Software

Office poll: Which Office 2007 application would you love to downgrade to 2003?

This week's Office poll lets you imagine going back in time--to Office 2003. Tell us which Office 2003 you'd most like back.

Many of you are using Office 2007 exclusively now, and it's been quite an adjustment. Which Office 2003 application would you most like to have back?

Below, leave a comment and tell us which application you chose and why.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

103 comments
edf
edf

I chose Word 2003 because I miss the 2003 toolbar. I did find a free program online that added the toolbar back; however, you have to select it every time you need it. David

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

Thinking real hard about migrating to Open Office or just re-installing 2003 and run it till the code rots!!!

fledis
fledis

I can't get why option Outline Numbering is excluded from Format Styles dialog (Word 2007). This is the common way to number chapters, and sub-chapters, and sub-sub- chapters... Why it isn't possible now???

ianphilpott
ianphilpott

The menus were much easier. We developed language to save us drawing pictures so why visit the past?

gwyn909
gwyn909

You didn't give the option of Open Office.

wescott
wescott

We used Excel 2003 for cabling diagrams. The lines in Excel 2007 do not allow us to Edit Points to bend the lines.

happymedia_dz
happymedia_dz

Hi, I think that you omited a option that is: No one because i'm very satisfied with Office 2007 Regards MehdiH

wittmav
wittmav

Access - only to bring back the easy-to-create custom tool bars. Otherwise, I've adapted pretty well to all the 2007 products.

mkarklins
mkarklins

Access 2003 has data access pages 2007 does not

struzin
struzin

please just give me one that works, no freezes, printing capability, no updates every 2 hours

trevor'fawcett
trevor'fawcett

PUBLISHER, now taken out for good but still widely used otherwise it would not have been released as a stand=alone4 application costing loyal customers even more money. 2003 is totally adequate for all applications and the added advantage is that you don't have to upgrade to Windows Vista or itts "lets mend Vista? version, Windows 7

digitrog
digitrog

My first " M$ Office pack " was an OEM M$ Office 4.3 PRO, that was bundled with my first IBM styled PC - the original of the "Pentiums" a mighty P60 (which ran most of its life at 66 , after my original CPU was replaced as it had that "Pentium processor error" , does anyone remember that oversight from Intel ?) The full 4.3 Pro install was a massive [for then] 100Mb. Office 2007 fills a large portion of a DVD ! - and there isn't any improvement in the features, Just a huge amount of bloat-ware of which most users would never use over 80% ... ... and I'm certain the arithmetic errors in Excel are still inherent from its ancestor apps. [ ... errors came from everywhere, even Windows Calculator actually still had a floating point error until SP1 of XP! ]

programit
programit

One of the primary reasons our organisation is switching away from office is the Ribbon interface. It slow, clumsy and awkward to use. Finding hidden options and commands are a pain compared to the menu system. Luckily Open Office still has menus. The other problem of course is price. There no benefit to spending $1000's on software that has zero improvements or benefits. The only reason we upgrade at all from 2003 was issues with our Vista / Windows 7 Laptops. (Microsoft tax at work!)

aravind.pk
aravind.pk

Office 2007 is better and more of a great suite and cant be replaced by its earlier versions. Its the most purposeful and featured product. 2003 downgrading is never going to be a good option

carlsf
carlsf

Unless MS return the Menue system we will never be usind Office 2007 and if 2010 is the same as 2007 again NO GO. We will be staying with Office 2003 and we are trauling a number of Open Office suites this is getting better recieption than 2007

ghanks
ghanks

If you are running on vista or windows 7 they all work great... a little bloated, but much more functional than 2003... On XP... keep 2003 ... All of it..

crheemstra
crheemstra

You didn't have the choice to choose none of the above. I love the new Office (all of the programs) and would not go back to Office 2003 for any of the applications.

houskampdesign
houskampdesign

I simply have no reason to "upgrade" to 2007; all the 2003 aps work well enough for a small office. I need to get work done, not sit around trying to figure out what the geniuses at Microsoft have done to make my life more difficult with a new version.

jfuller05
jfuller05

I just really like the ease of access in Word 2003. If there was a Word 2003 gui for 2007, then I would really like 2007. The only complaint I have with 2007 is the organization of it.

