Print 107 comment(s) - last by Just Tom.. on Mar 31 at 8:20 PM

Support for Office 2003 ends April 8 along with Windows XP

Microsoft has stepped up its efforts in recent months to kill off Windows XP for good, and those efforts are now extending to Office 2003. Office 2003 has been around for over a decade and Microsoft wants users to switch to Office 365.
Microsoft wrote in a blog post, "Office 2003 no longer meets the needs of the way we work, play and live today. For this reason, it is time to say farewell to Office 2003 and embrace the productivity solution of today – Office 365."

Microsoft wants users to ditch Office 2003

Many people have been using Office 2003 for years simply because it does all they need and it's paid for. Office 365 requires a subscription and you will need to continue paying to keep it active.
Microsoft says that support for Office 2003 will end on April 8.
We already knew that support for Windows XP would also end on April 8, and Microsoft has resorted to pop ups to tell XP users the end is here. Microsoft also offers a $100 discount to get XP users to upgrade to Windows 8. 

Source: Office

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RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 10:04:47 AM , Rating: 3
Yes and no. I'm one such user of office 2003. Yes it's paid for, so I don't have much incentive to acquire a new version, but it's much more than that. Fact is the shitbon interface started the stupidification of windows in general. Instead of having the most needed functions one or two clicks away the ribbon interface forces the user to do two, three, or even more clicks for pretty basic things, which for me is unacceptable.
I use office for a living (being a freelance translator) and the ribbon interface reduces my productivity 15-20%, besides it looks ugly, something made for kids, not for serious work.
Besides the free office versions are slowly catching up, so I expect in a couple of years when I will finally be forced to slowly start moving away from office 2003, libre office and the rest of open software versions will finally have all the functionality needed in my line of work while retaining a workable interface. Sadly I've had to write off Microsoft as a software making company that supposedly knows what it has been doing.
Ruining office, then ruining skype, then windows with the whole METRO or "ANTICUATED&BACKWARDS WIN 3.11 INTERFACE ALL OVER AGAIN" in windows 8 debacle...
They are continuously taking the extra step needed to ruin software productivity and usability. May be the restructuring will turn the ship around, but I´ll not put my hopes up.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Just Tom on 3/25/2014 10:23:36 AM , Rating: 1
If you don't like using the ribbon interface just put your most commonly used commands on the quick access toolbar. One click and you're done.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Accidic on 3/25/2014 10:37:13 AM , Rating: 2
I've done this. It helps but it's still a headache and not worth being troubled with it. They're lucky the spreadsheet area is far superior in 2007+ or there'd be literally no reason to ever get away from 2003 aside from Office compatibility. I would never dream of spending money on a 2007+ version of Office. I may get forced to use it at work but that's as far as I'm willing to go.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Just Tom on 3/25/2014 11:24:05 AM , Rating: 1
While I understand not upgrading, my home machine still has Office 2003, I don't see how it is a headache to add commands to the quick access toolbar. The process is pretty simple and straightforward.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Accidic on 3/25/2014 11:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
You can actually download freely created versions as well (ubit comes to mind). You still lose quite a bit of real estate. Our portable is restricted to a 13" screen at 1360x768. That's a lot of real estate to abandon. In 2003 I use a minimalist layout. 1 line, 2 at the absolute max with the 2nd at the bottom to intentionally segregate items. I don't mind people who bought in disagreeing with my opinion on the subject. You can call me stubborn even if you'd like. But I'd point out it's no more stubborn than Microsoft and the stupid ribbon in the first place.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Just Tom on 3/31/2014 8:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize you can minimize the ribbon? If you do so it takes up the same space as the traditional menu bar.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 10:42:45 AM , Rating: 5
There are too many commonly used commands to do that. As I said, I use office for a living. Not just writing a letter and hitting print. So I do need and use a wide array of formatting tools.
Up to office 2003 you just activated the corresponding toolbars and could access any number of commands with one click.
Besides the toolbars are compact and a great number of needed functions can be fit in two or three rows at the top of the screen. This is not quite the same with the ribbon interface and its´fisher price sized icons.
Microsoft in the last ten years has been moving from usability and functionality centered towards aesthetically centered and dumbified interface design.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By inighthawki on 3/25/2014 11:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
The ribbon is really nothing more than a more advanced drop-down toolbar that's more intelligently organized. If you have a problem with size, just minimize it and pretend each tab is just an entry on the menubar with a horizontal dropdown list.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 11:26:04 AM , Rating: 3
:) :). You don´t get it, do you? Yes, you CAN do everything with later office versions that you can with office 2003. What you CAN´T do is do everything you need with more or less ONE CLICK. In other words later office versions DO TAKE more time to do the same amount of work. I have measured it and in my case office 2003 is 15-20% faster to use than later Microsoft office packs. I value my time too much to spend money on a product that makes me loose productivity.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By inighthawki on 3/25/2014 11:42:09 AM , Rating: 2
While a somewhat valid counterargument, if you're spending 2 weeks, 10 hours a day each, doing a particular task, you should really know the keyboard shortcuts to do everything at that point. Probably would have saved you 15-20% of your time regardless of which version of office you used.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 11:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
Again, your words clearly show you lack much experience in this field. When I speak about formatting tools I´m not talking about Ctrl+B, or Ctrl+I, or Ctrl+U, Ctrl+C and similar really common functions. I´m talking text boxes, columns, embedded tables, watermarks, comments, footnotes and similar functions.
Besides defending shitty interface design decisions with the fact that there are still keyboard shortcuts is the same as defending the decision of a car manufacturer replacing the wheels on one side of the car with square ones with the argument that you can still drive at the same speed while driving on the side with only the round wheels :). Or a wheelchair manufacturer that announces a wheelchair with square wheels, saying people can still go as fast with crutches.

