Tech Tuesday: IRT announces Microsoft Office Suite upgrade

Beginning the first week in March, IRT will upgrade all PC computers on campus to the Microsoft Office 2007 software suite, and all Mac computers to the Office 2008 suite.

This migration will ensure that there are no compatibility issues with popular Office suite applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, which are used by the majority of students on campus.

Due to the large numbers of individual computers that will be affected, IRT will roll out the upgrades over staged intervals. Department heads will schedule the time for the software rollout in their areas based on the business needs of the department balanced with IRT’s ability to support questions and installation corrections.

"The actual installation of the software will be carried out remotely wherever possible," said Craig Grabitske of IRT Client Services’ CORE Team. "We will ‘push’ the software upgrades out to the computers overnight and on weekends so as to minimize the impact on network traffic and to minimize interference with people’s daily workflow."

Laptop users should make an effort to leave their computers at work, powered up and connected to the network, while their department is scheduled for the rollout. Computers that don’t receive the software push will be upgraded manually.

The functionality of the individual programs of the Office suite has not changed greatly. But, the way those features are organized and accessed in Office 2007 is completely different. The interface on the Mac side, however, is not significantly different from the Office 2004 version currently in use.

IRT has set up a Web page to deal specifically with the interface changes on the PC side of the suite. The page addresses a general overview of the 2007 version’s changes, as well as links to self-guided training tools from Microsoft; furthermore, IRT will work in conjunction with the Leadership Academy to offer both general orientation session "brown bags" and also hands-on lab training on the new interface of Office 2007.

The complete upgrade is expected to run through the end of May. Additional questions regarding the Office 2007-08 rollout may be directed to your department’s local tech or to the IRT Tech Desk.