Beginning July 14th, 2009, Microsoft will cease to support its aged Office 2000 suite of applications. Released in 1999, Office 2000 was the last version of Microsoft Office to support Windows 95 and the first to introduce adaptive menus; where lesser used features are hidden from the user.

By its own policy, Microsoft supports its products for ten years after its initial release and has a distinct formula for doing so. Mainstream support includes patches for various bug fixes during the first five years, and limited support; where vulnerabilities are fixed via critical updates for the last five years.

This means, of course, that users of Office 2000 will no longer receive patches or upgrades after mid July; since Microsoft expects office users to migrate to Office 2003 or 2007. They are currently working on Office 2010 but have yet to announce a release date. Beta testers should expect to get their hands on a copy as early as July, perfectly timed to coincide with support for Office 2000 ending.

Penad has just finishing wrapping up its own upgrade to Office 2007. Our users are in the process of familiarizing themselves to the new “ribbon” interface. The ribbon organizes the commands into a set of tabs that are relevant to each set of tasks in Office 2007. The goal is to make it easier for the user to find “powerful” features that allow the creation of better documents in shorter time. There is a learning curve however, where users familiar with Office 2000 are not finding features where they know them to be; this new logic takes a short time to get used to.

Overall it has been my experience that the Office upgrades and the learning curve have been a fairly painless process.