Thack
Thack

Visio! You didn't offer that one.

shop234
shop234

Word 2003 please! 2007 offers nothing I didn't have in '03, and everything is impossible to find. My productivity has tanked!

Toni_Gonc
Toni_Gonc

None of them, I like office 2010 just fine thank you!

jpclark
jpclark

The new ribbon makes it harder to do what you need to do as there are now too many places you have to look to find what you want. More is not necessarily better

K James
K James

Sorry, stuck this in the wrong place earlier... I send a request EVERY DAY on the Microsoft Office "feedback" form asking for an option to put back the toolbars and menus. You can buy a third party product that does this, but I don't think I should have to pay for it. If EVERYONE who is fed up with Microsoft's autocratic ways would to this, maybe they would listen.. maybe.

stpmt11
stpmt11

Most of the common features that my users need are still available in '07. I like the word mail merge tab in '07, it's a bit easier to explain to users. I don't really mind the change from menus to ribbons, it's pretty much a pick your poison sort of thing. I can say it doesn't reduce the amount of clicks it takes to do anything. What I can't stand is the document format change. It's pretty much flipping off anyone who was currently using their software. I know they provided a conversion tool, and Open Office didn't take long to be able to convert and open these files. If it weren't for their market dominance, a business move like that would have crippled them, and had the masses moving to another Office Suite. This sort of move really shows Microsoft's lack of concern for their userbase, and also displays their comfort in their current hold on the Office Productivity market.

bruce.ott
bruce.ott

Fixed ribbons are especially annoying. I resent Microsoft forcing me to use their idea of the ideal UI

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

Where does it stop? I studied for the Office 97 Certification. I got certified on Office 2000. I studied for the Office 2003 Certification. I studied for the Office 2007 Certification. Office 2010 is due out by summer. Does anyone see a pattern here? If they keep changing how Office looks, or where different items are on the "ribbon", we all have to keep spending our money to upgrade our certifications and on knowledge base. I say just fix the security problems when they occur. Leave the program visuals alone... Anyone agree (or disagree)?

emoore33
emoore33

The eye candy part is not a problem, I even have uses for a fair amount o fteh formatting. The downgrade in reliabilty of the data appalls me. It is actaully a toss-up between Excel and Access which is worse.

K James
K James

I don't mind Office 2007 - I just don't see the "improvement" in the ribbon vs. the toolbars. I feel like Microsoft screwed over their "best" users in favor of eye candy. It's embarrassing to me as the pro "support guy" when I don't know how to do basic functions, and the learning curve has been harsh. My office is losing a lot of productivity - needlessly - while people try to adjust to the new "user friendly" blah blah interface. I don't care what "contributions" in computing may be assigned to Microsoft; I think Microsoft treats their users like crap. I hate them (but that's just my opinion).

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Yeah, it's easy! Just learn to write specifications, learn to code, learn to debug, learn to... oh , just buy a typewriter, if you can find one. You obviously haven't been a software developer.

Marshwiggle
Marshwiggle

... if I wasn't already back further. Office 4.3 worked fine, better in some cases (like Bullets & Numbering in Word). I'm using 2K at home (because the macro system was consolidated to VBA), and considering upgrading to XP 2002 if I can still find it, but no further. The Help system was broken in 2003 by splitting it into two windows, at least one of which can't be minimized to the Taskbar -- yes, you can keep it open as a docked Pane, but that decreases your workspace, which is the main purpose of any application -- and I see from a great number of other comments here that I don't even have to mention replacing the familiar and highly customizable Toolbars w/ the &*@#$%! Ribbon in 2007.

N4AOF
N4AOF

Oh really? Can you name some useful functionality in Word or Excel 2007 that wasn't available in 2003?

