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Visual Tour of Office 2007 Beta 2 495

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hope-they-are-ready-for-the-support-calls dept.
feminazi writes "Computerworld has a review and visual tour of the newest installment of Office. No more toolbars & menus; those have been replace with 'ribbons.' Of the various products in the suite, Word is the most changed. Styles are easier to invoke, but no easier to create or understand. A couple of the redeeming characteristics is the ability to save as PDF and XPS and an improved Track Changes. Bigger spreadsheets are available in Excel -- over 1 million rows and over 16,000 columns per worksheet -- and new and better visualization abilities. Lots new in Outlook including multiple calendars and direct support for RSS feeds. And the apps all work together better than before. From the article: 'The major change in Beta 2 was the introduction of Office SharePoint Server.' This means that Sharepoint Server is required, but it also means more & better collaboration and advanced search abilities are supported."
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Visual Tour of Office 2007 Beta 2

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  • by metasecure (946666) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:13PM (#15388865)
    I believe the summary is misleading - Office 2007 will not require Sharepoint server (i.e. for an individual/independant user), though it will be needed to take advantage of it's collaborative features.
    • he major change in Beta 2 was the introduction of Office SharePoint Server.' This means that Sharepoint Server is required,

      May be misleading but so far if you want to utilise all the features of this office package you will probably need:

      Exchange
      Share point
      Rights Management
      Active Directory

      Plus the associated CALS, and OS licenses, the technical staff, the hardware and the training for your user base. Oh and there are NO alternatives for use with MS Office (correct me if I am wrong), Personally I'd

      • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:48PM (#15389978)
        May be misleading but so far if you want to utilise all the features of this office package you will probably need:

        Exchange
        Share point
        Rights Management
        Active Directory

        Plus the associated CALS, and OS licenses, the technical staff, the hardware and the training for your user base. Oh and there are NO alternatives for use with MS Office (correct me if I am wrong), Personally I'd rather build my own out of the bits that are available in OpenSource land, use the features that I (my company) needs and lump the rest, but thats not everyones cup of tea. All I really want in life is Visio for linux, or a decent clone, preferably with the network architect toolkit or similar.


        Um, No... Oh and also NO....

        Where do people get this information? Are you really in the beta, because if you are, meet me in the groups and we can discuss this, because what you wrote is about as insane as it gets.

        Just for an example:
        Outlook works and 'collaborates' quite well with ANY Mail server, you can eve do Office forms, Replies and a lot of the other features, including LDAP support all with a simple and even FREE mail server softare. If your Mail server supports POP3 or IMAP, you are quite set with Outlook.

        Sure Outlook is ALSO an exchange client and will use the exchange features, but NEITHER require each other, understand?

        As for these others:
        Share point
        Rights Management
        Active Directory


        Do you even know what you are talking about? Active Directory is something not even used by Office unless you are running a SERVER VERSION of Office, which 99.9% of the people using Office do not. Also the 'Active Directory' requirements are NOT even exclusive to Windows Server Active Directory Server.

        As for the CALS, do you NOT realize that each VERSION of Office is its own CAL? That is what it is, a client application, there are no additional server CALs needed. Even Outlook qualifies to be a full CAL for Exchange.

        You need to read up quite a bit before making outlandish posts.

        Oh, also you state 'rights management' WTF are you even talking about?

        • by Anonymous Coward
          As for the CALS, do you NOT realize that each VERSION of Office is its own CAL? That is what it is, a client application, there are no additional server CALs needed. Even Outlook qualifies to be a full CAL for Exchange.

          You need to read up quite a bit before making outlandish posts.

          As do you. Buying a copy of Office is NOT the same as buying an Exchange CAL. You're horribly confusing software licenses with client access licenses... And further, if you use Sharepoint or Exchange, or other authenticat
        • Outlook works and 'collaborates' quite well with ANY Mail server I just spent a few months maintaining a Java application that sends, amongst other things, ICal attachments to Outllok clients attached to an Exchange server. ICalendar is an RFC, in other words a standard, and its been that way for years. But Exchange mangles any attachment that it sends on to Outlook (used to crash Outlook 2000, now just won't work in Outlook 2003/Exchange 2003) Exchange does not understand the mime type text/calendar. Neith
        • "Outlook works and 'collaborates' quite well with ANY Mail server,"

          Uh, no it doesn't. That's like saying Pine can collaborates quite well with any mail client.

