Caltrans Upgrades to Microsoft Office 2007
Thereâ€™s a whole lot of training going on! Caltrans statewide is upgrading its office software, and itâ€™s so easy that you can train yourself.
(click on photos to enlarge)
Last month, Caltrans launched a statewide switch of its office computer software when the Information Technology (IT) Division began the transition to the latest version of Microsoft (MS) Office Professional Plus 2007, a program with significant changes compared with its Office 2003 and decade-old Windows XP.
District 7 was among the first of Caltrans 12 districts statewide to receive the Microsoft Office upgrade. Installation files were copied to all computers on September 3. Most employees did not experience any changes to their systems as a result of the first phase, and the new Microsoft icon on computer desktops was barely noticed.
District 7’s upgrade installation first occurred in the Executive Office and External Affairs Division on September 21. The remaining schedule is: September 29 – Design, Operations, Environmental and Planning Divisions; October 6 - Project Management, Administration and Right of Way Divisions, and Structures Construction; October 13 – Construction and Maintenance Divisions, Structures Maintenance; and Shop 7.
Caltrans announced the upgrade in 2009 and Sacramento’s IT Division issued newsletters to help staff prepare for the upgrade and provided links to training material and other useful information for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Some topics included the Ribbon toolbar, sorting, headers and footers, and guides for interfacing with Access databases. For a successful installation, IT advises employees to refrain from using the workstation until the installation completes its 35 to 45-minute cycle.
All Caltrans computers and laptops will be upgraded to MS Office 2007 by the end of the calendar year, according to Tom Dolce, IT Infrastructure Operational Project Manager at Headquarters, whose team is dedicated to a seamless transition for the department.
"In order to keep our desktop software current, an upgrade was necessary," said Dolce. “Office 2007 has a new look and feel from previous versions and is a major update to the Office application and functionality.”
Initially, IT gathered a team of ‘early adopters’ or a focus group comprised of employees from various divisions to test and document their experiences using the new program. Additionally, they sent out a User Survey to all employees who may have reason to believe that their work may be incompatible with the new software.
“Approximately 30 users in District 7 responded to the survey with extremely helpful input,” said Valerie Rodriguez, IT Customer Service Desk manager. “The Project Team contacted each user who identified a potential problem to assist with the conversion process and resolve any compatibility issues. The majority of the early adopters found the conversion to be seamless.”
“The conversion is going well,” said Oscar Jarquin, Chief, Information Technology Division. “Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. A minor glitch was identified on a few systems due to older workstation configurations. The biggest challenge has been testing and modifying the Office 2007 installation package to work in District 7’s computing environment. Staff have been working diligently to perform RAM hard drive maintenance and upgrades to make room for the installation. I trust our team to find a solution to any issue that presents itself and move forward with the upgrade district-wide.”
“I found MS Office 2007 a bit disconcerting in the beginning as the menus and toolbars have changed, but it wasn't hard to navigate in the new Ribbon,” said Marilou Abad, associate governmental program analyst, District 7 Office of Budgets. “I like the improved functionality and I find it easier to format my documents with this new version.”
Some new Microsoft Office 2007 software upgrades and features include:
The Ribbon is where the menus and toolbars are now combined. Users will find the Ribbon in core MS Office applications including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The Office Button
The Office Button replaces the ‘File’ menu toolbar that most users will search for – but never find. The Office Button is the Microsoft logo of four colored squares - in a circle - that is located in the top left corner of the window. It’s not just decoration; it’s the key to many basic functions. Click on it to open, create, save, send and print documents.
• A new wavy blue underline indicates that a word is spelled correctly, but is not the correct word for that sentence, for example, “their” instead of “there.” Users can still depend on red underlines for misspellings and green underlines for grammatical errors.
• New style sheets and the ability to switch easily among them.
• Preset gallery of cover pages.
• Full screen layout displaying two pages at a time.
• One worksheet can support over 1 million rows and 16,384 columns.
• Quicker calculation of large numbers and formulas.
• Page Layout View that mirrors the printed format.
• Rendering of three-dimensional graphics.
• Enhanced support for pasting Excel tables.
• Slide library allowing users to reuse any slide or presentation as a template.
Users with a secured password on an Access database are asked to remove it prior to the upgrade. If the password is not removed, there is a possibility that Access 2007 will not open. Follow instructions in the Access Security Management Guide
For more information
Staff is encouraged to utilize the built-in ‘Help’ feature in Office 2007 and use the free online tutorials. The MS Office 2007 Upgrade newsletters are available at the project’s Intranet site: http://it.dot.ca.gov/Office_2007/training.html
For questions about the conversion process, call District 7 Customer Service Desk Support at 213-897-1691.
Microsoft Home Use Program
Through Microsoft’s Home Use Program, Caltrans employees are eligible to purchase a licensed copy of Microsoft Office 2010 to install on home personal computers for a very low cost ($9.95 plus $12.00 for back up DVDs (optional, but highly recommended)). For further information, click on this link: