Tuesday, July 31, 2012

lefty Does Office 2010

They say that talking about yourself in the third person is the first sign of insanity.
So be it.

I have one computer at home and work that runs Windows.  I use Outlook for corporate email and calendaring.  We are running all manner of Office versions at work.

There's something called the 80/20 rule, whereby 80% of the people use 20% of the functions of certain software.  For once, I am very clearly in the majority.  The air is strange up here.

Quite honestly, I was pretty happy with Office 2000.  I installed Office 2003 a while back, after seeing the horror that was Office 2007.  Again, I use basic calendaring, email, and word processing.  Over on the linux side, I use AbiWord and Thunderbird (both also available for Windows) and they handle all my needs.

I'm forced to migrate to a newer Office version and decided to go to 2010.  Some would call it upgrading.  I call it downgrading, as is frequently the case with Microsoft products.  The first thing I noticed is that the install took forever on my current HP desktop.  It sucked up all available resources, frequently refreshing the icons on the desktop.   And you know that when it was done, it required a reboot.  Linux doesn't.  When it rebooted, it still had more to do and kept me waiting a while before the ctl-alt-delete screen came up.  This screams bloatware right off the bat.

Standard behavior for most software is to upgrade the program's icons.  Instead, it deleted the old icons and failed to replace them.  Odd.

When I brought up Outlook, it did what all annoying software seems to do, which is maximize itself to take up an entire screen.  This is by no means restricted to Microsoft - it just annoys the hell out of me.

The part I was dreading most showed up immediately: the ribbon bar (or whatever it's called).  To my friends at Microsoft, this was a dunderheaded move.  I don't design software but you don't take things and hide them or move them around randomly, as you did with Office.  It simply confuses your user base.  A prime example of this is Windows 7.  I don't care what your studies say or your color preferences are, hiding stuff is bad (mkay???).

Fortunately you can hide the ribbon bar, but this is of only limited usefulness.  I kind of enjoy the tiny icon bars that are across the top of every piece of software I use on both platforms.  Huge icon bars are fine for Macs and the visually impaired but not for people who have to use Windows.  Is there a replacement ribbon bar or perhaps a way to go smaller?  [Research needed, lefty]

Trying to actually use the ribbon bar is another problem.  Too much there.  Not intuitive.  Too much looking around for things that have been hidden.  Again, not a smart idea, MS.

A quick look at Word echoes my Ribbon Rant.  Seems ok otherwise.

What I do like about Outlook is the ability to have more information available onscreen.  On earlier versions I used, calendar was always a separate screen.  Having it available with email makes it more useful, especially with larger and/or multiple screens.

One way to do away with ribbons (partially) is to customize the Quick Access bar.  It does not support all icons, though.

I have noticed a curious lag when typing in Outlook that was not there in 2003.

More as I find it...

UPDATE:  Excel 2010 keeps failing to respond randomly while working on spreadsheets.  I have Googled and tried safe mode, to no avail.  I have had it with this bloated, ribbon-strangled piece of... software.  I'm upgrading to Office 2003.

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