          "if your Mail server supports POP3 or IMAP, you are quite set with Outlook."

          If by set you mean using only half of what Outlook offers I guess we agree. If everyone was quite "set" by using ANY mail server with Outlook why the heck do you think the OSS community has been going nuts for over 6 years trying to make a real exchange alternative?

          The grandpa
  • Here's a laundry list, but I don't think the stains will come out:

    • For example, the Home ribbon in Word offers shortcuts for the clipboard (cut, copy, paste) and font formatting (font and font size, underlines and superscripts and so on) -- the kind of everyday tasks most of us use in Word. If you click inside a table, Word presents a special ribbon with just table options. When you move away from the table, the ribbon disappears. It's a good example of providing help right when you need it and staying ou
    • WTF? If I've got anyone in IT putting 1,000,000 rows in a spreadsheet, I'm seriously considering demoting them. If you're going to have a million rows, get a database.

      But I REALLY need to let Nina in Corporate Accounts Payable be able to =SUM(A1:A1000000)...
      • Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment.
        Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment.
        Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment.
        Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment.
        Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment.
        Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment.
        Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment. ...
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:22PM (#15388927) Journal
      "WTF? If I've got anyone in IT putting 1,000,000 rows in a spreadsheet, I'm seriously considering demoting them. If you're going to have a million rows, get a database."

      It's not the IT guys you have to worry about, it's the beancounters.

      /recovering accountant here.

      And yes, we had several databases that started as an useable Excel spreadsheet and blossomed into ridiculous rowcounts. And no, management wouldn't let us convert to a real database, Excel was the only approved file format in accounting.
      • It's not the IT guys you have to worry about, it's the beancounters.
        Exactly. My wife just called me from work (she's an accountant) and asked if I knew how to get around this error: "Spreadsheet is full." I asked her how many rows it had: "About 100,000." Apparently this isn't that uncommon...
      • Data processing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:20PM (#15389353)
        I used spreadsheets to process loads of data samples, hundreds of thousands of points and frankly excel or any spreadsheet is ideal for preliminary data processing, as long as it handles the data. The grandparent should get his prejudices out of the way the fewer arbitrary limits any software has the better, what it's actually used for is irrelevant and up to the users.

         
    • The listed prices range from $149 ... subtract $170 or so for the upgrade version

      Sold!

    • by jxyama (821091) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:31PM (#15388998)
      >WTF? If I've got anyone in IT putting 1,000,000 rows in a spreadsheet, I'm seriously considering demoting them. If you're going to have a million rows, get a database.

      You are aware the previous limit in Excel was 65k rows. There's a lot of area between 65k and 1M which is handled better by a spreadsheet rather than a database.

      MS expanding the limit (granted 10 years overdue) and offering the flexibility is a good thing no matter how you may want to spin it otherwise.

      • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:04PM (#15390074)
        There's a lot of area between 65k and 1M which is handled better by a spreadsheet rather than a database.

        If the data set is better handled by a spreadsheet than a database, then it shouldn't matter how many records there are.

        Inversely, if a data set is better handled by a database than a spreadsheet, then it shouldn't matter how few records there are.

        They're different tools, and they serve different purposes. I have to wonder where this problem came from where people so often use the wrong tool for the job. Is it because Excel and Access both display data in grid format? Is it because spreadsheets made headway into personal computing space long before RDBMS's did?

        It's fine and dandy that Microsoft is re-compiling the Excel source with larger values for the MAX_ROWS and MAX_COLS constants. But there's no technical reason why such fixed limits should still even exist anymore. Can't they devise a way to allow spreadsheets to be limited in dimensions only by the available resources of the machine? Or will we have to wait and buy Office 2010 to get the ability to have 32,000 columns instead of just 16,000?

    • by mikesmind (689651) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:31PM (#15388999) Homepage
      The listed prices range from $149 (student) to $499 (Professional Plus) with no price listed for the required SharePoint Server (volume licensing only). Oh, subtract $170 or so for the upgrade version.

      While this may be slightly off-topic, hopefully it is interesting. Someone I know at work was looking to buy a used copy of MS Office. I suggested that he download OpenOffice.org. When I asked him about it a week later, he told me that he had downloaded it and was now using it. OpenOffice.org did everything he needed it to do and he really liked the price tag!

