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According to a recent Mossberg column in the Wall Street Journal, MS wil be issuing a new ("radically new") version of Office at the end of this month. I hope users will monitor this closely-it sounds like a monstrosity.
 

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You are referring to Office 2007, which has been out in "Beta" test format for some time.

Many are already quite familiar with the new package, trials have been publically available for a while, trial disks are plentiful right here.
 

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I haven't been able to use it myself yet, but all the reviews I have read have been very positive, with the exception that, for older and/or not terribly computer-savvy people who know previous versions of Office well, there will be a fairly steep learning curve. I will deal with that - providing support - when I need to. Until then, I am looking forward to using Office 2007.
 

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Office 2007 has an RTM out (Release To Manufacturer) and available via MSDN (if you have such a subscription). I believe there are test versions available from the MSFT website as well.

I am using it as my primary version right now, although I still have 2003 to do any major developing in. The new version of Office (v12) is, IMO, put together fairly well. There were some loss of capabilities, but much more gained. I'll line out some of the pros and cons which I have observed (my opinion only):

Pros:
  • New & improved UI (the Ribbon) is well thought out and put together
  • Additional functions, including more CUBE functions and multi-conditional Count, Sum & Average
  • Better charting capabilities
  • New Table abilities allow for more versatile and elegant looking data
  • A new Remove Duplicates feature
  • A much improved Name Manager
  • Beautiful Conditional Formatting, much more robust & not limited to 3 conditions
  • Row & Column limit expanded greatly
  • Formula limits far surpassed
  • New calculation engine should help with major number crunching
  • Amount of Sorting available increased
  • AutoFilter "buff" up (re limits and uniques)
  • Formula bar can expand/collapse and is customizable
  • Find/Replace limit increased
  • Unique format limit severely increased
  • Sorting by dates has many more capabilities
  • Pivot Tables received a nice overhaul

Cons:
  • Loss of FileSearch in VBA
  • Help files not fully updated
  • VBA Object Model (OM) not fully adapted to all new version upgrades
  • Extremely difficult to program to the new UI (The Ribbon)
  • An in-depth understanding of XML & .NET needed for UI programmability
  • Help documentation limited
  • Not all Office applications have the Ribbon
  • Re-training on the new UI will take some time

This is of course a very small list of everything added. A good list can be found at David Granier's blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2005/09/26/474258.aspx. All-in-all I like the suite. It will be expensive though, which I am not fond of. Developing custom solutions for it (in regards to the command bars) will be quite the PITA.

HTH
 

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I read that MS decided to wait for second parties to develop programs to change the ribbon - certainly they will be developed, but it is kind of a meatheaded solution, I think. And the Help files are almost totally online, which basically means that you need a highspeed connection when you want to use the help - I can understand their thinking, I guess, but as someone who lives in a small town where lots of people still rely on dial-up, it will prove to be a problem.
 
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