Microsoft is getting ready to release the latest version of Microsoft Office, and this is one of those products that you have to every so often ask yourself, “Is it really making enough updates that I absolutely need to buy it?”
Unlike with operating system updates that almost always bring about some huge change with them, software packages are those things that one always should think twice about before running out to update. Sure they bring some nice new bells and whistles with them, but are they really enough to warrant you shelling out sometimes multi-hundreds of dollars for?
No matter what Microsoft adds to the Office suite of tools, at the end of the day you are looking at a word processor, a spreadsheet program and a few other assorted programs depending on what version you choose to buy. If you are like most people though, do you really use these programs to their full potential? Are you using them for more then writing a paper for a class or a report for work? If you are a heavy user of a program, then by all means you should probably upgrade to get all of the latest features, but if you are a student, buying a copy for home, or have never done so much more than write a letter in Word, you almost have to wonder why you have Office in the first place let alone thinking about upgrading it.
I definitely used to be one of those people that thought I had to upgrade every single time a new version of Office or Photoshop came out, but then I realized I don’t use any of these programs anywhere near their full potential. I am still running Office 2003 and Photoshop CS2, and I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything by not having “the latest and greatest” because, well, basically I never used “the latest and greatest” in those versions.
As I said, if you are a power user, or if these is some tweak they’ve made to your key program you do use, knock yourselves out, go for it. If you are an average user typing out the family Christmas newsletter every year … have you heard of this thing called Google Docs or OpenOffice? They’re free.