By Paul Kozak, Computing and Communication Services

The time has finally come for the universitywide implementation of Microsoft Office 2000.

During the fall semester, Office 2000 (or “O2K”) will be installed on faculty and staff desktop and laptop PCs. Most of the computing labs and classrooms were upgraded to Office 2000 over the summer. All new computers being delivered under the UST lease agreement have Office 2000 pre-installed.

Computing and Communication Services recently notified 35 departments of their scheduled upgrade date(s) for O2K. The remaining faculty and staff computers will be upgraded to O2K on the date that is negotiated between their department and the Computing and Communication Services desktop/LAN specialists who support them. Our target completion date for all staff and faculty 02K installations is the middle of January 2001.

Office 2000 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook and FrontPage.

Compatibility

Word 2000, Excel 2000 and PowerPoint 2000 all have the capability of reading files created in their earlier respective versions, as well as saving to those earlier-version file formats. Access 2000 can read an Access 97 database but will not allow you to make changes to it; at some point, an Access 97 database will have to be converted to Access 2000.

So what about the Mac?

This question is asked every time a Microsoft product upgrade is released. Often, the Mac version of software is released after the Windows version, and there can be compatibility issues.

Fortunately, true compatibility exists between Office 98 and Office 2000 files. Users can share files and move back and forth between platforms with relative ease and without document conversion.

Some advanced formatting features found in Office 2000 are not available in Office 98, but the vast majority of functions exist cross-platform.

Office 2001 for the Macintosh, which will bring the Mac and Windows versions of the software almost completely in line with one another, should be released before the end of this year. Within another few months, the new version of Outlook for the Mac is targeted for release, finally bringing it up to parity with the Windows version. Computing Services will begin testing both products shortly after their releases and will then make plans for upgrading university Macintosh computers to Office 2001.

Why are we upgrading?

For our students: Consistent with the university’s mission to prepare our students to succeed, we need to provide them with up-to-date technology tools. Office 2000 will be a standard software package on many of the new computers our students and their families will purchase. Therefore, it is essential to have Office 2000 installed in all public computer labs as well as the labs in the Quantitative Methods and Computer Science and in the Graduate Programs in Software departments so that all of our students have access to this latest version of MS Office.

For our faculty and staff: MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access) remains the primary software application tool for UST faculty and staff. The majority of features in MS Office 2000 remain the same and will be familiar to users. But, Office 2000 also will provide some new features that will be beneficial to the UST user community, such as greater Web functionality and ease of publishing to the Web.

To keep pace with the technology parade: Improvements in hardware and software technology continue to march on. Newer versions of our standard UST software continue to appear. Organizations neglecting to keep pace with these software upgrades risk being left behind other technological advances that accompany them. Keeping the university in a position of technological advantage will contribute to the success of our students, faculty and staff.

Faculty and staff 02K take-home agreement

St. Thomas has an agreement with Microsoft that allows full-time faculty and staff to take the Microsoft Office applications home for personal use. If you would like more information on this, send us your inquiries.

As always, if you have any questions, call the CCS Help Desk, (651) 962-6230.