Since the pioneering work of Word and Excel daddy Charles Simonyi, Microsoft has set the gold standard on productivity applications on the PC. With the Office software suite, Microsoft built a moneymaker worth billions of dollars that has been further sustained by a network of devs who’ve reinforced the cash machine with add-ons …
Office success is entirely due to the exceptional Excel team and its work on vba.
Word is (and was) a pos everyone hates for its instability, inability to nicely page documents and non-reproducibility of layout results on different machines with tiny differences, and was the subject of most famous anti-Ms journalist rant ever.
Outlook is widely regarded as poor man's choice in terms of client and groupware, has a grim security reputation and basically is still alive only because it is bundled with Office and pushed in any way by Exchange.
Access is/was most ridiculed piece of software ever, well known for its lack of performances, scalability, security, limitations when it comes to deal with networking or other database, and is regarded as a sure signature of poor choice in terms of developer skills (or poor planning).
Other applications are mere curiosities for niche users.
But MS decided it is all fine as it is and all user's need is to be more and more dependent from their cloud and their online services, and a "nice" ribbon menu, now metroized to make it even worse.
No wonder those people at MS management lives in denial and are convinced to still live in the golden '90s.
Are you having fun with your Lotus Office running on WinME?
Yes, you are mostly right. Sadly the alternatives are generally worse :(
I agree to some extent.
Very very very much worse in case of Excel.
Mostly on par in the case of Word, which is a pity, a huge one.
A bit better in case of Outlook.
Generally better than Access in features/performances, but much worse in terms of integration to the point to not be a real alternative for the intended Access audience.
About other tools, no one is a must have or a killer app, at lest for most of the user, so I not even begin to enumerate how each fares with alternatives.
Re: Office... @dogged
When WinME was around, the product was called IBM Lotus SmartSuite, and (IMHO) WordPro was better that Word, Lotus123 was missing some of the charting features of Excel, but was still pretty good, and Approach was streets ahead of Access. I also preferred Freelance to Powerpoint, although they were pretty comparable.
Re: Office... @dogged
I thought Approach was revolting but then Access was and still is revolting so that's not really a refutation of your point.
But mainly, Office won because Outlook. Hate it or hate it, you wouldn't swap it for a Notes client in any sane universe.
Re: Office... @dogged
Office won because Outlook. Hate it or hate it, you wouldn't swap it for a Notes client in any sane universe.
Office won because it was a massively cheaper bundle than the competing products and actually pretty good all round.
WordPerfect experts may disagree, but the WYSIWYG interface of Word was a bit of a mind-blower at the time; you didn't need a keyboard cheatsheet to remember how to do things. Lots of bugs, but clearly the way of the future.
Excel has been the best spreadsheet for a long time, not much debate there.
Access is pretty good if you're using it correctly - it's a single-user DB and it does the job pretty well. There's no way of backing up that's easier than copying & pasting a single file. SQL Server Express has been free for a very long time, so even MS offers an alternative.
Powerpoint is required for business presentations.
Outlook is, well, it's there for testing purposes :) Personally I prefer Thunderbird, and that's a bit of a dog.
MS is the company that sells Office - Windows is there just to run it.
A feeble effort. See Eadon after class for hints and tips.
Oh dear, this post contains the word Microsoft....
Eadon hate post imminent!
Just to throw my hat into the ring and to keep things short and sweet. I like the idea of the subscription licencing model (ideally alongside perpetual) and I think Office 365 is definitely a good thing for Microsoft. Cloud based services such as that are definitely moving the IT world in the right direction.
While such cloud-based services lack proper open client-side encryption then no - I don't want all of may data in the hands of another company. Doubly so with the sickly named PATRIOT act applies.
Haven't tried 365 yet, don't think I will. Personally can't stand the ribbon, tried it for a few months, forced to use it at uni and now forced to use it at work but I still dislike the thing. Simply hasn't grown on me, but it seems like a marmite situation. Some people love it, others hate it.
Minimize it then, genius.
Well done, you solved all my problems because the issue was the real estate lost and not the fact that I can't find anything worth a damn in the poorly organised ribbon setup. Good for you, here have a medal.
Maybe YOU can't find anything in the ribbon, but most people can. It was certainly better than trying to find things clicking on a drop down menu exposed by clicking on a button in a tab in a window of a submenu under another submenu under another submenu under a menu. I tried going back to use Word 2003 and found I missed the ribbon for certain tasks. Then I promptly checked myself in to the nearest mental hospital.
On the other hand, that Metro GUI for a desktop/notebook user has GOT to go.
Always puzzled why people apparently struggle with the ribbon.
I hate it. I hate the way the graphics look like 'my first computer'. I hate the inconsistency of the File menu vs the rest. And lots else.
But. The minimized version, fully loaded with the stuff I use regularly in a logical and efficient order is a pleasure to use, uses very little real estate and and takes the custom toolbars of old Office to a new and better place.
