Office 2007 victim

This morning I received an important document on email. I had been waiting for it since Friday. But I couldn’t open it.

The document was in PowerPoint 2007 (PPTX) format and we use Office 2003 here.

Great. A quick Google search brought up several PPTX to PPT converters. However, I couldn’t get any to download or run.

Our Websense filtering stopped me from going to the shareware sites; other sites which weren’t filtered involved me having to upload this valuable document onto a web service – as such, it was out of the question. And to add insult to injury, I did not have suitable privileges on my PC to install the converter.

The thing is, Microsoft calls this progress. But I lost 20 minutes in a vain attempt to open a file. I found the whole situation unacceptable.

Had I resorted to calling our IS Services helpdesk, it would have added to to our IT department’s workload.

In the end I asked my contact to save the file in PowerPoint 2003 format and resend it, which not only inconvenienced him but also made me and the organisation I work for look somewhat behind the times.

Surely Microsoft cannot expect everyone to run Orffice 2007…that’s simply ridiculous. I’ve written previosly that old file formats need to be supported. Today, I am saying that any new file formats must be backwards compatible with older versions.

It may seem logical to upgrade to Office 2007, but you could be opening yourself to a whole lot of pain. Many of your customers and suppliers will inevitably be running older versions of the Microsoft Office suite.

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Google much?

"Office 2007 Compatibility Pack"

First result;

I'm betting MS' site isn't filtered by Websense. Specifically designed BY MICROSOFT for Office 2003 users who need to open *.*x files.

Not that I'm a fan of Office 2007, but maybe a little more research would be prudent before flinging out the heavy FUD.

I always love how IT people have that quick and ready answer - do a Google for "The terms that you have no idea exist" - how does a user know what they don't know. The IT industry has a lot to answer for - treating users like idiots because they have a real job to do, can't or are not permitted to spend all day tinkering with their technology and then get treated condescendingly by some smart-arse techie who wouldn't be capable of doing a real person's job because they are the ones who deal with the customers, those people who end up paying all our wages.

When will the IT industry wake up to itself and start training our support staff in real-world manners and understanding of what businesses actually do for a living? More importantly, when will the Microsoft's of this world start acting responsibly and document these changes for the benefit of the end users, not just the techies who know how to Google.

These things are probably more common than we realize. I just did a new install and now my Horde cannot open Word documents. Thank god I'm going to school for computer forensics, so I'll be better able to deal with these types of snafus. Side comment, Cliff; you're kind of cute.