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Show Office 2007 Who's the Boss 267

Posted by Zonk
from the not-tony-danza dept.
jcatcw writes "Microsoft knows how you like your Office Suite. You like Ribbons ... they're a given, right? Well, if not, Computerworld reviews some third-party packages that allow you to customize the software's interface. Classic Menu gives you an Office-2003-like set of menus. It'll help you navigate old menu structures to find favorite commands, but don't expect to use all the familiar keyboard shortcuts. ToolbarToggle lets you customize the menus. However, Classic Menu has two advantages over ToolbarToggle: It's available for PowerPoint today, and it includes Office 2007 commands on its menus, a modification you can't make to ToolbarToggle menus. RibbonCustomizer works within the Ribbon's own constraints to let you change the display of icons and commands on existing tabs or any new ones you create."
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Show Office 2007 Who's the Boss

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  • by Overneath42 (905500) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:42PM (#18921407)
    Seriously, why do people fear change so much? The new Office design is much better than any previous version, in my opinion. No more hunting around in nested menus trying to find features - everything is right there in plain sight. Sure, there's a learning curve, but is it really so steep?

    I think there are valid complaints about Office 2007 (namely, the new .*x format, which has tripped my fiancee up more than once in trying to print papers at school after typing them at home), but the design shouldn't be one of them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chacham (981)
      why do people fear change so much? The new Office design is much better

      It's not that we fear change. It's that we're sick of relearning everything every couple years. Offer a new interface? Sure, just please don't take away the old one.
      • by Poorcku (831174) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:15PM (#18921661) Homepage
        this was the first Office UI change in how many years?
        • by zappepcs (820751)
          Hey, it's not really the year value that they are complaining about, it's that EVERY version of MS Office that comes out causes the learning curve problem. Yes, if MS would only release new products once per decade, it wouldn't be so bad, now would it, but that's not the case. Every new release brings a learning curve with it, so 'every couple of years' is not such a bad estimation.

          While we are at it, why don't some of those people use the learning curve time to learn something new instead... like OpenOffic
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ditoa (952847)
            Sorry but thats bull. The only "learning curve" is the new features. The regular word processing features were in the same place from Word 6.0 all the up to Word 2003. That is at least 10 years of the same UI.
            • by hazem (472289) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:40PM (#18922623) Journal
              No, it's not just "new features" but more importantly old features that they make work quite differently.

              Go to Excel 2000 and put a column of numbers in columns A, B, and D. Hit CTRL-A to "select ALL" and do a sort.

              Now do the same in Excel 2003.

              You'll find that in Excel 2003, it tries to guess what you mean by "select ALL" and will only select and sort column A and B. If you sort your data, the data in column D is no longer associated with the data in A and B.

              In this obvious example, you can see it didn't select all. But suppose you have an excel sheet that has many columns and you want to sort them like you always have... ctrl-A and sort. In excel 2003 you may end up breaking all of your data.

              This exact thing happened to me and I lost almost a day of work because the file I was working on was ruined and I only figured it out after getting very strange results.

              Why in the hell do they take something as long-standing and nearly universal as Ctrl-A and change what it does? Oh right, because if it's a standard, Microsoft will try to break it - even if it's their own standard.

      • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Sunday April 29, 2007 @07:18PM (#18922137) Homepage Journal
        Relearning? Most people I know who demand Microsoft Office do not even use or understand styles!! They would be better off with Wordpad!!

        --jeffk++
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thc69 (98798)

      No more hunting around in nested menus trying to find features - everything is right there in plain sight.

      You haven't actually tried to use this crap, have you? Everything presumably is right there in a jumbled mess of tiny unintuitive icons, grouped in some weird way, with a default ribbon (or front piece of a ribbon, or whatever) that comes back after you do one command once. I can't find a damn thing.

      Drop-down menus have been around so long because they work!

