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2. Too Many Versions and Patches

First of all, I teach Office, and I never know which version or rev my students will be using. This goes beyond version 2000, 2002/XP, or 2003—it continues on into educational editions and other different versions and configuration in which the programs are sold.

Then, when you want to actually accomplish something new or load a new version, what is the first thing you must do? Load a Service Pack. What does the Service Pack do?

Ask you for a disc that you probably don’t know where to find.

And so it goes. Most Office users have learned to install the whole fricking program because otherwise—inevitably—they will be prompted for an installation disc at the most inopportune time—when they need to get a job out the door.

Because the relative iterations of versions are expensive and time-consuming to manage, I also run into many folks who are still running Office 2000 or Office 2002/XP. (Let’s not even talk about which patches or service packs they’ve applied.)

This means that while I am teaching basic concepts that have been there since day one (let’s say, Mail Merge), the way in which they are implemented has been altered in some unGodly way—in a new toolbar, menu, or "task pane."

Even though the basic feature is still the same and works identically, I can’t demonstrate it on my Office 2003 laptop because users of older versions can’t follow along.

Instead, I need to explain different ways "it might work" on various versions. Mind you not a new feature, but something hidden in a new interface. Stay tuned for Office 2007.

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