      Now I will try to relate this back to the topic at hand. Now that Microsoft is radically changing Office, it is a great time to switch to OpenOffice.org. The interface is close enough to Office, that retraining is minimal. It is questionable how many companies will use the collaboration features. Generally features are used as justification for upgrading but often the additional features are not well-utilized.

      • You're right. The collaboration features will be too complicated for the majority of office workers. Imagine someone who isn't comfortable using computers trying to understand what CVS does and how the CVS system works. I'm sure Microsoft have tried to make the collaboration as simple as possible, but if it's too simple, it won't be powerful. If it's powerful, it won't be simple.

        A collaboration tool that is both simple and powerful is extremely difficult to do, if not impossible. At best, companies might be
    • Yes, apparently Office products are tons more feature-rich [userfriendly.org] than their open-source equivalents....
    • WTF? If I've got anyone in IT putting 1,000,000 rows in a spreadsheet, I'm seriously considering demoting them. If you're going to have a million rows, get a database.

      If anyone spent that long to implement an upgrade to a paltry 1M x 16K spreadsheet size, I'd seriously consider demoting them to janitors.
    • WTF? If I've got anyone in IT putting 1,000,000 rows in a spreadsheet, I'm seriously considering demoting them. If you're going to have a million rows, get a database.

      Yeah, but if it couldn't support many, you'd be the first saying: Heh look at teh l4me Excel. It's because evil M$ wantz joo to buy SQL server. Evil, evil.

    • by VertigoAce (257771) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:07PM (#15389254)
      This is an extension of the abstration of the chevron menus... alter the user's environment based on usage. It doesn't work. I've used environments like this and it takes getting used to. You think it was confusing trying to show people how to use Microsoft products when the pulldown menus changed seemingly randomly? Wait until their "ribbons" change based on cursor position.

      I just gave this a try in Word 12. It is a lot less drastic than you imply. If I have a word document with a bunch of text and a table in the middle, changing the cursor position does not change the current tab (where each tab is basically a set of toolbars grouped by task). All that changes is a little section of the window is highlighted indicating which tabs are related to table design. It's not intrusive, but conveys the point very clearly.

      Office 12 does a lot to expose existing functionality to the typical user. Things that used to be buried deep in menus and dialog boxes are presented in a much more intuitive way. Try it out some time if you get a chance. Yes, the UI is different from most other applications, but it seems to be a model worthy of consideration for other applications.
    • yagu wrote:

      If you or your company considers this, get ready for more incompatiblities with previous generations, and retro installation of plugins. That's okay within a company (to some), but think carefully about the impedance mismatch with the rest of the world.

      It's not just backward incompatibility. In this case, doing away with the traditional menu and toolbar structure is going to seriously impact forward compatibility as well.

      A spatial interface like the ribbon will require serious retraining whenev

    • Actually I am going to disagree with you. I found the Chevron menu system execrable, I turned it off immediately, functions that Microsoft thought I might not want disappeared. It was patronising, comfusing and slowed down my work.

      However, with the ribbons (which I have not used, I'm on a Mac here) they might have got it right. Whereas the chevrons left you with a 'where have my menu items gone' feel, the contextual ribbon changes should be instantaneous, and pretty intuitive - you click on a table and inst
  • by bryan_is_a_kfo (976654) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:15PM (#15388877)
    if your data set is a million rows, you probably want to consider using something other than spreadsheets. I'm fond of the current limit on excel, it forces analysts to think about their tool selection sometimes.
    • I'm guessing that they plan to use sharepoint server with a database backend and ODBC on the users' spreadsheets to allow users to treat databases as spreadsheets. Spreadsheets really are an intuitive inteface for updating data. Distributed storage of critical data is the dumb thing.

      But... we all know that what is going to end up happening is that .xls files will grow from 400mb to 45gb with embedded videos, dynamically updated rss tickers inside of cells, and a million rows of junk formatting with differen
      • I think you just described a new circle of hell, I could hear faint shrieking in my head as I read that.

        Do you have any kind of basis for the distributed data assumption? That doesn't seem like an easy feature to sell to consumers, let alone the MS developers who would have to implement it...
    • by 1000101 (584896) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:09PM (#15389263)
      The company I work for develops and sells a database reporting tool. This tool allows the user to build reports in .pdf or .xls format. When using Excel, the user can build any design they want using macros, formatting, etc. All of the 'data' is stored in seperate sections and the main output is a clean, functional, interactive report with all of Excel's bells and whistles. Our software puts no limitation on a date range that a user runs a report against. So, if a user has a *large* database (SQL or ORACLE) and runs a report for a large time span, a million rows could theoretically be used. The end report result could just be a summary of the data, but the supporting data set could easily have hundreds of thousands of rows. We use a database to store the client's data but the report queries this data and dumps the result set to the Excel spreadsheet.

