Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PowerPoint Tip: Upgrading from PowerPoint 2003 to 2007

I am planning to buy a new laptop next year after the new Core i7 chipset comes to laptops. One question I am struggling with is whether to load the 2007 or the 2003 version as my primary Office version. I still plan to load both versions and run one of them via a virtual machine as I do now so that I can demonstrate the proper version in my workshops. But the primary Office version will be the one I work in most of the time.

I am currently running Office 2003 as my primary version. Why would I run a version that is at least six years old? Because my surveys show that most corporate clients are running Office 2003 and a number are running even earlier versions, like 2000. The cost of upgrading is one expense that many organizations are putting off until the economic situation changes. But an even bigger cost is the cost of retraining because the user interface is so different between Office 2003 and 2007.

If I decide to go with the 2007 version, the first stop I will make is here to download the interactive guides. When I talk to people who have made the step to Office 2007, one of the biggest challenges is learning where common commands or features are in the new interface. These interactive guides allow you to find the command you are looking for in the Office 2003 menu and then the guide will show you where that feature is located in the Office 2007 interface. You can use the guides online or download them so you can use them any time.

As with any upgrade, you need to determine whether it is worth it – does the upgrade have enough features to warrant the time and expense? Here are some of the key differences I have found between PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 that I think make it worth considering:

  • More shapes to choose from which makes creating diagrams easier
  • More effects for shapes to enhance the professional look of your visuals
  • The use of Excel to generate graphs inside PowerPoint which gives you access to the calculation power of Excel within PowerPoint
  • The ability to create a PDF version of your slides from within PowerPoint, which aids in distributing slides, especially to mobile devices

I’ve talked with many people who have made the change to Office 2007 and they say that after you get used to the interface, you are more productive than before. I also don’t want to fall too far behind in the product cycle given that we expect to see a new version of Office released next year. We’ll see, but for now, I’m leaning towards moving up to Office 2007 with the new computer. I hope that my thoughts have helped you think about the next upgrade you are thinking of, whether it is to Office 2007 this year or to Office 2010 next year.


Blogger Ed said...

Dave, its well worth the move. I was in the same situation as you before, I was pretty good at 2003 and 07 seemed like a big shift, and it is.. for a while... but once you get used to it it is much much better I find.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Todd Dolce' said...

I must say that I do not like 07 PPt at all! The GUI just doesn't make much sense and I find myself constantly battling the tabs just to get simple things done. The worse part about the new version is that you cannot, I repeat,...you CANNOT create a straight line using the Freeform shape tool(even while holding down the shift key). It seems to do ok with angles (while holding down the shift key, but the programmers messed it up for the straight vertical and straight horizontal lines and by default it seems to be off by a fraction and therefore takes an exerted effort to try and compensate. Inexcusable!

The line tool seems to be OK, but many times I need the Freeform shape tool because of the nature of my work.

I did not see the ability to create tear-aways with the tabs, which would be so much better for my style and therefore it forces you to conform to the way the GUI was designed.

Really,...what I see here is a version that did not have much to offer in the way of "valuable" improvements, so they decided to change the look of the interface and add a bunch of automated 3D effects so that the novice could feel like they were experts in creating eye candy.

I love nice looking 3D charts,...please don't get me wrong, but what may result from this upgrade is an over usage of effects just because they were available to use. The results are usually obvious and hideous.

I will be installing 03 on another PC just so I can get some stuff done quicker and more logically, but unfortunately I will have to keep 07 installed to keep pace with the rest of the business world.

11:45 AM  

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