After the delivery truck pulled up, a guy got out and yelled, “Buddy. We have your copy of Office 2007 here. Should we leave it in the driveway? I don’t think it will fit in the door. Watch it. That thing weighs a ton.” O.K., so the Microsoft Office Suite isn’t quite that big in terms of storage. And despite the fact that when the CD started up for installation, the computer system sounded like a plane that was going to land short of the runway, there was that realization as I got into Word 2007 that something was going, well quite right. For the first time in memory, I believed that a new version of Word actually represented an improvement. Friends were stunned. “Did Microsoft buy you off?” “Yes. They offered me an all-expense paid vacation during the week of the Worldwide Partner Conference, if I agree to go somewhere else. Talk about a win-win situation.” Actually, I had used Word 2007 during this year's WPC in Denver and found there seemed to be some things to like. But I was still reluctant. “Let’s get Mikey to try it. He hates everything.” However, Mikey was has been grown up these last 30 years, so I ventured into new software land. Now, this is primarily in praise of Word. I hear from accountants Excel has something going for it. As far as PowerPoint, I’m working on a story of addiction, despair and redemption for public speakers called, “Life without PowerPoint.” But I persevered. The interface is different, and that is always something to overcome. But I find it actually a lot easier to learn than Mac-based software. (In those cute Mac and PC TV commercials, I think they should have the Mac guy periodically start drooling and forget where he is in order to be realistic.) Now, many users may not see the benefits I see. At work, I commonly deal with 3,000-word articles (soon to be extinct) and at home, I have files of family histories in the tens of thousands of words, running more than 100 pages, sometimes 200, about a lot of people who are related to me that I don't really like. It’s the ability to handle large documents that is where the software shines. Scrolling seems faster, and at least it no longer leaves you feeling like Jimmy Stewart in “Vertigo.” The whole application seems faster—tighter codewriting, I suspect. Accessing features by tabs, not just be tool bars, also makes sense for features like “Word Count”, which I use for most stories, but not every two minutes. And abandoning broad terms like “File” and “Edit” on the top bar is a big improvement. The much-easier-to-understand “Review” tab has features under sections for “Proofing”, “Comments” Tracking”, “Changes”, “Compare” and “Protect." Similarly, functions have been filed under other tabs—“Insert”, “Page Layout”, “References”, “Mailings” and “View” that make a lot of sense, at least to a professional writer. But the big improvement is making so many functions available through right-clicking the mouse. Choices like “Fonts”, “Paragraph”, and “Cut”, “Copy” and “Paste” come up without having to reach for the tool bar. For someone like me who is constantly reformatting paragraphs and rearranging text, this is huge and speeds up my work enormously. (By the way, you don't need Vista for this). So, I’ve learned to like a Microsoft product. It’s something like the realization that Winston Smith, the main character of George Orwell’s classic novel "1984", had after the end of torture. He loved Big Brother.
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