I’ve installed Microsoft Office 2007 on my personal laptop and desktop, because I get it for free as a student at the college where I’m taking classes. It’s taking me a little while to get used to some of the new stuff, especially the Ribbon, and I’ve had a few times where I know what I want to do but it takes me a while to figure it out. When I do, however, I’ve been impressed with how much easier it is to accomplish my goal. Many common settings are simply drop-down options on the ribbon, and they had to be manually configured from a properties screen before. I’ve primarily used Word, Excel, and Outlook so far. Oh yeah, and OneNote, which has become my nearly constant companion, keeping track of meeting notes and agendas, notes at home and for school, and basically as a replacement for post-it notes and one-off Word or Notepad files in general. I love OneNote’s free-form composition, easy shortcuts, and flexibility. Outlook 2007 has also been useful, I like some of the reminder differences, the new way of color-coding categories, reminders from multiple folders, and a few other things that I like, but won’t be able to take full advantage of until my work desktop is also running Outlook 2007.
My one complaint? Office 2007 is S-L-O-W. My laptop is a Centrino Duo 2.0 GHz machine with 1 GB of RAM (running XP Pro). Opening OneNote, Word, and Outlook 2007 along with Firefox and Thunderbird works, but it takes a while to get them all open. Or if all of that except for Word is running, and I open Word, it takes a while to get there. Office 2003, on the other hand, pops up and down very quickly for the most part. 2003 has its moments, to be sure, but 2007 is just consistently slow to get going, and sometimes slow to catch up. And it’s not just because I occasionally have over 100 tabs open in Firefox, either! (I try not to do that too often :-)
We likely won’t be deploying Office 2007 here at Lakeview for at least a year (Vista has at least a similar timeline). I’d hate to see how it will run on machines less capable than my laptop and home desktop, and there’s just no need for the added features right now, not to mention the training required to get everyone up to speed on the Ribbon interface. The one exception may be OneNote, which I can see purchasing individual licenses of (non-profit pricing is pretty good remembering back to some OneNote 2003 purchases made a while back) for a few people that take a lot of meeting notes. The ability to share workbooks and work on them collectively with all the synchronization happening automatically is powerful, especially when done as simply as OneNote makes it.