Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Do you like Excel 2007?

Since my post yesterday I've spent a bit of time working with Excel 2007.

I really like the look and feel of it. It's bright and cheerful and looks less boring than the old version (spreadsheets do have a nasty habit of turning into huge long columns of numbers, and when they're surrounded by dull grey borders, they look even worse).

But what I don't like is that lots of functions and options have been MOVED!

In a lot of ways, the new layout is more logical, but yesterday I had to spend ages trying to find out how to change the range of data that a pivot table looks at.

In Excel 2003, there's a pivot table wizard, and you can just right-click on the table and go back into the wizard if you want to change anything in the table.

In Excel 2007, the wizard has gone. You just click on Insert and then Pivot Table. That's in itself confusing when you're used to clicking Data to start a pivot table.

Which means that changing anything in a pivot table can get fiddly.

And the answer to how to change the range is... go to Options!! I'd tried just about everywhere else before I even thought of looking there.

Have you tried Excel 2007? What did you think of it? Have you switched from Excel 2003 yet?



  1. Excel 2007 is much better - no doubt. It makes more sense once you re-adjust. Pivot tables are much better on 2007, but I had exactly the same problem you describe initially - keep an eye out for the top middle of the screen and the words "Pivot tables" in 2007.

  2. Emily,

    I too like the look'n'feel of the product and I think if was V1.0 of Excel it would be much admired. The problem is, the changed layout has alienated a lot of existing users and I think slowed adoption (I'm still 2003 and only fire up 2007 to check forward compatibility).

    The thinking behind the changes appears to have been driven by the fact that the vast majority of Excel users do not use or indeed know of its many powerful features (e.g. pivot tables). By making the layout more "logical" and "discoverable" MS hoped to expose more of that really useful functionality.

    I fear however, the reality is a task-focused community of existing power-users who feel that MS is trying to press-gang them into a vast UI experiment. And like that other UI experiment, Vista, most appear to prefer to stick with a product that they know rather s shiny new one offering little added value.


  3. People don't like change do they? But I hear many a grumble at MS for not making enough change. Having used 2007 for sometime now I would not want to go back.

    As for Power Users - come on, if you are a Power User you can cope with a change.

  4. Thanks Tom and Philip for your comments.

    What's annoying about the changes in Excel 2007 is having to take time to find your way round the new menus.

    But, I suspect that once I have found my way round, I'll find it difficult to go back to 2003. I probably will upgrade when the trial ends.



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