      My point is that not everyone uses Excel as a database and this is a welcome change for us.

    • by Serapth (643581) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:55PM (#15389597)
      Thats the worst put, some of these Excel people can be dumb as dirt, but when it comes to Excel, my god they can perform wizardry. As an actual example ive seen at work, there are spreadsheets that hit the 65K limit but they are so key to peoples job functions they find "work arounds", like creating "archive" spreadsheets once they hit the fixed limit and starting a new copy of the sheet that cross references all the archives.

      Hell, ive seen people in excel basically create relational databases WITHIN excel. Dont under estimate what these people can come up with, some of its pretty damned scary.

      Plus, atleast where I am, we have HUNDREDS of Excel workbooks and pidly ass Access databases that really should be in Oracle or SQL, but at the same time, they work. Our IT department is nowhere big enough to port and maintain each of these solutions to a more robust system. Plus, people creating these systems are pretty damned good at taking ownership of them. However, if they dont create the sheet/DB that last thing they want to do is maintain it. A double edge sword really.

      For the most part both Excel and Access are necisarry evils, unless you have a huge IT budget.
  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:16PM (#15388887)
    "Ribbons" = "Tabs"
  • by theheff (894014) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:16PM (#15388888)
    The public beta 2 is actually availableto the public today. [microsoft.com]
    • The public beta 2 is actually availableto the public today.

      Well, it was available, until you told slashdot...
    • I downloaded my preview weeks ago from this website [thepiratebay.org].
      • They don't seem to have the Beta 2, but I noticed on left side of the screen a few gorgeous women who just happen to live in my area! I'm off to get in touch with them... They look much better than some unfinished computer program.
    • by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:22PM (#15389372)
      After being bothered with the requirement of a Passport account, filling out stupid forms, click a link received in a confirmation email, you finally come to Server Too Busy [ltg.info] which shows:
      Server Error in '/SHOP' Application.

      Server Too Busy

      Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

      Exception Details: System.Web.HttpException: Server Too Busy

      Source Error:

      An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

      Stack Trace:

      [HttpException (0x80004005): Server Too Busy]
            System.Web.HttpRuntime.RejectRequestInternal(HttpW orkerRequest wr) +146

      Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:1.1.4322.2300; ASP.NET Version:1.1.4322.2300


      So it looks like we may have to wait for Beta 3...
  • spread out over seven pages. Why don't we get a warning for that in the summary, like we do with sites that require registration? like "SITE.COM[in desperate need of increased pageviews]"
    • No kidding.
      Every page is 90% ads and crap, with the text in a teeny little column.
      The animated ads were too distracting to bother reading past 2 or 3 pages.
  • This is going to confuse every single non-technical user on the planet, while benefiting pretty much no one. I can hear the questions now: "Where did they put the File menu?"
  • Bigger spreadsheets are available in Excel -- over 1 million rows and over 16,000 columns per worksheet

    what kind of a jackass ....? use a fucking relational database! I don't want to think how blazingly slow that big of a spreadsheet would be, not to mention any dataset that large is going to almost certainly be something that is supposed to be used by more than one person at a time
    • Clippy! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:38PM (#15389055)
      > Bigger spreadsheets are available in Excel -- over 1 million rows and over 16,000 columns per worksheet
      >
      > what kind of a jackass ....? use a fucking relational database! I don't want to think how blazingly slow that big of a spreadsheet would be, not to mention any dataset that large is going to almost certainly be something that is supposed to be used by more than one person at a time

      It looks like you are trying to implement a relational database in Excel!

      Would you like to...