      If, for example, I wanted to change how I was

      • by r3m0t (626466)
        If you want to change how you're looking at stuff in Office 2007, click on (gasp!) the "View" tab, which is a larger target for your mouse and easier to spot than the old "View" menu. There are your options, with more contrast to indicate the currently selected option, and larger thumbnails to demonstrate each one.

        The only exception is the zoom slider at the bottom-right.

        I still think the new format is much better. And trust me, people - it won't change significantly in the next version of Office.

        All the me
        • by hazem (472289)
          f you want to change how you're looking at stuff in Office 2007, click on (gasp!) the "View" tab, which is a larger target for your mouse and easier to spot than the old "View" menu.

          I don't have to spot the old menu because I open it with Alt-V. When possible, I do most commands on the keyboard because it's faster than screwing around with the mouse. I don't even have to be looking at the menu to do some things because I "know" how to work it.

          I don't have the 2007 version, but to the ribbons still work wit
          • I don't have the 2007 version, but to the ribbons still work with any of the key mappings most of us are used to?

            yes.

            If you open up Word 2007 and hit "alt + V", the View tab will show up, with a keyboard shortcut for every command you see in front of you.

            The only downside to the Ribbon is the learning curve for customizing it: you need to essentially create a plugin, instead of just dragging a few icons to how you want them.
          • Yes, the keyboarding for the old menus still works. In fact, it's Alt-W that brings up the View tab because Alt-V is reserved for accessing the old Word 2003 view menu.
      • I couldn't agree more.

        Spellcheck is a TOOL! It was under the Tools menu. Perfect.
        Spellcheck is not a message. What's it's doing under the Message menu ("ribbon", whatever)?
        Why is message formating under the Options menu, and font formating under the Format Text menu?
        It's idiotic. It's change for the sake of change.
        All the formating options under the Format menu and all the tools widgets under the Tools menu, now that made perfect sense.

        The new arrangement, even after you learn it, doesn't mak
      • by icepick72 (834363) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:51PM (#18921939)
        Drop-down menus have been around so long because they work!


        Actually, drop-down menus work because you got used to them and so did everybody else. Heck, I remember my first time using a mouse when it became widely available. You obviously got past that one, although from your post I'm not sure if it wasn't without complaining :) Nothing is intuitive at first. It's been so long you've forgotten how to accept change to your computer programs that's all. You can choose to forget how to adapt to change and rail against everything new. Won't be the only one.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Dan100 (1003855)
        "Drop-down menus have been around so long because they work!"

        Umm, no, they don't. I forget the statistic but it's something like 80% of users use only 20% of the features - they'd use the rest but they don't know they're there.

        I use Office 2007 daily and it's a revelation. Producing complex cross-suite documents is now much quicker and more intuitive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by obeythefist (719316)
        I've been using it since Beta and I'm pretty comfortable with it. It does work. Yes, there is a learning curve. It's a long one, but it's not steep.

        Is it better? I think it looks nicer. I don't have any serious problems with day to day stuff in excel or word.

        I work in a high profile enterprise scenario so I can't use openoffice.org (I use that at home, I like free software and it's a great, if underrated and undersold product).

        But I have to say this article made me think. You can't customise the ribbon
        • I think the thinking behind not being able to customize the ribbon was that it's pretty common in pre-2007 versions of Office for unsophisticated users to accidentally rip off a tool bar, resize it, shrink it, close it, whatever and then later they can't find it, and when you're on the phone with them you can't tell them where to click since their screen is completely different from the default screen. So, in order to protect the lame users, they stopped the power users from moving around the ribbon that mu
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        I hope that ClassicMenu works on Access, because I have a project to do for my database class...okay, after reading TFA I think I'm SOL. :( How am I ever going to figure out how to do the silly crap I'm supposed to do?
        --
        Procrastination -- because good things come to those who wait.


        Well don't you ever think about anything silly, such as spending a minute with the manual or looking around in the interface to get accustomed.

        Follow your signature: wait, and good things will come to you.

        I know, that in the first
      • by tknd (979052)

        Drop-down menus have been around so long because they work!

