Of course anyone that owns a computer is familiar with the Microsoft Office productivity suite, I have personally used it since 1997 and I have always been satisfied with the features. My last office purchase was back in 2003 when I purchased Microsoft Office 2003, and I've been very happy with this product until I purchased Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate. Office 07 is a huge improvement over previous versions, the GUI is really candy for your eyes, and I love the selection of templates Microsoft offers for Publisher 07, the selection includes everything from business cards to contracts and is a must have if you are self employed. First off Word 07 is a major improvement over the previous Word 03, and I have to say I love how much easier it makes my writing life. Word automatically corrects any grammar mistakes that I make; now I know previous versions also performed this check but this version is improved. The dictionary also has new words added to it, including company names like Google, which means writing technology related articles is much easier. The word check is also much smoother, if you come across an error you can edit it by highlighting and then right clicking the text item, this makes it easy to edit on the fly instead of clicking the tabs.
Microsoft Publisher 07 is the new application for designing stationary and business cards, you can also design numerous other items such as resumes and certificates, this is great if you need to write up a professional resume without paying for a decent template. Downloading extra templates is free and easy, you will need to have a legal copy of office and Microsoft provides a large gallery of well designed templates submitted by users. Publisher is also very easy to use; basically you just fill in the text on the templates. The user interface is pretty intuitive and it provides a vast library of FAQs if you need tutorials on certain actions.
Excel is basically great if you need to design a spread sheet, but the interface hasn't changed from previous years except for some new eye candy in the task bar. I personally have never used Excel because to be truthful I don't really understand what a spreadsheet is for, I think that for somebody who needs to constantly design spreadsheets this is a excellent application, the interface is very easy to navigate and definitely user friendly. I've been using PowerPoint 07 to design presentations and I'm really impressed, especially when I show my presentations on a projector. I've been using PowerPoint since 1997 and this is definitely the best most advanced version to date, I'm also impressed with the updated user interface and it really shows off some nice eye candy especially when you use this application in Microsoft Vista.
The requirements for Office 2007 are quite simple; you will need to have at least 512MB of memory and at least a 1.6GHZ Pentium 4 processor. These requirements are pretty standard and most people will be able to meet them, if you cannot meet the requirements I would suggest purchasing a refurbished computer or upgrading your memory. Microsoft Office takes up around 500MB of space so most hard drives will be able to support this, for all the graphical effects you will need to upgrade your video memory to at least 256MB; luckily you can purchase video cards pretty cheaply on Geeks.com.
Overall I think Microsoft office 07 is a decent offering in the productivity suite market, and if you need to publish high quantities of text or presentations then you cannot do better then Office. Open office is a pretty decent free alternative but it doesn't have all the features that Microsoft offers, so pick up a copy of Office today and I guarantee you will be pleased with the results.