How to get the most out of 2007 and 2010

One of my observations is that inexperienced users adapt to both 2007 and 2010 very easily, but the more experienced the user, the less they like it.  Is this just prejudice, or "resistance to change", or are there legitimate concerns?

Firstly, the interface has changed considerably, and the more experienced the user, the more habits they have to change. If you have no need of the new features, then the changes are a nuisance, and the time taken to learn them is time lost.

But is there anyone who does not need, or cannot benefit from the new features?  I adapted quickly to 2007 and now 2010 because I took the time to learn the new features. I had to learn them to write about them and train others in how to use them. This forced me to realise the benefits they have for me. It is not simply a case of learning the new interface. It is also necessary to learn to work differently.

Here are some of the benefits of new features and functions.

Productivity gains
Features like Building Blocks and the Navigation pane improve work speed and efficiency for everyone. For many, the Ribbon is a significant gain, as is the Quick Access toolbar, and now both are fully customisable, they are more efficient than the old toolbar system.

Publishing gains
Some gains are made in the visual appeal of the final document. The improved graphics handling capability, better tables layout, and features like SmartArt result in much nicer looking documents that are now directly competing with desktop published documents.

Accessibility gains
There are many gains for those with significant difficulties using a standard product. One example is the new keyboard shortcuts system based on the Alt key, which enables every single command to be accessed through shortcuts, assisted with memory aids. This has been done without significant loss to existing users of the Ctrl keyboards shortcuts.

Collaboration and sharing gains
The corporate world seems to be very slow to adopt the collaboration and sharing features that are a big part of the new releases. The Office suite is now much more integrated between Office products, and also enables on-line publishing, and a range of collaboration options. These all make off-site and remote working simple for those working through the Office suite. Maybe Microsoft missed the boat here as most corporate environments have their own facilities for remote logging in and collaboration, where it is permitted.  Time will tell as to whether the simplicity of the Microsoft interfacing eventually takes over from the complex and often slow corporate alternatives.

Specialist gains
In addition there are specific gains for specialist niche areas.  For those designing forms, the Content Controls brought in with 2007 offer a great improvement. For anyone needing translation facilities, this is a great new addition to 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Experienced users do things like modify toolbars to suit their needs. Switching to Office 2010 allows that again, but Office 2007 did not, And even Office 2010 does not allow the same flexibility there.
    MS Office stayed the same, with toolbars and menus, from the start. It was a big change to deal with. Not everyone has the time to devote to learning it, when they have deadlines involving use of MS Office software.
    I like some of the new features, but not the galleries, and I can't get my head around building blocks.