      • Add another 100,000 rows to the worksheet? (You're my kind of jackass!)
      • Use a fucking relational database? (but not MySQL or Oracle!)
      • Suck it, Ellison! [forbes.com], and don't show me this tip again or I'll throw a chair at you. (I'm still bitter about the year you beat me.)
    • what kind of a jackass ....? use a fucking relational database! I don't want to think how blazingly slow that big of a spreadsheet would be, not to mention any dataset that large is going to almost certainly be something that is supposed to be used by more than one person at a time

      Actually, this is kind of handy despite what you are thinking. I once had to chart a large amound of data that was just x and y values. I needed to dump that data into some statistical program just to seperate it into useable va

    • You'd be surprised what Excel is used for. I know for a fact that a certain very large insurance company relies on Excel sheets and macros for some of its policy price calculation tools. I'm not saying its right, I was shocked as well, but the fact is that almost everyone knows how to use Excel and the knowledge required to move a macro-based Excel application to even use Access is large (and Access is nearly useless on 1M rows).
      One point that is missed here is that the previous limit (65K rows) was ludic
    • Office workers don't know about databases, and I very much doubt any of them want to know about databases.
  • yuck! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Garabito (720521) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:19PM (#15388900)
    UI looks like MSN Messenger!
  • Look and Feel (Score:3, Insightful)

    by charleste (537078) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:21PM (#15388923)
    Is it just me, or do these new "ribbons" look alot like Apple Works? I RTFA, and it didn't seem to justify upgrading for the average user - which although a geek, I include myself (I still prefer my text editor!). Office 2007 appears to be Office 2000 (98 too) with a tighter leash to M$, with a few bells and whistles most people won't use.

  • People are going to think of ms office as much more than a set of standalone desktop applications, and more of an end to end system.

    This makes sense in this day, and is a very effective way for MS to retain traction. The fact is that while the diversity of non-MS and particularly open source solutions is great, it's also a huge detraction since many people may choose an almost as good, almost as open solution over a confusing array of alternatives.

    The last time I dabbled in the MS world, it wasn't particula
  • On the one hand, people complain about how Swing "looks funny" on Windows. Meanwhile, every damn release of Office has Microsoft deviating further and further from their stock UI...
    • It seems the MS Office team are the only group within Microsoft that provide any meaningful UI and usability innovation, and it's the type of innovation that is sorely lacking on Windows.

      The whole MDI thing with its bunch of tiny, rearrangeable menu bars with tiny little buttons was a bad idea in 1991, and it's bad today. And the menu bar only makes sense when it's attached to the top of the screen. If it's attached to the window then there's absolutely no reason to constrain it to a single like of text.

      I
  • by linguae (763922) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:28PM (#15388973)
    Right from the start, you'll notice the most significant change to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and many screens in Outlook 2007. Gone are the familiar toolbars and menus; they've been replaced by "ribbons" that house a variety of buttons, icons and graphics (see Figure 1). The ribbons have a dual purpose: to highlight features that users are likely to use most often or want most (but have trouble finding), and to promote features at the point they're most useful.

    WTF? But I like my menu bars and toolbars, thank you very much. Menu bars has been a part of Windows since 1985 (and the Mac since 1983 thanks to the Lisa). I think most users would have a hard time understanding "ribbons"; I don't like it when programs try to be "smart" and hide features away from me. There must be an option to use the old menus and toolbars in Office 2007; if not, then I'm not buying it.

    I find that Vista and Office 2007 seems to change menus around and get rid of long-standing GUI features for no apparent usability reason. What's wrong with the old Windows interface? To me, the Windows 2000 interface was the perfect user interface; I still use Classic on my Windows XP partition, and even my KDE desktop on FreeBSD is reminiscent of Windows 2000. I used Vista for a while; I'm not too impressed. Microsoft can take my copy of Office 2000 (I'd still happily be using Office 97 if somebody didn't give me his upgrade disks) and Windows XP when it pries it from my cold, dead fingers. When XP and Office 2000 become obsolete, I would have long switched to FreeBSD and OS X with OpenOffice by then (I'm already a FreeBSD user, too; I just need to buy a Mac to make the switch complete).

    Why must they change the interface when the old one worked so well?

    • Why must they change the interface when the old one worked so well?
      To differentiate their product from Openoffice.org.
    • I don't like it when programs try to be "smart" and hide features away from me.

      Me too. I've never run into anyone who wants the menu items they don't regularly use to "vanish" or be available only when you choose to manually expand them. We all hate this feature. It doesn't simplify things, it complicates them by making us guess where everything is. Duh. Hint to MS and anyone else: When it's a feature we rarely use, we want to be able to find it on the occasions for which we do need it.

