When we set up a new office for our collectZing.com business last year I did the usual thing – rang Dell and ordered a bunch of whichever PCs were on special, plus copies of Office Pro. It didn’t even occur to me that of course Windows XP had been superseded, and so we came to hate Windows Vista.
The best summary of my frustrations can be found in this extremely fun review of a chap ‘upgrading’ to Windows XP from Vista.
Then yesterday I enjoyed reading Charles Wright’s Bleeding Edge article in the Age Green Guide about him helping a friend downgrade from Word 2007 to Word 2003, and Charles’ quite justified criticism of the totally unhumanly sympathetic Word 2007 (article doesn’t seem to be online).
And also yesterday I was reminded of yet more quirks in the new Office. We use QuickBooks, on a Vista machine (just getting QB running on Vista was a pain, there was no QB for Vista when we bought the PC, then they finally issued an upgrade, but even now we can’t open any of the online help pages).
I regularly export from QuickBooks to Excel – it’s an excellent way to get my hands on financial data to play with, and was easy and smooth process. Actually it still is – click the Export button on a QB report and up pops Excel with my numbers.
But there’s a trick, and it took me a moment to work out something was amiss. I deleted a column – and wondered why the machine had locked up for about 5 minutes. After this happened a couple of times I poked around, and discovered the Excel file size was 4meg. I copied and pasted the cells with the data into a clean Excel file and saved – 24k. The inevitable conclusion – QB and Excel 2007 creates huge files. And another light bulb went on. When scrolling down the Excel sheet I realised I could scroll forever – every cell of all some 65,000 rows had some kind of data attached – even if the cells appeared blank.
Hence my trouble. When I asked to delete a column, it was a column 65,000 rows deep, no wonder the PC was taking time.
It’s a huge annoyance and I can’t find a way around it except to copy and paste the numbers to a fresh sheet – whereupon I lose most of my formatting. I even tried saving the file back down to 2003 format and opening it on another machine that runs XP and Office 2003. Same problem.
This is a brand new problem – never happened in QB on XP with Excel 2003. It’s an activity I perform almost every day – and it’s now completely stuffed.