously explained my feelings on Office 2007. Once you get past the ribbon-thingy, you will find that you have Office 2003. The dialogue boxes are identical.

Office 2007 appears to me to be Office 2003 with an extra confusing layer of interface, especially for experienced users.

The bad news is that many users are trained by experienced users – word-of-mouth – so now most users know what they need to know to get the job done in office 2000/2002/2003, but all will be thwarted by the new barrier represented by Ribbon.

Oh yes – Office 2007 has new document formats, so anticipate a slew of corrupted-document problems.

Get Rich Quick!

Get used to hearing this. Trainers will be leaping for joy, and arguing about who pays for lunch, but this time it will be seen as a privilege.

Trainers stand to make a great deal of money by offering courses in navigating Office 2007 products.

Today most users know what they want to do – "I want to change the spacing before my paragraph" or "I want to change the heading text in my second section". They just won't know where to find it.

Anyone having a one-day course in mapping the Ribbon to the unchanged and familiar dialogue boxes will Get Rich Quick, especially in firms that launch Office2007.

Users will be screaming from 8:30 a.m. Monday until you get there.

Take an invoice with you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


With a release data getting closer, let's see how the Trial version installs. Remember that I had had the Beta version installed, and that I had then upgraded to Beta2, found it awkward, and deleted it.

That done, I physically deleted the folder from c:\Program Files and ran the ToniArts EasyCleaner 2.0.5 to flush out now-redundant registry entries.

The whole process took significantly less than 30 minutes. I say less than because the time-stamps on my screen snapshots show less than 30 minutes, and some of that time was spent back-tracking to see what happens if I cancel and restart installation, and taking and saving snapshots.

When installation was complete, I ran Word2007, and then ran Word97, Word2000 and Word2003 for good measure. There appeared no major conflict between the 2007Trial and earlier installed versions of Word.
The Download
Two files are required for download. Think of them as X12 and X13 for obvious reasons. They total 650MB on your hard drive.

I had seen no indication on the web site as to which to run first, so I tossed a coin and lost. Run the X12 before the X13. There is probably a ReadMe file somewhere on the web site. It's not a big deal. I would have been happier if the installation process had recognized my mistake, found the X12 in the folder, and run that file for me.

The previous files (all files other than my X12 and X13) are probably redundant. I had left them in the folder because I hate throwing anything away; two minutes after emptying the recycle bin, I want the files back.

Installation fired up, and I was happy until I noticed that a Program Files was involved, and I hadn't been consulted. I'm rather particular about folders, having managed to corral Office into folders "Office1997", "Office2000", "Office2003" and "Office2007" in my previous efforts.

Where will today's installation take me? "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12" by the look of it; no ifs ands or buts. Pity. It spoils my nice arrangement.

The product key is emailed to you. Looks like this "W6EE3-KZSYM-KSD93-DC3KW-SY8PG" (but that's not my real product key). Write it down. Or better yet, save it in your file Passwords.DOC, and yes, I know we don't call it that.

What happens if you don't supply your key?

You get a warning that suggests you might be nagged more often than you'd like, so you may was well key it in.

Once the software is installed, a pop-up warns you that you have installed the Trial version. It says and suggests that I have only so many days (in my case it tuned out to be two months), after which not all the features will be available.

At this time I'd assume (again, without having bothered to read the documentation) that after March 31st I'll be able to open existing files, but not save any changes; that sort of thing.

Then you register across the Internet. So now Microsoft has identified me by an email address and some machine characteristic.

Frankly, I'm not that worried about it all.

I am in the habit of reinstalling Windows every 9 or 12 months anyway, as part of my procedures for flushing out old software traces.

And here I am in Word2007. The clock in the lower-right corner indicates 11:21, but remember, some of the time had been spent restarting installation, making notes, and so on.

For What It's Worth, my MRUse facility worked from the get go. This is a "contingency" test if you like, because MRUse access registry entries for all versions of Office. That MRUse did not fall over gives me confidence in Office2007.

The next time I loaded Office2007, after a quick run of Office2000, I was greeted with a re-configuration pop-up. I hoped this would not be a regular feature of alternating between running versions.

And soon my first problem reared its ugly head.

Here part of my Under (the hood) utility has failed. This utility ran well in 2007Beta and 2007Beta2, but in 2007Trial it seems that the command bar object has problems.

I'll be examining this in my blog Office 2007 for the Developer.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

We're Back!
You can d/l a 60-day trial of Office 2007 professional, also other stuff.
You need to answer the skill-testing questions.

This Sunday morning I downloaded a copy, to replace the failed Beta2 version from last October.

Over the next few days I'll be posting my findings on

installation and then

operation of the Trial version.