There are a couple of applications out there that simulate the Excel 2003 environment in Excel 2007.
The first is Toolbar Toggle. I didn’t have much luck with this one. Installing it took a half an hour because it had to install the .Net 2 Framework or some such thing. When it was finally installed, it gave me a hideous splash screen that I had to dismiss before I could do anything in Excel. Once I got to Excel, it looked like this:
Granted, this screen isn’t maximized so I could produce a reasonably sized picture, but Toolbar Toggle sure seems to eat up the real estate. I hit a few buttons, but didn’t give it a real workout. I closed Excel and was going to uninstall it so I could test out the next one. Then I got to thinking: I wonder what the ‘toggle’ means. Maybe there’s an easy way to hide that toolbar so I only give up screen real estate when I want to. I fired Excel back up, but it hung on Toolbar Toggle’s progress bar. I let it sit for about seven hours. When I came back, the progress bar was gone, the splash screen was nowhere to be seen, and Excel was as frozen as Nebraska in January. I killed the Excel process, restarted, and got more of the same.
Having had quite enough of that, I uninstalled it (after which Excel started up normally), and installed Classic Menu for Office 2007. It installed very quickly, took no more screen real estate than the ribbon, and didn’t hang when I exited and restarted multiple times. I also tried out some buttons, and bold and italic work just like expected. Here’s what entry #2 looks like:
With Toggle Toolbar, I was able to customize the ribbon very similar to how I would do it in Excel 2003. I could find no such facility in Classic Menu.
Classic Menu uses 2007 controls that don’t exactly simulate the 2003 experience. Hence, there are no tear way toolbars. I didn’t get a chance to test that in Toggle Toolbar.
Toggle Toolbar is reasonably priced at USD20.00 with very generous volume discounts (they start at two copies). Classic Menu is USD30.00, although you can get just Excel for USD16.00. They both have pathetic trial periods for which they should be ashamed (10 and 15 days).
So which would I choose? Neither, of course. If you’re going to use Office 2007, then take 20 minutes and learn to use the ribbon for goodness sake. “Oh, but I’m so productive with the old menus.”, I’m sure you’re saying. I’ll bet in high school you could code the hell out of Pascal too. When was the last time you wrote a Pascal program?
However, if you’re so inclined, I had the best luck with Classic Menu. If anyone else has tried either, please leave a comment.