When they launched, Office XP and Office 2003 were big leaps forward, breaking away from the look of Windows 95 and offering far greater integration between applications. If you're using Office 2003, you're probably more than content, though we have to say there's plenty to get excited about in the brand-new 2007 version.

This article appears in the March 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents.
We'd bet that no one has ever managed to use every feature of Office 2003. And we've certainly a long way to go before exhausting the workarounds, shortcuts and handy hidden functions we routinely share with you.

In the March 07 issue of PC Advisor we look at how macros can automate tasks, saving valuable time. While we focus on Microsoft Word, the principle extends to other Office apps. What certainly doesn't save you time is having to learn new software applications and ways of working.

Most time-consuming of all can be hunting down all the commonly used functions that have suddenly been relegated to the back of the pack.

Thankfully, Microsoft has addressed feature bloat with Office 2007. It's pared down the drop-down menus and without your prompting serves up the features you use most often. And both Office and Vista have vastly improved search capabilities and version control, so you needn't scrabble around looking for the most recent copy of a document you're working on.

Microsoft is confident that its SharePoint tool, which enables collaborative working between colleagues across an ad-hoc network or an intranet, will prove a hit with businesses. Imagine it as a business-focused MySpace, with ideas, meeting notes, contact details, archives, message boards and a virtual meeting area, all hosted on an individual's SharePoint page.

It's ideal for sharing resources and, as with everything else that's been touched by Vista, it's got a solid native search capability. What a contrast from the ineffectual Office Assistant.