One does not simply minimize the ribbon... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r21CMDyPuGo
MS util that can test if spreadsheets will open successfully in all versions of O365?
Is there a Tool that can test thousands of spreadsheets and log which ones will open successfully in all the different versions of O365? Its a question I get asked, and its a nightmare to have to deal with on a one to one basis... i.e. What if a file has macros?
I'd like to see examples of opening the same Excel Spreadsheet in all the different versions, especially over the net versus o2013 locally. I want to understand how the user experience varies for formatting / update-links connectivity / VBA support? Then, explore the differences for all the BYOD options available too with the same spreadsheet...
It's not a must have (perse)
It's simply how the Suite - as a whole - works together. That is the key point of Office, which is of course also combined with certain software components which manage to stand out to some extend (meaning: even critics of said software will agree that it's pretty usable nonetheless).
But for me (small business use with sometimes big demands) the key points to Office are Visual Basic for Applications ("VBA") which allows to me to program or script specific changes or additions to the environment, the Office API which provides access within VBA to several of the specific Office functions (exporting an opened Word to PDF format and then creating a new e-mail message in Outlook with the previously mentioned PDF file attached? No problem) and finally the Windows assemblies: also known as COM; the Component Object Model.
(very) Easily put: COM makes sure that software programs can register themselves with the operating system (Windows) while providing (if applicable) an API (programming interface) to allow external programs to access their functionality. This is the reason why you could easily access the Apple Quicktime player right from within Word (if both are installed of course). And this model goes extremely deep. From natively installed faxing services to Java webstart right down to VLC (video / media player) and / or Zune.
That model alone allows for some extreme functionality of its own; want to access the Windows clipboard from within a VBA program? No problem... Most importantly to note: all of this is possible out of the box, so without the need for an external programming environment such as Visual Studio.
I think it's this speciality which makes Office so extremely appealing to so many people. It's not merely your average Word processor or Excel spreadsheet; it can also provide a complete development platform of its own where the basic Office-based functionality is obviously provided out of the box.
Personally I think it's this reason (apart from the obvious issue of the original company being Sun) why suites such as OpenOffice and later LibreOffice provide very deep ties into Java, also allowing people to utilize it to write extensions for the entire Suite. It's also a model which surpasses the "simple" macro editor and instead opts for a full blown programming environment. The major issue here though is the interoperability. I haven't tried the latest LibreOffice so my knowledge on this matter is dated, but last I checked on OpenOffice I noticed that the people behind these projects are also making some rapid improvements on these parts, it's most certainly a development to keep an eye out for.
Still, personally I think the free Office suites have some way to go before they can match the interoperability provided by Microsoft Office. But as said: they are coming very close already.
Side note: And when the free suites break this barrier then I think Microsoft will start to get serious problems, because then people are directly eating away at one of their main pillars. And they can do it all for free...
Copying the Microsoft paradigm?
"Where rivals have tried to beat Office, they’ve only succeeded in copying the paradigm of apps, menus and screens".
"I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for likee of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage" Oct 1994
"WordPerfect is impressive. The performance is pretty good as well (we'll test when they ship) .. This is from a product manager and has some of the basic information about their feature set" May 1997
"I am reading about the Gateway adoption of the Corel software. I am interested to understand what this means better and how it relates to any contracts we have with them" Feb 1999
The Register Jan 2008 ..
I was doing that with Inter-Word on the BBC in 1986.
Best alternative: SoftMaker Office
In my opinion, the main reasons why users still buy - or rent - an expensive Microsoft Office are:
1) Word (doc, docx), Excel (xls, xlsx), and PowerPoint (ppt, pptx) represent the global standard office formats, and users are afraid, they can't handle these formats perfectly with an alternative office suite If there was an alternative office suite with 100% interoperability, many users would switch to this.
2) Idleness. Since MSO was / is the standard office suite which most users privately and / or professionally used to work with, they prefer sticking to the "original" insted of dealing with a completely different structure, interface, and other functionalities.
I played around with severl alternative office suites, but neither LibreOffice, nor Google Docs, Kingsoft, Calligra, nor OpenOffice etc. can completely convince (former) MSO users in these two points.
Ultimately, I encountered SoftMaker Office, an office suite from a small German developer, and everyone who wants to switch from MSO to an alternative, but however, has not done it yet because of the two points above, should definitely try it out:
1) The compatibility is not perfect (that's not possible) but close to that, I have thousands of MSO documents, sheets, and a few presentations, plus I used Outlook - all of my files can be used seamlessly in both directions without formatting loss, and I like eM Client 5 Professional, which is included in SoftMaker Office Pro, much more than Outlook.
2) Interface is similar / familiar to that of MS Office 2003 (no ribbons), with several modern extensions such as tabs for multiple pages, navigation bar etc., so there's not too much of a learning curve.
Coding is tight, and program is small and runs fast. Price is reasonable at ~$99 for three licenses, upgrades from earlier versions ~$40, A free 30 day trial download is available. Have a look. Andy say goodbye to Microsoft Office.
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