Issue #194 September 22, 2009

PowerPoint Tip: Upgrading from PowerPoint 2003 to 2007

I am planning to buy a new laptop next year after the new Core i7 chipset comes to laptops. One question I am struggling with is whether to load the 2007 or the 2003 version as my primary Office version. I still plan to load both versions and run one of them via a virtual machine as I do now so that I can demonstrate the proper version in my workshops. But the primary Office version will be the one I work in most of the time. I am currently running Office 2003 as my primary version. Why would I run a version that is at least six years old? Because my surveys show that most corporate clients are running Office 2003 and a number are running even earlier versions, like 2000. The cost of upgrading is one expense that many organizations are putting off until the economic situation changes. But an even bigger cost is the cost of retraining because the user interface is so different between Office 2003 and 2007. If I decide to go with the 2007 version, the first stop I will make is here to download the interactive guides. When I talk to people who have made the step to Office 2007, one of the biggest challenges is learning where common commands or features are in the new interface. These interactive guides allow you to find the command you are looking for in the Office 2003 menu and then the guide will show you where that feature is located in the Office 2007 interface. You can use the guides online or download them so you can use them any time. As with any upgrade, you need to determine whether it is worth it – does the upgrade have enough features to warrant the time and expense? Here are some of the key differences I have found between PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 that I think make it worth considering: More shapes to choose from which makes creating diagrams easier More effects for shapes to enhance the professional look of your visuals The use of Excel to generate graphs inside PowerPoint which gives you access to the calculation power of Excel within PowerPoint The ability to create a PDF version of your slides from within PowerPoint, which aids in distributing slides, especially to mobile devices I’ve talked with many people who have made the change to Office 2007 and they say that after you get used to the interface, you are more productive than before. I also don’t want to fall too far behind in the product cycle given that we expect to see a new version of Office released next year. We’ll see, but for now, I’m leaning towards moving up to Office 2007 with the new computer. I hope that my thoughts have helped you think about the next upgrade you are thinking of, whether it is to Office 2007 this year or to Office 2010 next year.