The fu

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 12:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for the misstype at the end of my post.

The fact is that in 16 years of work as a translator I have learned the shortcuts that I find useful. For example when working with macros or translation plugins like wordfast or trados there are more useful shortcuts. But there are plenty of functions that are easier and faster to use with a graphic interface.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By inighthawki on 3/25/2014 12:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, I don't have your experience, so I don't even know specifically what you do. But by shortcuts I meant the fact that you can do any command on the ribbon with alt commands. And if you know the commands well enough, using those alt commands should still be faster than clicking a toolbar icons.

I was also not trying to defend the ribbon via a function of "still having keyboard shortcuts." That was actually a completely separate point from the ribbon altogether.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 12:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
It may be as you said, but you have to admit it´s still a very weak argument to be considered a point "in favor" of later office versions. There are a lot of shortcuts in office 2003, but even so I don´t use them ALL. It´s just not worth it. So saying the interface of later office versions doesn´t decrease productivity thanks to shortcuts can´t be considered a serious idea.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By 91TTZ on 3/25/2014 1:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds like you're saying that the Ribbon isn't a bad idea because it's still possible to work around it.

Sort of like how it's not a bad idea to place a boulder in the middle of the street because everyone should know how to drive around it.

The fact is that when the "old" way of doing things was more intuitive and faster for most people than the "new" way, they've taken a step backwards in the development of the product. It seems like the older versions of programs were all about functionality, but newer ones are all about style. At some point they began placing style before substance.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 1:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Would rate you up if I could :)

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By inighthawki on 3/26/2014 6:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
No I feel that the ribbon is an improvement for the vast majority of their users, but for people like you who seem to have very specific performance needs, keyboard shortcuts are still available for everything you do to work just as quickly as before.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Accidic on 3/25/2014 11:26:51 AM , Rating: 2
While not entirely untrue, it also takes up at least double the real estate that I use in 2003 (more than that for most users) and is less intuitive than the prior menus. With that in mind you can replace the menus (custom) but that doesn't do much for real estate which blows if you're on a lesser resolution machine. Additionally, while you do gain functionality and some new features that are potentially nice to have, it also abandons features that 2003 had by default and unless you're willing to pay $$$ to replace them your SoL. Your company may be better than mine and pony up that dough. Mine does not.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 11:38:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, screen estate and menu logic is quite important too. More or less on the same line of thought, that the ribbon interface does make office less efficient for serious work.