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Our computer club has used Office 2007 on our Win XP machines, until their replacement with Win 7.

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Most of our club members transitioned with only a two hour class to point out the ribbon use. Of course, they didn't have to "unlearn" much. As someone posted, the "newbies" have few problems. Millions of "newbies" come along every so often. All creatures of habit find it much more difficult to use 2007. Having become familiar with the Styles usage, I wouldn't want to revert to 2003. Remember when cars had three pedals on the floor to change the planetary gears (Ford Model T)? Remember when you had to manually roll down the window to signal a turn? Remember life in autos before air conditioning (1939 Packard)? Remember when cars started to use automatic transmissions (1940 Oldsmobile)? Few wanted them at the time. In fact, I love my Miata with a 6-speed manual (I'm 80 next week).

KKrieger
KKrieger

If users don't like the ribbon, and complain about clicking, I suggest a couple of strategies: 1) Hide the Ribbon with CTRL F1 or the button in the Quick Access toolbar 2) Print the keyboard shortcut list from Help 3) Hide the Ribbon, and press ALT to expose the keyboard shortcuts. Often used tools can be accessed more quickly once keyboard shortcuts are memorized. I've found that most people are so mouse-driven that keyboard shortcuts seem like too much work. Keith Krieger

gwyn909
gwyn909

I think users should walk with their fingers. Unfortunately, most computers are sold with MS already installed and it is "supposedly" an industry standard. For this honour you pay an extra premium because most new users are too ignorant to know better. Autocratic is a mild term for tyrannical and like most tyrants MS will fall. It is only a matter of time.

digitrog
digitrog

do you remember from Star Trek " ... WE are BORG - You Will Be Assimilated ... " and [from somewhere else ] " If I want your opinion - I'll give it to you ... " this is virtually the attitude of the M$ thinking ... - no not my opinions on the subject at hand - I too have many grievances with the so called improvements they keep shoveling onto the compost heap of OS's and applications ... what happened to the KISS principle ( Keep It Simple STUPID! ) ;^)

john3347
john3347

"I send a request EVERY DAY on the Microsoft Office "feedback" form asking for an option to put back the toolbars and menus. You can buy a third party product that does this, but I don't think I should have to pay for it. If EVERYONE who is fed up with Microsoft's autocratic ways would to this, maybe they would listen.. maybe." Unfortunately, it does no good to "speak" your wishes. Large companies who have a stranglehold on their respective markets do not listen to requests. It is only when they are "on the mat", facing bankruptcy and begging for taxpayer bailouts that they MAY begin listening to customer needs. As long as Microsoft can sell their products and make huge profits doing so, the customer voice is not heard. If one doesn't like the product, DON'T BUY IT!!!! The ribbon is un-intuitive, screen gobbling, and requires 3 to 5 mouse clicks to perform most operations that 2003 and older versions required 1 to 2 clicks to perform. Those who learn by memory alone can learn to work with Word 2007 (and 2010). Those who need each step to logically lead to the next are in deep water with no life preserver with the current ribbon system. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. edit: I used Word as the example here, but the statements apply equally to all Office products and others that use the ribbon system.

SirWizard
SirWizard

"I don't really mind the change from menus to ribbons, it's pretty much a pick your poison sort of thing." The biggest problem is that you can't pick your poison--Microsoft picks it. If we could pick which interface to use, ribbon or traditional, most of the argument and loss of productivity would vanish.

jfuller05
jfuller05

There isn't much difference at all between the office systems other than arrangement and visuals. It's ridiculous also for the "have-to" update of certifications. $$$$$

pandppc
pandppc

And how much did it cost for all of these new certifications?

