Does it make sense to update to 2007?
masu, if your work involves a lot of desktop publishing projects, such as brochures, catalogs, oft-updated reports, and so on, I'd recommend Office 2007. But it's the new file format that troubles me now. It's needlessly complex (check out what one Mac Word
developer described as his nightmare). Either way, it will take at least 2-3 years for the new Microsoft file format (Open XML) to saturate desktops, so if Office 2003 works well for you now, keep it. And if you absolutely, positively need access to the new formats for your copy of Office 2003, go download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2007 formats
. If you're a student or researcher, however, you're better off staying put, switching to OpenOffice or just not using Word 2007's Citation feature (long story, but it's flawed and will have to be fixed).Is the new interface a big deal?
You'll either love it or hate it. The more experienced you are with Office 2003, the more time you'll need to learn your way around in 2007, most notably Word 2007. The biggest difference is found in charts and tables. What takes minutes in 2003 takes only seconds to construct and change in 2007. Live preview is great; Contextual Spelling is great; Live word count is great. Office 2007 is fully connected to the web, so if you're not connected or validated properly, you won't have the advantage of some features, like the entire references section, nor can you open new templates or clipart.
Here's a short list of my Office 2007 UI gripes:
(1) An extra step has been added to almost every keyboard shortcut. (Being a keyboard shortcut freak, that pisses me off);
(2) The Options dialog is resizable, but its subdialogs are not. Microsoft left them small. Why?
(3) Unlike previous versions of Word, you cannot customize the Ribbon, only the Quick Access toolbar. Microsoft claimed that fewer than 5% of its users customized Word or Excel, so they decided to drop it!
(4) The Ribbon is too fat, being 47 pixels thicker than that of Office 2003; its icons are too large; and its rows are too spread out. Why not take advantage of wide screens and allow the ribbon to dock on one side of the screen?
(5) A nice UI touch would be an onscreen toggle of what the F-keys do, even if you rekey them.
Just my 10 cents worth. If you like it, you're going to love it. If not, don't worry you'll have time, they're already working on Office 2009!