I finally received a copy of Office 2007 and installed it on my Vista computer a couple of weeks ago. This afternoon I irritably uninstalled it and went back to Office 2003.

It wasn’t the drastically changed interface, although it was as jarring as predicted. Here’s my writeup about the new look for Word and Excel – no menu at the top and completely redesigned access to all features through a “ribbon bar” that replaces the familiar buttons. I hunted for “Print” for an interestingly long time, for example, and the new look of the Outlook calendar left me cold. But I’m a veteran of interface changes – these are all changes that reasonable people can deal with.

I yanked Office 2007 off my computer because it was slow.

My Vista computer is a brand new Dell Dimension 9200 – Core 2 Duo processor, 2Gb of RAM, beefy video card, fast hard drives. Lots of programs are installed, but I choose programs very carefully and install them conservatively.

The Office 2007 programs should have been flying, and they weren’t. Opening Word for the first time took 15 seconds or so. Subsequent starts were a little faster, but there were still delays getting a document onscreen. Outlook was slow to change screens between mail/calendar/contacts. Occasionally there’d be the maddening lag between fingers hitting keys and letters appearing onscreen, in Word or Outlook.

It wasn’t awful. It was just annoying. Looking online today (Google “Office 2007 slow”) brought up lots of anecdotes from people who feel the same way – and a few defenders who insist that Office 2007 is moving like lightning for them. They’re probably right! Many problems today occur on one computer and not on another, for no obvious reason.

I’ll go back to Office 2007. It’s my job. Someday you’ll ask me what in the world Groove and InfoPath are and you’ll want me to be able to answer. Just give me a little while, because Word 2003 is starting instantly and Outlook 2003 is familiar and fast and lovable and I don’t wanna give that up for a while.

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