yattwood
yattwood

Okay (pauses to don raingear for all the pies that will be thrown at me....) I hate, loathe, detest, cannot stand, excoriate (did I mention that I did not like?) Word2007! I type a lot of papers for my Impoverished College Student Son, and the *.docx ain't happening....yes, I know you can use the 2003 Style feature in 2007, and I have to always, always, always remember to create the 2007 document in 2003 Style, and make sure it is saved as a *.doc, not *.docx. I hate the "look and feel" of Word2007 (DISCLAIMER: I am an Oracle/SQL Server DBA, with the preponderance of my DBA experience in Oracle on AIX/HP-UX/Solaris/IRIX/NCR UNIX/Linux (you get my drift...) - I find Word2003 _tolerable_, at best, but Word2007 horrible *** END OF KVETCH *****

gwyn909
gwyn909

I agree with K James about MS abusing their users. But that is nothing to the way they treat their temp staff. I worked at MS in South Africa for 6 months and felt like I was treated like a piece of crap. The managers "forgot" to invite the three temps (contingents they called us) to the company Christmas party, the team incentive (held out of town over three days) and we were not allowed to buy software at staff prices. MS is too arrogant to consider their users as being people. Their attitude is "This is the new pack, Now learn it. We don't support old packs. Tough." They don't deserve customers.

fledis
fledis

I'd like to get back the Insert Function dialog from Excel 4 for building formulas with nested functions. It was soooo easy and logical...

N4AOF
N4AOF

So what would you think if Mazda insisted you buy a 2011 Miata that only offered an automatic -- and that automatic didn't actually shift itself but came with two paddle shifters on the steering wheel, plus a button on the dash, and a knob in the trunk - all of which were required in different combinations to select each gear??

Thack
Thack

"Most of our club members transitioned with only a two hour class to point out the ribbon use. Of course, they didn't have to "unlearn" much. As someone posted, the "newbies" have few problems. Millions of "newbies" come along every so often." I think that is the crux of the matter. The ribbon seems to work very well for novice users, whereas experience users of earlier versions find it a difficult and unnecessary change. I'm one of the (seemingly) few experienced users (since V2.0) who really likes the ribbon interface.

gwyn909
gwyn909

Tried Ctrl-F1 and that didn't work to get rid of the Ribbon. In MS Word I have learnt the shortcut keys over the years and now I have put my most often used icons onto the custom toolbar. I ignore the Ribbon as a useless decoration. In Excel I use all the shortcut keys which I learnt years ago and have put my most often used extra icons onto the custom toolbar. I mostly ignore the ribbon.

SirWizard
SirWizard

If enough people don't buy an ersatz upgrade, Microsoft does notice. That's why some (but certainly not all) of the bad things about Windows Vista have been improved in Windows 7 (nee Vista 2.) As of my writing this (total votes 861), 28% of us have not paid Microsoft for their horribly interfaced Officious 2007. Another 26% would dump it if they could, and would obviously recommend to anyone considering a migration to 2007 to save their money, time, wrists, and sanity. That's more than half the responders who show a clear dislike of the whole ribbon deal. It would have been good to actually have the "Keep 2007" choice to get a clear idea of the real situation. The usability of the classic interface compares to the ribbon in the same way as the usability of having a hand at the end of your arm compares to a stump with an iron hook. Yes, some folks can get by with the hook, but if I have a choice, I won't pay Microsoft to amputate my Office Suite usability and productivity. To all you ribbon lovers, tell me, has better-interface-Microsoft done anything to improve the Cross-reference dialog box, required, for example, to insert a cross-reference to a numbered paragraph. It was still a horror in multiple ways in Word 2003. Someone with 2007 and familiarity with 2003, please tell me about the big improvements Microsoft made for us with that dialog box. Even simply making the box resizable (larger) would have been a huge improvement. Any improvement to that core function for serious users, or some glitz for the newbies? I write large (200+ pages) technical documents with Word 2003, full of references, tables, inserted pictures, and the like. My customized toolbars enable me to access nearly all the functions that I use with a single click, while keeping my screen real estate.

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

Cost of certs is not cheap! When you consider the books, cd's, cert helps and then add in the cost of the exam, you have spent $500 easily per cert. Who needs it??? Some of us do need it to troubleshoot for our users...sigh...

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