Sunday, January 16, 2011

Was Microsoft Office 2011 for the Mac written by the government

After a long wait for a replacement for Office 2008, which took away Virtual Basic macros, I was able to buy Office 2011, which supposedly put macros back.

Guess what?  I'm not sure they work.

I put a simple one-line macro back in an Excel spreadsheet, and it worked.  But, every time I typed in a cell, Excel would only except one number and then do nothing.  I had to enter the data in the formula bar.  At least the formula bar seems to be standard in Office 2011; in some update to Office 2008 the formula bar would keep disappearing.

I tried removing the macro and putting it back in again, and now the macro stops with some mysterious error.

If I opened the progress bar in Entourage (Office 2008), it would be there the next time I opened Entourage.  In Outlook (Office 2011), it is never present the next time I open Outlook.

The installation process for Office 2011 ignored many of my preference from Office 2008.

Outlook changed the type font and size, and it only remembers the reset type font but not the reset size.

Outlook automatically includes the message I'm answering in my response.  I had turned this off in Entourage; I have yet to find a preference for this in Outlook.  I have to remember to remove the message in my response, and it is often below my writing area.

Outlook has put some of my old messages in the task list.

Outlook did not get my message categories right.  It put "Family" messages in "Iphone, saved to".

Outlook changed the links to many of my Entourage replies.  The linked messages sometime bear no relation to each other.

Gosh, with these errors and many others, Office 2011 must have been written by the government instead of an "efficient" private company.

To tell the truth, I do have some sympathy for the Microsoft programmers.  When I gave up on my own software programming company, for my far simpler program I had a problem list far longer than the list above.

I do wish Microsoft had had a bit bigger budget on testing.

I also wish that I could just call or email someone with these problems.  Instead, the user has to spend hours looking through forums to find a specific problem, which nobody may have raised yet.  This is part of the larger trend in far too many enterprises to push costs on to the customers.  See "Technology: A big bother we can't do without".