Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Microsoft Error

Error bars Yesterday I was exposed to the trainwreck that is Excel 2007. I have no intention of installing Office 2008, but since the University has foisted 2007 on students, many of them are forced to use it.
I was shocked at the loss of usability - the most important features are now buried several menus deep, and of course, Microsoft has done nothing to fix the errors which have persisted in Excel since the first version, in spite of the many cosmetic changes.
So it looks like I'm finally going to have to abandon Excel for teaching and make the jump to something else. The Google Charts API looks a bit too daunting for our first year students, so I'm asking for suggestions of something simpler that will plot different chart types, with the possibility to add features such as interpolated trendlines and error bars.
Any ideas? OpenOffice 3.0 looks nice, but how would we get the students to run this since it's not available within the institution?

WOW: Just learned that the Toolpak is gone in Excel 2008. It's even worse than I thought.