On topic of Office 2003 this from WinXPnews:
Office 2003: Worth the Wait?
Today is the official launch date for Microsoft Office 2003. Bill Gates will introduce the new "Office System" in a broadcast from New York City on October 21st. We've been working with this version of Office since the early betas, and I've been running it on both my primary desktop and my Tablet PC for many months now. I create the WinXPNews each week using Word 2003.
Tom, on the other hand, isn't convinced; he still has Office XP on his desktop computer. Some of the features I love most, such as the new look of the interface and the side-mounted (as opposed to bottom-mounted) email preview window in Outlook, are things he's not so sure about (of course, you can still choose to leave your preview window in the old position if you want).
There's always a bit of a learning curve, but I like the new Office. Is it worth the several hundred dollars (depending on edition) to upgrade? For users in an enterprise environment who need some of the sophisticated new features, such as the integration with SharePoint services for team collaboration on documents stored on a web site or the Information Rights Management that lets you control what recipients can do with the documents you send them (prohibit copying or forwarding, for instance), the answer is a resounding "yes."
For the typical home or small office user, who probably doesn't utilize more than 25% of the capabilities of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc. now, the answer is "probably not."
What's new with Office 2003? In addition to SharePoint integration and IRM, here are some of my favorites:
* Support for XML, the extended markup language that lets you code information about document content for better sorting and use by other programs.
* Reading layout view, which makes it easier to read Word documents on screen.
* Research task pane, which puts online reference resources at your fingertips from within Office programs.
* Better side-by-side comparison of documents.
* Outlook's ability to have different default signatures for different email accounts.
* Outlook's desktop alert that pops up a notification when you receive new mail, with the sender's name, subject and a short text preview (here's one popup that's actually useful).
* Better junk mail filtering.
* Better Tablet PC support.
* Better stability.
Taken together, these new features provide a subtle but significant improvement in the user experience, but the dramatic ones are oriented more toward the corporate user. In most case, those that benefit home users are not big enough changes to justify the cost of upgrading - unless you just love having the latest and greatest software.