        So should the "insert row" function be in the "insert" menu or the "table" menu?

        Menus, in my opinion, never worked because inevitably the interface will be changed and a new function will be added. When the new function is added, a choice must be made on which menu it should appear and if a new menu is necessary. Eventually you end up with too many functions that were tacked on and a huge tree of functions burried in menus. That's what happen

      • by Myopic (18616)
        How am I ever going to figure out how to do the silly crap I'm supposed to do?

        You should just keep using whatever version of Word (or whatever the program) that you always have. It seems you consider the new version inferior. The obvious course of action is to keep using the same software. Don't pay for a downgrade, that would be silly.
    • by cmacb (547347) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:15PM (#18921655) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, why do people fear change so much?


      More and more people are not fearing change and are changing to things like Open Office and web-based word processing. I used to preach at people about the advantages of Linux and Open Source. Made very little headway, because people don't like change. Now they have a choice between changes forced on them by Microsoft, and an old interface (Open Office) that looks more like the old Office than the new Office does. Now I'm helping companies make the switch. Thank you Microsoft!

      Funny, if some other company had vended something that looked exactly like Vista and the new Office, MS would have put out a study describing the very high costs of user retraining. You can only mislead your customers so much with this sort of nonsense before you achieve total loss of credibility, at that point even when you tell them the truth they are not inclined to believe you. I think Microsoft has finally achieved this goal, although why they would have wanted to I can't say, maybe just some inside joke among marketing people. Clearly the company is not run by techies.
      • I used to try to sell people on GNU/Linux, Openoffice, Abiword, et al, but now I just wait. Every release by Microsoft is worse than the last. More annoying, more confusing, less compatible, and so on. People are starting to switch not necessarily because the alternatives like OSS or OS X are better, but because Microsoft is worse. MS is doing the evangelizing for us.
    • This does not stack up. On the one hand MS is trying to convert people to a sexier UI (change is good) while on the other hand they are FUDding people that they should not switch to Open Office etc, partially for retraining reasons (change is bad). People must be stupid.

      Fuck what the software design looks like. The actual function is far more important. One part of that function is consistency across versions.

      • FFS. No-one needs to be 're-trained' to use an Office suite, whether it's Word 2007, Openoffice, or any other. It's an office suite! You click on the page-like thing and type words. All the major, often-used icons look exactly the same (or at least have the same basic shape and are recognisable) in every office suite I can think of.

        Even when you get beyond the icons you still don't need any retraining unless you're a compete idiot. You want to view the ruler? Openoffice: press the view menu, click '
        • I wrote grandparent mainly to point out the inconsistencies in MS FUD. I use both OO and Office (older version) and find I can move between them pretty easily, so most of the retraining argument is FUD. A change to ribbons is a big change though.

          I must admit that I get pretty cranky when software UI gets changed for little more than eye candy reasons and I get even more cranky when the UI is trying to guess what I want and gets it wrong. To most people, myself included, software is a tool. I'm the master, n

          • by SEMW (967629)

            I get even more cranky when the UI is trying to guess what I want and gets it wrong [...] Many UI "innovations" (particularly context sensitive stuff like clippy and ribbons) make for an annoying experience rather than an easy flow. [...] Rather than change the main menu to be context sensitive, it would likely be far better to keep the main menu structure solid so you always have consistency

            But the main menu isn't context-sensitive. The Home, Insert, Page layout, References, Mailings, Review, and View tabs are permanent and unchanging, no matter what you're doing. The only thing I can think of that's context-sensitive is that when you've selected a table or something, a 'table' tab appears to let you change table-specific options if you want to, but you're free to click on it or not as you wish. Hardly "the UI trying to guess what you want".

