Microsoft Word 2008 - Initial Impressions

Office 2008.jpg

So I've been complaining about Microsoft Word 2004 for some time now. It is sort of a love tolerate/hate relationship that goes back years. I know some people love it but I'm more of a Scrivener and Pages kinda guy myself. This doesn't change the fact that my law office runs on Microsoft Word and we have some fairly complex document formatting. Pages is great for general Word compatability but is not up to scratch for some of the more complex stuff I seem to bang into.

Using Scrivener and exporting text files for my office staff has generally worked out pretty good. A few months ago I had decided I probably wouldn't bother with Office 2008. A few things changed that. First, on black Friday, Microsoft had a great deal that gave a $100 rebate on any copy of Office 2004 purchased that day along with a free upgrade to 2008. So I got in for a very reasonable price. Second, I was at David Pogue's session at Macworld when he interviewed the chief Office 2008 Microsoft honcho. Imagine a room of about 1,000 Mac geeks and in walks a Microsoft executive. Talk about a hostile environment! The guy (I've been trying to find his name but can't so I'll just call him "the guy") was actually very friendly and passionate about the Office 2008. I had to hand it to him for just showing up.

Anyway, I've now been using Word 2008 for three days and these initial impressions are just that ... initial impressions.

1. Word 2008 Runs Faster.

Word 2004 was dog slow on my Intel Mac. It was slow to load and (if this makes any sense) text input. There was a delay between my typing the letter and it appearing.

2. Word 2008 is More Mac Friendly.

I don't know how to put this but it feels more like a Mac application than Word 2004. The inspectors are cleaner and the general look is much improved.

3. Word 2008 is very Compatible with PC Word.

This has always been true but thankfully all of the complex formatting still works. It seems to be even better on some accounts which (I believe) is related to fonts but it is too early to say.

I'll keep you posted as I dig a bit deeper.

-----------Post Update -------

"The Guy", Craig Eisler, was kind enough to write in on the comments. Craig, along with the improved Word 2008, is really doing a good job of smashing up a lot of my bias against Microsoft.