Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Office 2013 is horrible

Immersion is the best way to force yourself to embrace new technology which is why I gave up Office 2010 for the last 30 days.  Sadly, I'm worse off for it and I am not one of those people that complain about every little change. (Remember all your friends whining about Facebook changes when they occur?).   Office 2013, as far as I can tell, has added no worthwhile features for typical business users. (I do address exceptions at the end of this article)

When Office 2010 came out, it was only slightly better than Office 2007 but after using it for awhile, there were several small improvements (like the quick access toolbar) that became very valuable to me. Unfortunately, with Office 2013 Microsoft has focused more on their long term strategy than providing value for users.

For example, they are working very hard to make Microsoft Skydrive an integral component of your workday so that you don't need to use Dropbox. But if now takes extra clicks to save files or you have to go into settings and change the default to avoid this "benefit". Kudos to Microsoft for thinking about long term but lousy execution.

And Microsoft Outlook 2013 is truly the worst part of the Office 2013 upgrade.

I'm a huge fan of Outlook but unfortunately Office 2013 eliminated numerous things that make Outlook great. Simple things like being able to drag an email onto a calendar and have it automatically create an appointment or the ability to show more than 1 month in the todo bar while working in email. And it takes nearly a minute to open your calendar the first time each day.

While I personally try to upgrade with every new release to be ahead of the curve, for Geiger and our users, I take a different strategy with Microsoft. Skip every other upgrade because Microsoft gets it right every other time. 

  • Windows 2000-Dud. Windows XP-winner. Windows Vista-Dear god help me. Windows 7-Awesome. Windows 8-Helpful if you want to move to touch screen but otherwise, bleh. 
  • Office 2000-meh. Office 2003-good improvements. Office 2007-meh. Office 2010-nice. Office 2013- This might be on par with Windows Vista... 
There are 3 things that I see that could make it worth upgrading to Office 2013:

  1. You have bought a touch screen laptop.  Office 2013 is optimized for touch.
  2. You have Office 2003 or older version.
  3. You have multiple computers at home and want to share the licensing.  Office 365 allows you to pay $100 per year and share the license on up to 5 personal computers. This is much cheaper than buying 5 licenses.
If you are using Office 2007 or 2010, do not upgrade to Office 2013 unless you have a specific feature you want/need. If you are using anything older, it will probably be an improvement overall with a few drawbacks.

And if you haven't started using Google docs, give it a shot before upgrading.  I'm personally not ready to give up Office yet but we are using Google docs much more for collaborating on documents.  This is why I can support what Microsoft is trying to do, but the execution is disappointing.

Have you upgraded?  What are your thoughts on Office and Google Docs?

Geiger CIO Dale Denham, MAS+ provides practical insights on how you can benefit from technology in no nonsense terms. Follow him on Twitter: @GeigerCIO.

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