            Now the 'intelligent menu' crap that came in i

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by antdude (79039)
      Seriously, why do people fear change so much? The new Office document format is much better than any previous formats in my opinion. It's better than the old formats. Sure, it takes a while to get used to but it is worth it. [grin] :P
      • Why is not wanting to learn a new convoluted Microsoft interface indicative of a "fear of change?" Perhaps they just have a fear of wasting their time when they have work to do.
    • People want to be productive. In a business environment, interfaces should remain as conservative as possible. Having steep learning curves that take weeks to get over mean a loss of productivity, which costs money for the whole organization.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Why not doing it right the first time ?
      For heaven's sake, it is just about writing documents and it is also 2007. Shouldn't most of the essential features be identified and standardized by now ?
    • So it has come down to eye and mouse candy?

      Does anyone ever use more than 5% of all the features in the Office Suite?
    • Seriously, why do people fear change so much? The new Office design is much better than any previous version, in my opinion. No more hunting around in nested menus trying to find features - everything is right there in plain sight.

      Because some of us actually use Office at work in very busy business environments, and my co-workers don't have time to learn how to "cope with change" or whatever because they're trying to get their damn work done. Instead fo hunting around nested menus, they're hunting around n

  • by rueger (210566) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:46PM (#18921437) Homepage
    Although I keep defaulting back to MS Office - Open Office just isn't quite enough and isn't quite interchangable enough with people using Office - I still hate the the damned thing. It's like software designed by Terry Gilliam. [imdb.com]

    I hate the way it formats stuff whether I want it or not. I hate that it automatically changes URLs and e-mail addresses into links, even though I'm creating print documents. I REALLY hate that copied text from elsewhere is pasted in with whatever format it had elsewhere, not with the format of the text on the page that I'm editing.

    And I hate that it is invariably difficult or impossible to turn this crap off.

    I sincerely fear every new release of MS Office specifically because I need to beat it into submission to make it behave as if I'm in charge.

    I don't even know what a "ribbon" is, but I'm sure that I'll hate that too.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just an FYI: When you paste something copied from another app, do a "paste special" and tell it to paste as unformatted text. That will insert it with the currently text style. That really bothered me for a while as well.
    • by thc69 (98798) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:09PM (#18921603) Homepage Journal
      You do know that you can turn off all the autoformat crap, right? That much is not impossible to turn off.

      IIRC, Word has a "paste as" or "paste special" option that will offer "unformatted text" as a possibility. OpenOffice does. Else, there's always notepad as a middleman...

      Oh and for sure, you will hate ribbons.
      • by Myopic (18616)
        I started working with MS software for the first time six months ago when I got a new job. Since then, I have been told dozens of times to use Notepad to work around various problems with various MS products.

        "Oh, Visual Studio doesn't have a Find feature in the text pane you are using? Why don't you just paste the text into Notepad then search with that?"

        "Uh... because there is no reason I should have to go to all that trouble to do a trivial search, that's why."

        "Oh, yeah, Word is screwing up your text past
    • by Arivia (783328)
      I'm not sure where turning off automatic URL changing is, but paste formatting is really where it's supposed to be in 2007:

      Office Button->Word Options->Advanced->Cut, copy and paste.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      I hate the way it formats stuff whether I want it or not. I hate that it automatically changes URLs and e-mail addresses into links, even though I'm creating print documents. I REALLY hate that copied text from elsewhere is pasted in with whatever format it had elsewhere, not with the format of the text on the page that I'm editing.

      Why do people gripe about features it takes And I hate that it is invariably difficult or impossible to turn this crap off.

      It's in Options. Turn off Autoformat. That's it. You're
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Slashdot seems to have swallowed about half my post there. This software sucks more than people whining about features they could turn off.
    • by SEMW (967629)

      I hate the way it formats stuff whether I want it or not. I hate that it automatically changes URLs and e-mail addresses into links, even though I'm creating print documents. I REALLY hate that copied text from elsewhere is pasted in with whatever format it had elsewhere, not with the format of the text on the page that I'm editing. And I hate that it is invariably difficult or impossible to turn this crap off.

