Regression Can Be Sweet

My laptop blew this last weekend. Unfortunately, my backups were yet to be done, so I have lost a fair amount of work. That is incredibly frustrating, but this post is on another topic.

I was an Excel 2000 user for many years. I did dabble with 2002/XP for a while, but I didn’t see any real advantage to it,  didn’t really enjoy it, so I went back to Excel 2000.

When I did finally take the plunge, I upgraded to Excel 2003, and after a few querulous moments adapting to this flashy beast, where I first took notice of Microsoft’s drive to push the visual effects often to the detriment of the content, I settled down with Excel 2003 and have enjoyed a fruitful relationship for some years. Of course, I have dabbled like so many with the new kid on the block, Excel 2007, but I can’t say I have been won over yet. I don’t like the Ribbon, I don’t hate it, I just don’t see the rationale for it. I think some things have been really messed up, conditional formatting stands out for me. I think some new things have been poorly implemented, the NameManager as an example and the weak set of new functions, and there are many missed opportunities. But worst of all, I think glitzy effects are being added far too loosely, without thinking, or without knowing what is good visualisation. Maybe 2010 will set the product right, but in the meantime, Excel 2003 is still my Excel of choice.

But here is a strange thing. After my laptop blew, I dug my old Sony Vaio out of the cupboard. I had work to do, so I needed a laptop, but this machine only had Office 2000 on it. Now I have to admit that Outlook 2000 feels positively ancient, I long for Outlook 2003. But … I love using Excel 2000 again. I have been using it for 3 days now and I haven’t missed Excel 2003 once. This has completely surprised me.

5 thoughts on “Regression Can Be Sweet

  1. Bob,
    Re: “I love using Excel 2000 again.”

    …unless you need to use the XL 2000 help file.
    XL 2002/3 help files are better; however the XL 97
    help file is far superior.
    I still use the 97 help files with XL 2003.

    Jim Cone

  2. Jim, you have to give Microsoft kudos for consistency though. The help has got worse in every release of Excel in comparison to the previous release.

  3. I agree about the superiority of the Excel 97 help files. For that matter, I still have my Excel 5 hardcopy manuals.

    BTW, one of my daughters has a Mac with Office 2008 Home & Student. As bad as help is in later Windows versions, it really stinks on Macs. I’m not sure if that’s customary on Macs or not.

  4. To your point, you weren’t smitten by Excel 2002’s main breakthrough feature – colored worksheet tabs (8 years after Borland introduced them in the Windows flavor Quattro Pro 5)?

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