I have tested the Microsoft Office 2007 Beta components, and here are my reviews.
- OneNote 2007 - a MUST upgrade if you use OneNote 2003.
- Word 2007 - a pleasing upgrade if you like better looking and better organized formatting menus
- Internet Explorer 7 (not part of the Office, but just thought to include it here) - a very nice upgrade. Pleasing to look at, more features, better security. Does not support Yahoo Mail, except via a registry edit by the user.
- Excel 2007 - still not reviewed. Cannot see what is different right off the bat. Not compatible with 3rd party plug-in and web mesh-ups.
- Publisher 2007 - not recommended. Use FrontPage 2003, or templates provided by web-based services.
OneNote 2007 Beta -- I REALLY LOVE this upgrade.
This is a much needed upgrade to round out the rough spots in the earlier version of OneNote. Now you can have more than 1 notebook, there is an “explorer” like view to organization of notebooks and pages by dragging them around, and the much needed table feature has been added. There is also a web browser button that will add web clippings directly into OneNote’s unfilled pages section. In my opinion, the 2003 OneNote was a beta software, and the changes to 2007 OneNote finally make this software a full featured offering.
Outlook 2007 Beta – not much change, slightly better look.
The 2007 Outlook has a slightly better looking business card view. The ability to see the task plane in the calendar view is nice. Has one-button integration with OneNote, which is nice if you use it.
Recently, I printed a 5x7 sized address book from Outlook. It printed a nice directory with "a..b" etc legends along the right-edge of page.
It had compatibility issues when I upgraded to IE 7 and also with a few other providers. It also does not like having Outlook 2003 installed at the same time as 2007. The corrupt files seems to have repaired itself from the original install files (since I no longer know where the install CD is).
Generally, I really dislike Microsoft Outlook. After killing off Lotus Organizer back in 1996(?), I have yet to find a version of Microsoft Outlook that worked as well. The only feature I use consistently in Outlook is Contacts, and this only because I need to sync with my Microsoft PocketPC’s Contacts. However, Outlook 2007 Contacts does NOT sync with my Pocket PC 2002 Contacts. I may start looking around for a contact management software with better organized contact fields, better user interface, much better handling of duplicate entries, and better syncing directly to the storage card on the pocket pc -- and ditch Microsoft Outlook altogether. It will be good riddance! Bye bye Outlook! Bye bye to countless hours wasted manually correcting sync error!!!
Word 2007 Beta – much improved organization of formatting options. Worthy upgrade if you do a lot of complex formatting.
The look is very different than Word 2003. Similar tasks are grouped together. Menu bar section has become a menu ribbon and takes up a large real estate at the top of the screen. There is a context sensitive mini-popup-menu. Just select the text you want to edit and right click.
I posted a sample of this page directly to blogspot.com using the new “Blog Post” function. It worked surprisingly well! Bloggers might want to upgrade just for that function. I have recommended to a small business an office wide upgrade to Word 2007 when the final version comes out.
----- Update: OK, the test image did not upload correctly using the built-in "Blog Post" function fromWord 2007. Still, that's not bad. Just getting the text to format correctly and uploading with 1-click to Blogspot.com is worth getting excited about. ---------
Publisher 2007 Beta (no FrontPage 2003 upgrade available):
O.K., I think I know why there is no FrontPage 2007. WordPress and TypePad seem to have taken over the blogging domain and personal/small business web hosting services seem to have taken over everything else. Each web hosting provider offers web templates, complete with graphics, for the novice web user. The experienced users seem to write code directly into PhP, Java, Ruby on Rails, and Rails scaffolds. FrontPage 2003 seems to be redundant, and not too many people are using it anymore.
I still use FrontPage 2003. I am sorry Microsoft did not choose to upgrade it. When FrontPage 2003 came out, it was a big improvement over 2000 because 2003 allowed multiple views of the page being edited. A (web) preview and (html) code screens can be viewed simultaneously in a tile format, which saved a lot of time. I like the built-in template for a photo montage and photo film-strips. But Flickr and SiteKreator.com both offer these templates. Still, if you have a photo edition & managing software on your desktop, it's MUCH faster to create such a photo montage on the desktop. You may need to downsize them and edit them a few times, and uploading/refreshing each edit takes a long time on these websites. If you have FTP ability on the web, it's fast and a one-click operation to load the templates and all of the edited photos in one fell swoop.
Publisher is for printing business cards, photo calendars, and greeting cards. I exclude brochures from this list because Microsoft Word has very good templates for printing business brochures and complex 100 page reports with pages of footnotes, as it should.
Excel 2007 Beta – 3rd party plug-ins not compatible. To be reviewed.
Update - Internet Explorer 7 review:
I use a Yahoo Mail paid service. When I click an e-mail link from a websites, ex. Linked-In.com, the browser fires up a "mail client" on the desktop. The Internet Explorer (all versions after 4) requires the user to go into the registry to add a "mail client" other than Outlook. I found instructions on support.microsoft.com to make this registry edit, but it's really lame of Microsoft to require this. I use the Yahoo mail and use the browser to directly read and reply to e-mails. I only download e-mails to archive them on my desktop and then delete them from Yahoo's servers. I really like Yahoo's built-in virus scanner, spam filter, and auto direct to my folders for news and shopping emails. I have not gotten a virus infection in many years. In general, I like the nice look, better security, and enhanced Google button choices of Internet Explorer 7, so I will probably do the registry edit and keep IE as my browsers, but will spend more time checking out Firefox to see if the integration to Yahoo Mail is easier. It seems strange that IE 7 has Google Mail & services buttons but not Yahoo Mail & services buttons.