Pros Move to more open file standards, XML
Cons Thinks it knows better than me what I really want
Summary I am a power user of Office - have been for about 13 years. This upgrade slows me down. The enforced blue menus, combined with the mismatched icon sizes of the ribbon, are hard on my eyes and very distracting, and I'm not allowed to customize anything. Sure most of the features of previous editions were buried under menus, but you could create a custom toolbar for the ones you wanted up front - can't do it this time.
Outlook, even after several fixes, is still unbearably slow checking mail - and again I can't customize anything - for instance I don't need it taking up space for RSS content as I use other readers. Many emails now come in strangely reformatted and will not display correctly.
Excel won't even open certain file types, and as I said earlier, the low-contrast blue colors and jumbled ribbon clutter has slowed me down. If I could re-order the functions for the way I use them perhaps I could cope, but as I can't even read data that 2003 could read there is no point. I've wasted too much money.
Pros There are a few minor convenience improvements.
Cons Total GUI makeover
Summary In summary, it truly appears that MS worked overtime on the forest but forgot about the trees! They focused on the overall Office Suite, tying it together into a 'common' interface, etc. but didn't do much with the individual apps within it to improve them!
Hopefully, they have some long range plan (maybe they're taking the 'trilogy' approach like Hollywood---it'll be two more releases before they can conclude the story).
Get ready. Open up one of these apps and you'll be 'lost in space'. Interface TOTALLY different. But you'll have plenty of time to learn because response time is noticably slower. (These are both things that the valium will help with).
Oh, and keyboard strokes/sequences that you used? Never mind, those are gone. I hope that you're a mouser, cause that is what this is oriented around. (The valium will also help with your impending onset of carpal tunnel).
I am an Excel and Access poweruser, and I program both of those in VBA. I use Outlook and Visio proficiently. Word and Powerpoint, I only know enough to be dangerous. So I do know the old package. I've now used this new Office for long enough to be past the 'annoying unfamiliarity' phase that comes with any new release.
Conclusion? All I get is a redesigned (albeit common) interface that offers very few advantages, takes away some features, is very mousy, very slow, and no appreciable improvements to the individual packages.
Do I 'hate' it? No. I can use the package. I'm getting by. I'm adjusting. Was it worth it? NO.
PS. Outlook is probably a notable exception. It retains the essentials of the old style interface. Enough so that I actually went into the Help>About menu to verify that Outlook 2007 had actually installed successfully! Oh, did you want to try that in Excel 2007? Good luck! "Office" 'button', 'Exel options' button, 'Resources' button, 'About' button (just to give you a flavor....)
Pros Nothing significant for professionsals
Cons what don't they get about productivity
Summary The average user spends years mastering a piece of software like Word and now in one fell swoop they are set back.
As a professional Access developer there is basically nothing new in visual basic. The only thing new is what is needed to make the Office Crapware work.
Pros Few and far between
Cons Does not support eembedding Visio in Word documents. New User Interface to make you think your getting something new.
Summary Yet another failure by Microsoft to have quality in thier new releases. After installing Office 2007, OneNote 2007, and Visio 2007 I went to edit a Word document. I wanted to update a Visio diagram embedded in the document but got the error message that Visio was not installed. Thinking that the diagram had been inserted with a previous Visio format I went and created a new Visio diagram with Visio 2007 and tried to insert it into the document. Suprise the error message that Visio was not installed came up again. Bill I can see why you have decided to get away from this.
Pros Office Button is useful
Cons The "Ribbon" is a productivity killer
Summary I've been using Office apps for a very long time. This is the first time that the UI change has been an utter disaster, IMO. The new Ribbon is confusing, illogical and hence counter productive. It presents a steep learning curve. If you choose to learn it, be prepared for a significant loss of productivity for the duration of the learning process.
I've personally found that it takes more key/mouse clicks to perform the same tasks. Ergo, it is definitely less efficient.
So, if your current Office suite meets your needs, I see little sense in spending the $$$s M$ wants and then spending more time and resources learning how to use it.