Today I realized that it was about 17 months ago when I saw the first demo of Excel 2007. Like just about everyone else in the room, I was very impressed with what I saw — even though it was little more than a rough draft at the time. Fact is, Excel 2007 demos very well.
Then, when I actually started using it, my initial enthusiasm waned — primarily because I couldn’t find the familiar commands. As I dug deeper, I discovered a few things that just didn’t work like they used to.
During the beta phase, I got very discouraged and really began to hate it. But, I was forced to use it because I was writing books about it. Over time, I actually began to like Excel 2007. By the time the final version was released, I got to the point where I dreaded having to use Excel 2003 rather than 2007. Now that I’m familiar with just about every nook and cranny of Excel 2007, I have a difficult time remembering where the Excel 2003 commands are.
The chart here roughly depicts my past 17 months with Excel 2007 in terms of “likeability.” I don’t know how typical this curve is. I suspect that it will be linear for some; they’ll start out hating it, and gradually learn to love it.
But I do think that anyone who uses this product for any length of time will not want to go back to a previous version. Sure, it has some problems. But its benefits outweigh the problems by a large margin as far as I’m concerned.