      Another hint: peo

    • Imagine trying to sell a new version of Windows/Office that looks exactly the same as the previous version of Windows/Office. They have to do something to make them look different.
    • Microsoft has complained for years that most users request features that Office already has but can't find them according to their usability labs.

      FIrst ms tried to hide the complexities with menu's that delete uncommon features unless you put the cursor over the arrows in the menu. That failed.

      So MS is redoing the UI. Also even for non novices like you and I its a pain to do things like custom graphics for presentations and documentation in word.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:24PM (#15389809)
      You know that Microsoft does usability tests, right? They don't just randomly place things (well, they did in Office for a long time, which is why they're fixing that now), and they don't just rip-off other programs like open source projects to. You can bet your ass that if Microsoft is making a change for usability reasons, they have documented, repeatable, scientific evidence that the new version is better.

      What you're griping is basically, "but I don't like to learn new things!," which is the opposite of how most Slashdotters seem to be... for instance, a lot of Slashdotters recommend starting with Gentoo when switching to Linux you can see how Linux works, or learning the CLI even if you're already experienced at a GUI interface.

      Of course, with Microsoft involved, you know that 80% of these comments are saying it'll be a crappy product without even having tried it.
      • I just wonder, with geeks complaining about it changing so radically, how will normal users be able to deal with it? The other day the receptionist at my job was wondering how to check her yahoo mail at work. She had a yahoo toolbar, but appearently had never thought to try the "mail" icon. So many non-geek users are just used to going through their routine of what they know and have no idea what to do beyond that. How are they going to deal with a completely changed interface?
    • by VGR (467274)

      WTF? But I like my menu bars and toolbars, thank you very much. Menu bars has been a part of Windows since 1985 (and the Mac since 1983 thanks to the Lisa). I think most users would have a hard time understanding "ribbons"; I don't like it when programs try to be "smart" and hide features away from me. There must be an option to use the old menus and toolbars in Office 2007; if not, then I'm not buying it.

      Hear, hear! One of the first rules of UI design is, don't move things around and don't change the l

  • XPS? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:30PM (#15388990)
    So Word 2007 introduces yeat another obscure acronym?

    What the hell is XPS?

    Google says X-Ray Photoemission Spectroscopy [google.com]. That is it's ony result, and it is taken from the place I would have gone next: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XPS [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:XPS? (Score:5, Informative)

      by FirstTimeCaller (521493) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:16PM (#15389317)

      What the hell is XPS?

      It stands for XML Paper Specification and is Microsoft's answer to PDF for document archival and printing. In fact, the whole Vista printing architecture centers around it. All Office applications will be able to save to it and there will be a viewer for non-Vista systems. It's pretty open (especially in Microsoft terms) and overall a good thing (IMHO). See Wikipedia Entry [wikipedia.org].

  • by ceeam (39911)
    This new set of MS software (Vista, New Office) that they've been working hard on for the last 5 years looks really impressive! It can even beat.. I dunno.. Intel Itanium CPU in adoption speed and popularity! Good luck to them!

    (Long sound of ship-horn. Bubbles) /me goes to Apple store to salivate a bit more over higher-end MacBooks
  • why bother? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Surt (22457) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:33PM (#15389012) Homepage Journal
    I mean, there's nothing there that OpenOffice hasn't had for like -3 years.
  • by jxyama (821091) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:33PM (#15389016)
    I assume OO.o won't be "copying" any of them, correct?
    • Obviously, I'm being a flamebait. However, at least in the UI aspect, I haven't seen anything new in OO.o and it is the most significant change in this version of Office.

      If it's well received - my experience is that it definitely improves feature discoverability - will OO.o copy the UI or invent something new?

      • What's the obvious thing to do?

        If MS's new approach works better, then it only makes sense that OOo -- KOffice, and Lotus -- will follow suit. These projects need to be useful to ma and pa kettle, and if they expect an MS clone, they'd better get one.

  • If there is one thing Apple Pages got right (and trust me, there is only one or two things), it's the implementation of styles. I don't think I ever touched them in Word until Pages made the whole thing a lot clearer.

    The scary thing is that the concept isn't exactly foreign to me -- anyone who has used CSS knows the principle. I just can't believe I ignored it for so long.
  • Like many consumers, the only reason I'd buy this is I wouldn't want to risk compatability issues in the arms race of upgrading to the latest technology. Similarly, the only reason I'd buy SharePoint is to use this software. I'm not going to buy it because I think it will make me so much more productive to justify the cost.

