VISUAL NEWSLETTER SEP 2007

 


MICROSOFT OFFICE 2007

 

When Microsoft released Windows Vista, they also released Microsoft Office 2007, which has a similar look and feel. This was the first major revision to Microsoft Office and the new interface takes a little getting used to. In fact the first time I looked at it, it took me about 5 minutes just to figure out how to open files and set the options.

 

Once you work with it for a little while this becomes a non-issue and all of the basic functionality people use is easily accessed.

 

The one thing that Microsoft Office 2007 does that will cause short-term havoc is to introduce new formats unique to the 2007 version. In the past the common file formats were as follows:

 

Pre-2007 Post-2007

MS-Word .DOC .DOCx

MS-Excel .XLS .XLSx

MS-Powerpoint .PPT .PPTx

 

The problem occurs when a file created with Microsoft Office 2007 is emailed to someone who does not have it. This file cannot be opened if created in the new format. This can be addressed by saving the file in 1997-2003 format but this is a little cumbersome since you need to use the Save As function each time you create a new file.

 

The other option that end users can employ is to upgrade their Microsoft Office versions to 2007. Unfortunately this is a little expensive at several hundred dollars per MS-Office computer.

 

For users of Microsoft Office 2000 thru 2003 Microsoft has provided a alternative upgrade path to 2007 file compatibility, but it is a little complicated and requires that you download a series of updates before you can load on the compatibility module. For a limited time we will be providing this upgrade service at the rate of $20 per computer at client sites with 5 or more computers. This procedure takes up to an hour per computer with Internet access and is best done after hours when it is less disruptive.

 

Give us a call to schedule the service if this becomes a pressing issue for your company.

 

PURCHASING SOFTWARE

 

When you order a computer you have the opportunity to purchase software at reduced prices. In the past the cost of Microsoft Office was considerably lower when purchased with a new computer than if purchased separately. Microsoft has closed this gap on pricing somewhat by recently introducing new 2007 Upgrade as well as Home and Student pricing.

 

Similarly, Microsoft Server and Operating System Products are often less expensive when purchased with a new computer or file server. For years it struck me as odd that I could order a Dell computer, upgrade from Windows Home to Professional Edition for $90 extra at the time of purchase, but if I wanted to do this some time later it would cost me $300. In fact, many retail outlets such as Future Shop and Business Depot did not even offer Professional Edition as an option at time of purchase. This was limited to on-line business solution providers like Dell.

 

In some cases purchasing software in bulk can save you money. A 10 user license for an anti-virus is almost always less expensive than 10 individual products. The 10 user version includes one box and CD and 10 licenses on paper. Generally, the more licenses you buy, the lower the price per licensed computer user.

 

With the crossover to Windows Vista underway it is curious to note that most home computer users are stuck with Windows Vista if they buy a computer at a local store. By contrast, the large majority of business computer users however, are ordering all of their computers with Windows XP Professional Edition installed.

 

For companies, software compatibility is a more significant issue than the bells and whistles that Vista provides. In some instances companies would have had to invest thousands of dollars to replace older software if they decided to migrate to Vista. This trend to XP will likely continue at least until the end of January 2008 at which time Microsoft is threatening to pull the plug on Windows XP. If the current pressure continues, it will be interesting to see if they actually do this.