Of course writing a letter isn´t serious work and office 2013 will do an excellent work in such a work scenario. Even wordpad would be plenty for such usage patterns :).

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By chripuck on 3/25/2014 10:39:27 AM , Rating: 2
People may have Windows 8 somewhat justifiably, but if you haven't changed over to the Ribbon in 2010 then you're missing out. Win 7/O2010 is the new gold standard in machines and replaces XP/O2003.

I develop Office apps as a third party consultant and I would never go back to 2003. You're crazy man...

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Accidic on 3/25/2014 10:58:12 AM , Rating: 2
Different strokes for different folks. I'm forced to use the combo you mention for work and I consider it garbage personally.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 11:01:33 AM , Rating: 2
Funny you say that. Not every new idea or interface design must be better than the one before. Fact is the ribbon and metro interfaces are more or less POS for any serious work productivity.
And I´m not some kind of Luddite sticking to something of the past just because it´s supposedly "the thing I know".
I have tried to use the new office versions and even windows 8, but productivity loss is too great. 15-20% may not look like much, but the difference is quite real. Just like these last two weeks I´ve been translating about 200 pages of text. This will take approximately 100-120 hours of 12 ten hour days of work. By switching to a later office version it would take me 2-2,5 ADDITIONAL 10 hour workdays to finish this job. Quite the difference, don´t you think?
I actually studied computer science, so it´s not like I don´t know how to use software.
Up to office 2003 I did upgrade almost immediately after a new version was released. I even made the switch from XP to win 7 almost immediately (although windows vista and 7 did fumble quite a bit with the interface too. Mainly with network settings management, but really quite a lot of system configuration functionality was hidden 3-5 clicks away, when it was only 2-3 clicks away in XP), because the advantages were very obvious.
So again, it´s a point of perspective. A dumbified interface makes software easier to use and more pleasing for very basic usage patterns and inexperienced users in general, but a pain in the neck for any serious work.

Yes, compatibility problems (even with microsoft compatibility pack) are starting to crop out. So it´s only a matter of a few years before I WILL be forced to upgrade. But it does seem it wont be to a Microsoft product, but rather an open software version, because of the interface tendencies in Microsoft.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By inighthawki on 3/25/2014 11:19:17 AM , Rating: 4
You're full of it. There is nothing so inherently unproductive about the ribbon that would take that much extra time to accomplish something. And if it really did, then you could have easily learned a handful of keyboard shortcuts.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Vytautas on 3/25/2014 11:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
How much pages do you write, edit or otherwise do serious work each day? Not so many, don´t you?
Yeah, thought so. A 15% loss in productivity may not seem like much when writing a 2 page document. It is quite a big difference when you work on large documents.

There is NO way two, three or more clicks take equal or less time than 1 click. It´s as simple as that. Clicks take time. That time is equal to lost productivity.

If I didn´t have to use so much and varied formatting tools MAY BE the loss of productivity wouldn´t be so great, but I do. So the end result is a net 15-20% loss when using later versions of microsoft office packs.

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By _devo on 3/25/2014 6:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
I created an account just to back up the original poster. I also use Word up to 10 hours a day. Serious productivity was lost for after moving away from office 2003 (forced migration from work). On top of that Microsoft purposefully gimped the compatibility mode. For example, resizing pictures is usually not allowed via the ribbon and complicated macros no longer work. Much needed functions are simply not in the ribbon menu when you try to do any serious work. I will admit that for commonly used functions the ribbon menu is quite fast for keyboard short cuts.
*I won't be replying to comments ~I got work to do*

RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By DT_Reader on 3/25/2014 12:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
I have Office 20something with the ribbon at home, and I know what you mean. I have Office 2010 at work, and in 2010 you can customize the ribbon. I've created a custom tab with all the things I use. It's great, and I wish I could do it at home, but not enough to throw more money at Microsoft for an "upgrade".

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