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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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:00PM (#18921543)
    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 @05:09PM (#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.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts (Score:3, Informative)

    by SEMW (967629) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:10PM (#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.
  • Flash Guides (Score:3, Informative)

    by Malggi (791997) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:22PM (#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.
  • by SEMW (967629) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:59PM (#18922001)

    Ask anyone who has worked in an office environment (not geeks) and they'll tell you that most people use very basic functions like bold/font/size, bullets, formatting and mail merge.
    Looking at the only concrete examples you actually include in your post: bold, font/size, bullets, and all the rest of the formatting options are in exactly the same place as they always were, and all the old keyboard shortcuts to them still work. The only one out of your list that's changed is Mail merge, which is now in "mailings" rather than the old, generic "tools" -- much, much more obvious than before. And the old keyboard accelerator for it still works.
  • by Darundal (891860) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:03PM (#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.
  • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:18PM (#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++
  • by Dan100 (1003855) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:41PM (#18922277) Homepage
    "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.

  • by Daltorak (122403) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @07:10PM (#18922435)
    I'm calling bullshit on your post. Let's dig in.

    As a Word user since 1986, who knows the program pretty well , I must agree that the ribbon is a jumbled mess with important stuff deeply hidden. It was a big disappointment. It took me quite a while to find even the undo command.
    The Undo command is directly beside the Save command, on the tool bar. It's always visible. The icons look exactly the same as in Word 2003. The only difference is that, unlike Word 2003 where by default it was buried in a mess of unrelated icons and commands (between paste and insert hyperlink, below the Window menu, above the Bold/Italic/Underline icons), it's given more prominence.

    Oh, and if you've been using Word since 1986, you should know by now that Undo is Ctrl-Z, just like it is in every other Windows, Linux, and Mac application (s/Ctrl/Command/). You shouldn't ever have to use a mouse to undo or redo something.

    Next!

    Inserting a footnote now requires a whole series of mouse clicks as far as I can tell.
    Press Alt+S, F, and start typing your footnote. It's two mouse extremely obvious clicks (References, Insert Footnote) if you really need to go to your mouse to do it.

    Next!

    Go try something relatively obscure like turning on line numbering in a document and changing the style of the line numbers.
    It's a lot easier to do line numbering in 2007 than it is in 2003. In 2003, you had to go digging into the File menu -> Page Setup -> Layout tab -> click Line Numbers -> and click the Add Line Numbering checkbox. In Word 2007, you click the Page Layout tab, click Line Numbers, and choose from the drop-down list that appears how you want the line numbers to work. Easy peasy.

    As for changing the style of line numbers, it's basically the same in Word 2003 and 2007: Set it up using the style palette. In both versions, by default, the "Line Number" style won't be shown in the palette until you are using line numbers. If you're planning on changing styles, you really ought to know how to use the style palette.

    Next!

    Damned, though, if I can see any really new major features that make it worthwhile.
    Here's a partial list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office_2007 #Microsoft_Office_Word [wikipedia.org]

    One of the less obvious new features that's actually a really huge improvement, is the "Building Blocks" system. You can create and re-use "things"; for example, you can create a specific format, layout, and text content for a presentation of your company's mission statement, or maybe it's just a set of paragraphs you use over and over between a lot of documents. You can get a sense of how this works by going to the Insert menu and playing around with the Text Box and Quick Parts features.

    I write user interface design documents as part of my professional work, and this one feature alone has saved me hours of time, and my documents look better to boot. Word 2007 has already paid for itself several times over.

  • by dilute (74234) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @07:39PM (#18922611)
    Insert-Footer-Blank is NOT a "footnote". It is a footer.

    As for line numbers - It's still easy to insert line numbers. However, What I WROTE was try changing the STYLE (e.g., font) of the line numbers - try it, it ain't that easy.

    Alt-E-U doesn't work reliably either. Yes, there are new icons for undo and redo next to the Office button, if you notice them and realize what they are. There are an AWFUL lot of icons up there.

  • by ESqVIP (782999) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:39PM (#18922977)

    Inserting a footnote now requires a whole series of mouse clicks as far as I can tell.

    References->Insert Footnote (the big icon in the second group)?

    As for line numbers - It's still easy to insert line numbers. However, What I WROTE was try changing the STYLE (e.g., font) of the line numbers - try it, it ain't that easy.

    I didn't even know line numbering was possible -- I've never used that before, nor felt a need for that feature. So, first I had to guess how I could enable them, and my first guess -- the Page Layout tab -- was fine.

    Then I saw what you meant: there's no easy way to work on those numbers. But due to my knowledge of styles, I guessed there would be a style named "Line Number" -- and, again, I guessed it right. Maybe I was just lucky to find it in a few seconds; I guess an unexperienced user would never really find it -- but then again, I don't expect an unexperienced user (the kind that doesn't understand indenting, tabulations, margins, styles, etc.) to use automatic line numbers either.

    But the way you say it, it seems on older versions it was easier. How would you change the style of line numbers on earlier versions?

    Alt-E-U doesn't work reliably either.

    YMMV, naturally, but I have no idea what you are talking about... it seems to me it works fine. But I never use that shortcut, nor do I know anyone who uses it when there's Ctrl-Z, so I can't really say.

    Yes, there are new icons for undo and redo next to the Office button, if you notice them and realize what they are. There are an AWFUL lot of icons up there.

    Huh? There's just three icons there by default: save, undo and redo/repeat [wikipedia.org]. Any other icon has been placed by you (or by somebody else).

  • by doktor-hladnjak (650513) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @10:03PM (#18923505)
    A fairly detailed explanation of the customization decisions made in Office 2007 can be found in this entry on Jensen Harris' blog [msdn.com].
  • by cpotoso (606303) on Monday April 30, 2007 @12:18AM (#18924191) Journal
    Are you out of your mind? There is a widespread "standard": control-A means select ALL (that's what the A stands for). You change it in your software, you are in fault.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2007 @12:31AM (#18924245)
    You don't have to use a mouse to pull-down a menu.
    Alt-F, Alt-O, etc work just fine.

    Alt-I, B, N, Enter

    Plus there is a difference between favouring keyboard use and never using the mouse. I don't throw the mouse out.
  • LaTeX (Score:3, Informative)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Monday April 30, 2007 @12:59AM (#18924363)
    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 the whole thing as an outline, and I can only imagine how crazy 170 pages of nested numbered lists would have driven me in MS Word or Openoffice. But \begin{enumerate}...\item{stuff}...\item{stuff}... \end{enumerate} is easy to keep track of visually, especially if you properly indent.

    But if you're one of those people whose ground premise is "I will not learn a markup language" then continue enjoying the "help" that the GUI word processors give you. Some things are easier with a word processor (tables, for example) but for any complex or long document I'd prefer to use LaTeX.

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