      For hyperlinks: If it does it, click the tag next to the hyperlink and press "stop automatically creating hyperlinks", and it'll stop. Not difficult. For pasted text, click the tag next to the pasted text, and click "match destination formatting". Then click "set as default". Again, if you find that "difficult or impossible", MS did once create [wikipedia.org] an interface with you in mind...

    • by DavidD_CA (750156)
      Everything you mentioned can be turned off very easily. It's called AutoCorrect.

      Hit the Office button and choose Word Options. Go to Proofing and click "AutoCorrect Options". Then review the list and turn off whatever you hate. Note the tabs, as the AutoCorrect features are in various groups.

      I find it interesting how so many /. users are fond of customizing and plug-ins and lots and lots of options. How many of you have fine-tuned Firefox? Yet when it comes to MS Office, you act like everything is set
      • And cry "Retraining! Evil! Monopoly!" when anyone even dares to suggest so much as opening that mystical Tools > Options menu ...

        Bleh.

    • by bloosqr (33593)
      haha seriously the cut and paste thing is so wrong.. thats one thing apple has gotten right w/ their 'baby' apps. W/ iweb/keynote/pages .. there are two ways of pasting.. "paste" and "paste and match style" .. what i would give for word to have this feature. They have styles already so its almost there. All the other issues like the autoformating is dead on as well.. i believe there are ways of turning that stuff off but i've never figured out how..
      • there are two ways of pasting.. "paste" and "paste and match style" ..
        Word already has this. When you paste a little box appears and you can tell it to match destination formatting or paste plain text.
        • by bloosqr (33593)
          Is this word 07? It is not in my word which the mac word.. at least i am pretty sure it is not in my word..
    • LaTeX (Score:3, Informative)

      You might might want to look into LaTeX. There is a learning curve, but part of the reason I use it is because of the excessive "help" that word processors try to give me. Text editors are a bit less intrusive. Learning a markup language may seem daunting, but for basic paper writing it only takes a few hours of learning.

      I had to write 170 pages of notes for an online course and using LaTeX (which I had only been dabbling with for a month or so) was much easier than Word would ever have been. I wrote

  • To be honest... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aphrika (756248) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:54PM (#18921505)
    I'm pretty much cool with having the ribbons set as they are. There a a number of reasons:

    Firstly, I seemed to spend ages pulling the whole lot apart and making it just the way I wanted it. Then I'd change it. Then I'd change it again. By the time I'd got it right, I'd made it so different from the standard menus that if I used another PC, I couldn't remember where the heck I'd put anything.

    Secondly, this also goes for supporting users. How many times have you told people exactly where to find something in an OS, only to find they've moved it/deleted it/ lost it? Happens all the time with Office. People regularly seem to lose whole toolbars, or end up with a little grey stub.

    Thirdly, it's contextual. In older versions, none of the command were contextual at all. The rest of the OS is - right click, drag, etc. but toolbars weren't. Those years of sorting out the new ribbon seem to have pretty much got the whole lot in just the right place. For instance, I absolutely hate PowerPoint, but in 2007 putting a new presentation together was a breeze. It looked pretty good too.

    Just my twopenneth. I know a lot of people out there hate the idea of being told where their icons and menus are going, but to be honest, I just don't have a problem with it at all. It's all there, it all makes sense and it's progress as far as I'm concerned.
  • Personally, I'd just like an Office suite that does simple basic things without any fuss. Currently I use AbiWord for word processing as it does everything I need easily and with no fuss. Unfortunately, if I want to do anything like create a spreadsheet or a presentation, I have to wait ages for OpenOffice to load and then trawl the menus for the command I want (before I switched to Abi, after every piece of work I wrote, I'd spend a couple of minutes trying to remember how to add page numbers...). Any sug
    • by SEMW (967629)
      GNOME office for GNOME / KOffice for KDE / MS Works for Windows are the usual 'lightweight office suite' suggestions. Alternatively, if you're happy to use a web-based office suite (which not everyone is), Google Docs & Spreadsheets has been mentioned a few times on Slashdot, though I've never used it myself.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts (Score:3, Informative)

    by SEMW (967629) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:10PM (#18921615)

