The Good Old Days with Microsoft Office

spreadshhets introduction coverusing word97 on your computer cover

An Introduction to Spreadsheets
Excel 97 edition

Easy Design on Your Computer
Word 97 edition

Technology titles are often held on to way longer than necessary. I think many librarians use the excuse that we should keep back titles because Grandma and Grandpa always get the castoffs when their offspring upgrade. That might have been true 10-2o years ago, but seniors are quickly catching up and want new and shiny.

Although geared toward upper elementary, these books would have been quite good for adults. Regardless, Microsoft quit supporting Office 97 around 2005, and considering the newer editions that quickly followed, this purchase was probably doomed for a short shelf life. I am kind of cracking up that the intended audience for this series of books wasn’t even born yet.

Personally, I am glad that Office 97 died, especially because of that annoying paperclip assistant (Clippy). I would put Clippy in the category of worst ideas in software.

Feeling old yet again,


equipment needed to run Excel 97

office 97 document example






  1. “Seniors are quickly catching up and want new and shiny.”

    Sometimes it’s because our software, or the websites we visit, demand the latest hardware. Otherwise we could be perfectly happy with a slightly older model. My newer-model laptop fried its logic board and until I can scrape the price of a replacement together I’m using a 16-year-old laptop and having to work around certain sites and files.

    1. PCs have a much longer shelf life than they used to. I recently inherited a 10-year-old desktop machine, and it runs like a top. With the latest version of Chrome, it does pretty much anything I need it to do.

      1. I agree, Brian. I got my desktop in 2008 and only recently did it start to falter–and it is something completely fixable. I just haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet. It did have a few issues when Windows 10 rolled along but they were the fault of Windows, not the computer itself. I had had its predecessor since 2001 and it never gave me any hardware issues.

        Laptops don’t have as long of a shelf life as desktops do, though.

  2. Don’t know if this is the norm, but one of my library’s few flat exclusions for the book sale is: No computer books older than 5 years.

    1. what a mouse was
      At least it isn’t a book on Computers For Christian Ladies, or they would have felt obliged to work in some tiresome witticism about screaming and jumping onto chairs.

  3. I love these old computer books and find them charming to browse through – AFTER they’ve been weeded!

  4. I would still be using my last notebook PC if Windows had not stopped supporting XP. That machine would not run the newest OS so I had to get a replacement. I hate them both (the PC and the OS). Change is not necessarily progress.

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