Best Practice Ezine #109 – Test Drive Office 2007 Beta 2

Test Drive Office 2007 Beta 2

My purpose in writing to you is to alert you to the fact that Office 2007 is now in Beta 2.  The best thing that I can do for you today is to persuade you to take an online ‘Test Drive of Office 2007’.

While I have not had time to produce a comprehensive review of the new features, I must tell you that the new buzzword is ‘Ribbon’.  Watch out for context sensitive ‘Ribbons’ to replace the old toolbars.  However, all will be revealed in your test drive at Microsoft’s site, the requirements are minimal, you agree to a Citrix plug-in and logon with what I call a Password Account, what Microsoft refer to as a Windows Live ID account.  After that you can test drive Office 2007 from your browser connected to a server at Microsoft’s site.

What’s more you can get a Beta copy of Office 2007.  To obtain this software there is a there is a new procedure for getting a download, what you do is pay $1.50 and Microsoft give you a link to download the beta across the internet.

In terms of overall strategy there is a sense of inevitability that those who currently use Office 2003 will one day switch to Office 2007.  The question is more, when to upgrade, rather than whether or not to upgrade.  At one extreme, if you fast forward to 2010, if you upgrade your system then it will be natural to replace Office 2003 with Office 2007.  At the other extreme the early adopters will install Office 2007 Beta and start gaining in productivity from beginning of the product cycle.

Probably the greatest improvements are found in Outlook 2007, for example using Outlook as a vehicle for consolidating One Note, Contact manager and mobile phone messages.  What impressed me most is a much faster search for my emails.

Aside from the ubiquitous context sensitive ribbon, improvements in Word, Excel and PowerShell were subtle rather than dramatic.  Excel 2 was a great product, Word 6 seemed the ultimate vehicle for producing documents, but now those programs seem clunky and if you are unfortunate to go back to such a machine some of your favourite ways of working are missing.  My point progress is inevitable.


One reader wrote in saying that they had a bad experience downloading the Office 2007 Beta.  Firstly it took 5 attempts to obtain the download.   Then the install failed because it detected an old file incompatible with Office 2007.

As ever I am always interested to hear reports of outcomes to my tips – good and especially bad experiences.

Self Service Reset Password Management

Here is an application which allows end-users to reset their own (Active Directory) passwords.   The way it works is that users have to enter individual information such as mother’s maiden name, then they can reset their password.  Many users may already be familiar with such questions and procedures from internet banking.  The benefit to you the manager is that it dramatically reduces that boring job of dealing with Psycho users who have forgotten their passwords.

Will and Guy Humour

Halloween will soon be upon us.  Here are some topical Halloween jokes and funny pumpkin pictures.

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