    I think when a company has this kind of leverage over consumers, it should be considered anticompetitive and illegal. What's the downside to tightening the threshold of the definition o

  • by ndykman (659315) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:39PM (#15389063)
    I'm sure there will be lots of interesting commentary here on Office 2007, and I'm sure a lot of it will be along the lines of "New interface is goofy/sucks/bad for users/too different/etc." and/or "OpenOffice rules, why go MS?" and so on.

    Which is all fine and good. Really. But the changes in Office aren't targeted at power users. In fact, it probably is true that the new UI will frustrate power users. So, why did MS bother?

    Because for every power user, there are 100s of regular users. They want to do more with Word, Excel, etc, but have a hard time finding the features they want. So, this is the first step in this direction. It won't be perfect, but what does do is break from tradition in some interesting ways.

    Believe me that MS has been sticking this in front of users and doing usability studies. And I'm willing to bet that enough regular users think that the new UI isn't so bad, that it's pretty cool after you get used to it, and it's easier to find features and play around with them.

    All the live preview featues and ribbon bars and so on are to make it easier to regular users to goof around with changes without making them permanent. Also, remember that this is Beta2, so it isn't clear that all the live preview features are in yet, so it could very well be that paragrpah sytle previews will be in the final product.

    Finally, I think it is important to note something about the ribbons. The ribbons don't change. This is not the custom menu idea, where menus "adapted to users" whihc just translated to stuff moved on the menus, and you don't know why. You choose a ribbon, you get the tools for that ribbon period. They don't move around.

    Will it work? Hard to say. But I like the idea that the idea of Office applications is being looked at in a fresh way.
    • by linguae (763922) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:04PM (#15389225)
      Because for every power user, there are 100s of regular users.

      Problem is, most of those regular users are already accustomed to the Windows 95-esque and Office 97-esque interface, not this newfangled Vista stuff. For example, my parents are regular users and they still use Windows 95 and Office 97. Yet they have no trouble using Word, Excel, and those applications. Same with my siblings who, while very computer literate, they don't plan on coding and all of that other fun stuff. They can use classic Windows with very little difficulty. The classic Windows interface just works. Throw most regular users this Vista stuff with no menus, reorganized icons, and other stuff, and they will have to do a lot of retraining (just like how Windows 3.1 users had to switch to Windows 95, except I believe the XP-Vista switch of interfaces is worse compared to the 3.1-95 switch). It is a completely different OS; you might as well hand them a Mac (which has familiar menus, toolbars, a dock, and other features) or even KDE/GNOME (which is even more Windows-like; and no, this isn't a slam).

      Don't think that regular users are cavemen and cavewomen who barely know how to use a computer. Regular users have a lot more computing experience than most of us CSers, UI people, and other computer professionals think. That's the problem with UI people; they want to design UIs for complete noobs, yet most people aren't complete noobs (but not exactly power users, either). I say, keep the old Office interface that we've been using since 1995. It works, and it works quite well. Any gratitious changes (like Office 2007 and Vista) would just make users think twice about getting a PC and think more about getting a Mac or switching to *nix (hey, you already have to learn a new interface with Vista; some people might as well switch OSes).

  • by Frequency Domain (601421) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:39PM (#15389064)
    McCullough and Wilson wrote a paper about Office back in 1997 which ripped Excel to shreds on its statistical accuracy and random number generation. They reissued the paper in 2002 [acm.org], and Excel still had the same problems in Office2000 and OfficeXP. Many of the worst problems were still there in Office2003 [informs-cs.org]. Have they actually fixed the horrible errors?
  • by vivek7006 (585218) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:41PM (#15389073) Homepage
    1) Word's default font is now Calibri, not Arial. Calibri is a highly readable font.

    2)The File menu is gone; now you have to somehow guess that the big icon in the upper left corner is its replacement.

    3)The "most recently used" list is no longer limited to the last nine files

    4)Track Changes now won't flag as "different" text that is simply moved, which is smart.