    Classic Menu gives you an Office-2003-like set of menus. It'll help you navigate old menu structures to find favorite commands, but don't expect to use all the familiar keyboard shortcuts
    Ummm, you can already [msdn.com] use all the old keyboard shortucts on Office 2007 (yes, including all the menu-based alt+x+y+z ones). They all work just as they did before. There's new ribbon-based ones as well, but all the old ones still work transparently.
    • by hazem (472289)
      In Excel, does Ctrl-A actually select ALL like it did in 2000? or just "some" like it does in 2003?
  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:14PM (#18921645) Journal
    Friend, have you lost sleep worrying about whether you'll fail adapt to the stupendous User Interface innovations in the latest Monkeysoft Office?

    How many times have you found yourself saying, "I could understand this global warming analysis model better if only I could see it on a Monkeysoft Powerpoint slide with those animated bullets that enter from the left or right of the slide"?

    How many times have you found yourself thinking, "I don't even know what an OS is, I only need Monkeysoft Windows to run Monkeysoft Office, otherwise I could be using A Bantu or OS Ecstacy or whatever that piercing-faced kid in IS&T is using these days"?

    How many times have you found yourself skipping a few StarCups coffees every week for a few months so you could buy yourself the latest version of Monkeysoft Office?

    How many times have you found yourself thinking, "I don't get upset about viruses, they are an inevitable part of life even if they cost billions and are propagated by dimwits using Monkeysoft Office, soytenly not me"?

    Don't worry, there's help. Join Slashdot's Monkeysoft Anonymous Forum [slashdot.org], where people just like you are helping one another learn to live without Monkeysoft, one precious day at a time.

  • Flash Guides (Score:3, Informative)

    by Malggi (791997) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:22PM (#18921701)
    Microsoft has setup interactive guides on their site that show you where commands are in 2007. You can find them half way down this page [microsoft.com]. The guides should help you get the ball rolling.
    • The link you provide points to a website that want to run a script to see if I have MS Office 2007 installed before it would show me anything.

      No thanks.
  • by nobodyman (90587) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:53PM (#18921957) Homepage
    ...so we may continhe to complain about it incessantly.
  • by Darundal (891860) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @07:03PM (#18922033) Journal
    All this thread is is one giant continual flame war. You have people on one side arguing that the new UI is better than before, and offering "reasons" why. You have people who argue that the old UI worked better before. Thing is, nobody is going to actually change anybodies mind. Those who like the old UI will find reasons why it is better, and those who like the new UI will find reasons why it is better. I know Slashdot is about the discussion, but this is nothing more than a blatant attempt set off a flame war. People like me read Slashdot because we look for insightful and interesting opinions and the occasional obscure but highly relevant fact on current tech and related topics. Mod me down, I don't care, I have Karma to burn. Doesn't make the thread suddenly more intelligent or important or insightful or anything other than garbage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The system which you've described is called the ping-pong style of debate. It only gets worse when people begin drawing analogies or using metaphors, and then arguing those metaphors and analogies in the same ping-pong style by drawing more analogies and using new metaphors.

      The ping-pong debate is not actually useful in resolving a topic. When one side _is_ actually trying to resolve the topic, and the other side is using the ping-pong debate style, then it's called a flamewar. Typically I see the people
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kahei (466208)

      I found the thread quite useful.

      The people defending the new ribbons came up with a lot of good points about things the ribbons make easier -- that's quite interesting. The people attacking ribbons gave me an insight into the instinct to resist change -- that's less interesting because I see it all the time elsewhere but it's an important aspect of UI design and always worth considering.

  • by AlgorithMan (937244) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @07:47PM (#18922311) Homepage

    Show Office 2007 Who's the Boss
    If you're using MS Office, then MS is the Boss and you are being vendor-locked-in
  • With the ODF puggin you can also show microsoft who's boss. Especially when used with earlier versions of MS-Office.

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