One of the more powerful features about SharePoint from the end-user experience is its tight integration with Office 2007. However, migrating from an older version of Office to 2007 can be a daunting process for some.
Has the overall functionality changed all that much in Office 2007? Not really. So why do so many people have quasi panic attacks when they first encounter the new interface in Office 2007 at first glance? People have become accustomed to the menu system that has been the same for the last 10+ years. The Ribbon in Office 2007 is a complete re-design and forces people to change the way they think about working in Office. And people just don't like to be forced to change the way they think.
However, in my experience, the very people who initially look at the Ribbon in Office 2007 with disdain and panic are the very people who learn to embrace it. The learning curve can be steep for some; and not much for others. In most all cases I've encountered, the most difficult part of migrating to Office 2007 is:
"Where did my save button go?"
Replace "save" with any other command and you've covered most everyone's steepest learning curve in Office 2007.
How do we educate our users?
I've set up a SharePoint site in our corporate environment dedicated to learning Office 2007. The site is what you'd expect:
- Links to online resources and tutorials.
- Cheat sheets.
- RSS feeds from the Office learning site.
- Discussion forums.
Prior to anyone migrating to Office 2007, I hold a brief training session reviewing the Ribbon as well as how to get the most out of the SharePoint site dedicated to learning Office 2007. Does any of this really help? I'd like to think so. If nothing else, the training session and SharePoint help site aid in nudging the user in the right direction.
However, in nearly all cases, THE most helpful tool in our arsenal of training comes from the Office 2007 Get Started Ribbon Add-On's. These are downloadable Ribbon add-ins (installable .MSI) allowing users to immediately find self-training content on Office Online.
And of all the commands on the "Get Started" Ribbon, the "Find a Command" Interactive Guide (show below) is by far the best learning tool I've encountered when migrating from Office 2003 to 2007. In a nut-shell, the command brings up an interactive map that allows the user to click on a command in the Word 2003 interface and it will then interactively show you the same command in the Office 2007 interface! How cool is that?
Where do you get the Office 2007 Get Started Ribbon Add-On's?
There are separate installers for each Office product:
For now, I'm only aware of the Word, Excel and PowerPoint add-on's. If you know of any others, please post a comment with a link.