    5) Ability to export documents to PDF and to their own pdf-like format, whatever that is.
    • Some of the changes make more sense when you pair Office 2007 with Windows Vista. It took me a while to figure out the Big Office Logo Sphere Button until I saw a screenshot of Word 2007 on Vista. Vista's Start button is now a Big Windows Logo Sphere Button in the bottom left corner of the screen. So I guess that means that the Big Office Logo Sphere Button in the top left corner of the screen is Office's "Start button". See, it all makes sense in a "the designers are insufferably happy, and we get to show

  • These "Ribbons" sound like the changing palettes in Office 2004 for the Mac. I hate them. Because the palettes change, you have different functions in the same place depending on what you're doing. This makes it very difficult to get used to where you need to put your mouse. It's for that reason that programs are supposed to grey out menu items rather than change the menu - you get used to locations for a specific item and can quickly navigate there. Menus have the advantage of being out of the way, displa
  • by gsfprez (27403) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:46PM (#15389106)
    me: "Why can't we use Macs or other word processors at least?"
    IT: "training costs. Costs too much to show people how to use different software. that's why we're all Office and all microsoft."

    "training costs" excuse.... we hardly knew thee...
  • by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:49PM (#15389127)
    From 2007 Microsoft Office Release System Requirements [microsoft.com]:
    "Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 or later required for Outlook 2007 users."


    So they are still trying to lock everyone into Exchange?

    I predict this will not work. If the email in Outlook 2007 doesn't get much better IMAP support, I will push harder in my network to abandon it and replace it with Thunderbird or something else. And if the Outlook calendar doesn't fully support iCalendar for import, export AND remote WebDAV/CalDAV calendars, then it will not be hard to convince users that the limitations of Outlook are much worse than the bugs in Sunbird or Google Calendar.
  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @03:54PM (#15389155) Homepage Journal
    Wow! I can't wait for all these great new features that Office will let me do to make my documents look great!

    1. Change my fonts.
    2. Change my font sizes.
    3. Tell Word where a picture should sit on the page (c00l!)
    4. Change my margins (I never new I could do that!)
    5. 1 million rows in Excel so I can finally tell my database to kiss off.

    All this and more with a great, sure-to-be-lagless preview as I mouse over EVERYTHING!

    But don't take my Word (tehe) for it. This video [microsoft.com] tells me how my documents can LOOK GREAT!

  • by Mz6 (741941) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:09PM (#15389269) Journal
    Since the site seems to be slashdotted, CNET also has pictures of Office 2007.

    Word [com.com]
    Outlook [com.com]
    Excel [com.com]
    Powerpoint [com.com]

  • MS Word is a pain in the butt to do custom graphics with menu options all over for the most basic styles. Infact there is one post here about someone writing documentation in html and just saving it as a .doc.

    The site is down so I can't see these new features like the ribbons. One of the common complaints about MS-Office is that many users request features that are already there but just hidden under a sea of menu's. MS tried with office2k and 2k3 to delete uncommon menu items in order for users to see the more options which utterly failed. Lets hope Ribbons work. I hope more advanced features like graphics and styles will be easier to implement as a result.

    BUsinesses still use Office97 so of course MS wants to innovate to help users switch. Good for Microsoft.

    I would rather have MS try to redo Office in order to sell more copies to corporate america rather than raise licensing costs in order to force upgrades.

    As much as I dislike windows and Microsoft's business practices I will say MS Office is a wonderfull app and one of their gems. It needs a UI overhaul and more groupware collaboration is what alot of IT departments need. I hope with VBA you can customize it too.

    No I am not a MSFan boy either if you read my other posts.
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @04:48PM (#15389544)
    In related news, Microsoft has announced the when Vists is eventually released, icons will be called symbols.
  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:32PM (#15390225) Homepage
    I just want to point out that the menus (file, edit, view, etc) were not *replaced* by the new Ribbon.

    The old menus still exist, they are just turned off by default with the Ribbon enabled. For die-hard people who don't want to give the ribbon a try, the old interface can easily be brought back.

    I also want to point out that there was once a time when people thought WYSIWYG and icons were Bad Things. I see the Ribbon as a possible next step in the evolution of a GUI. Task Panes in 2003 were a great step forward and this might be too.
  • by koolraap (960966) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @08:06PM (#15390705)
    The Office 12 blog http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/default.aspx [msdn.com] is a good place to read the reasoning behind some of the design decisions. Whether you agree or not with the changes, their motivation seems to be sound: improve the user experience.

    Making features easier to find/discover is [apparently] one of the biggest benefits. Word has a zillion features, and most people use about 10.

    Anyway, I'd recommend the blog as an interesting read for those people interested in user interface design for a product with hunderds of millions of users.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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