pain, tears and office 2008

Some weeks ago I upgraded Microsoft Office to Office 2008 (yes it does still have menus on the Mac!), and life since has been constant trouble.

OK first there are ‘minor’ niggles like it eating 1/2 my screen space in huge tool bars replicated at the top of every window, or eveytime I read in an Excel spreadsheet it telling me that old macros no longer work … actually I don’t use Excel macros, but f you do and have lots of spreadsheets that use them what then? … and don’t get me started in the fact that I can no longer cut and paste directly between Word and Dreamweaver.

… and then, just over 2 weeks ago, I was at the AVI conference and, as one does, writing the slides for the presentation the day before. I had produced all the diagrams for the presentation in Powerpoint and then copied them into Word, so thought it would be easy – start with the Powerpoint file with all the diagrams in it and add a few words around them – after all pictures always best. However, this was reckoning without Office 2008. The figures had been produced in PPT 2004, and when I opened them in Office 2008 half the images just disappeared. I tried opening in the old version of office, but it simply crashed every time I tried to update a file, I assume the Office 2008 install broke the old Office 2004 install in some way. In desperation I tried cutting and pasting the slides between PPT 2004 and PPT 2008, but that failed (I guess because Powerpoint thought it was pasting back into itself!). Eventually I managed to get the crucial images by cutting and pasting via a third program.

But the reason I am blogging now, rather than doing the pile of work that I need to do, is that Word has decided that about every 10 minutes it needs a 15 minute break and disappears into a little spinning rainbow – it does eventually come back, but only after several cups of tea.

To be fair most of the problems seem to be with compatibility mode … but surely backward compatibility is not so difficult … after all we have a lot of old files out here .. or if they can’t code it properly simply produce one-off converters rather than pretending to work when they don’t!

But the spinning disk has at last stopped … so back to another 10 minutes work before it halts again.