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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.
  • 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.
  • by Bruitist (987735) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:04PM (#18921567) Homepage
    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 suggestions?
  • by thc69 (98798) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:05PM (#18921575) Homepage Journal

    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 looking at stuff, I'd click on the "view" menu and my command would be right there, spelled out in english text. What hunting around? It never took me more than two clicks to find the command I wanted. Now it takes me anywhere from ten seconds to ten minutes, after which I give up and find somebody that's got an older version.

    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?
  • by romland (192158) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:08PM (#18921595)
    Let's say what you're saying is true, then I don't find it all that strange. And neither should you since you answered the question yourself: They don't want the hassle of dealing with stupid customers.

    Thing is, a third party company can *sell* the extension, Microsoft wouldn't be able to. It would bring heaps of bad publicity (imagine the fun we'd have here at /.), so they'd give it away for free... and in return get what? More complicated support.

    Now, like any good company that is in it for the money, they can brush you off with a simple "Oh, that is not our fault, call *them* about that".

  • by Poorcku (831174) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:15PM (#18921661) Homepage
    this was the first Office UI change in how many years?
  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:20PM (#18921691)
    You think Microsoft's bad? Try using OS X sometime.
  • by ditoa (952847) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:41PM (#18921851)
    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 sean_ex_machina (1026748) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:41PM (#18921855)
    For most people, going from Office 2003 to OpenOffice is worse than going from Office 2003 to Office 2007. OpenOffice looks just like (an uglier version of) Office but all of the menus and dialogs are just different enough that you waste a lot of time expecting things to behave like they do in Office even though they don't. Yuck.
  • 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.

  • by nobodyman (90587) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:53PM (#18921957) Homepage
    ...so we may continhe to complain about it incessantly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2007 @07:27PM (#18922189)
    While the "relearning" comment is a bit of hyperbole it is mostly correct.

    I have nearly 15 years invested in the old interface. I read the "Working With Word 4 for Mac" book cover to cover when I got my first Mac in '94. I now use Word 2003. I KNOW the Word interface, and I am damn good at it.

    And then MSFT decides to take all that knowledge and throw it out the window for me. Yeah, I can do the same stuff, but now I have to figure out how to do the same stuff. Sections, Styles, bookmarks, merged documents, field codes ... fucking field codes, all a huge investment in learning how to do correctly. They are all still there, somewhere somewhere in the ribbon interface.

    If you hit the spacebar 20-30 times to get a line indented properly (which is admittedly most people) the ribbon is great for you. If you know how to use a tab-stop, it is a fucking mess.

    Fine, you want the ribbon make it the default. But leave me the ability to work efficiently like I used to. Removing my ability to see the menubar (even it was a RegEdit) is just plain rude. This is just as bad a when we had to switch from WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS to Word[Im]perfect for Windows.

    The above also pertains to Excel, et al. But Word is where I spend me time.

    Now as for Word changing every version, mostly is stays the same, but the one place it does change EVERY TIME is the menu mnemonics. Every version of Word has a different key mnemonic (that character that is underlined in the menu). And sometimes MSFT likes to change around the CNTRL-? codes too. For those of use that like to keep our hands on the keyboard (efficient [although not always accurate] typists) running to the mouse is a pain.
  • by obeythefist (719316) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:13PM (#18922457) Journal
    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 ribbons!! You just get to customise the quick-links bar. There's a design flaw right there. Ok, so, Microsoft, it's not really a flaw, it's a design decision, but that ribbon should be user customisable. At least the product supports add-ons. Maybe Microsoft is hoping to make Office popular by means of community add-ons, like some elements of the game industry?

    It won't stop me using the product (I like having a job, what can I say), but it is definately a shortcoming. Software, as a tool, must be customisable. The open source guys get it. Why can't Microsoft? You don't have to make the customisation tools obvious so as not to confuse the lowest common denominator, but at least make them available.

    I wouldn't be surprised if customisation functionality is put back in after the first service pack/release.
  • by nschubach (922175) on Monday April 30, 2007 @08:54AM (#18926481) Journal
    There are those of us that still like the "Classic Menu" in Windows. (The one from 95-2000) I can categorize my programs in any way I want, it takes up little to no space, and it pops up while using little to no computer resources. I don't have to deal with "Most Common Functionality" moving my icons around on me and I can find and select most applications blindfolded if I had to. I can also turn off Help, Documents, and Search and use small icons to create a nice simple no-nonsense menu.

    Familiarity.

    It's a good thing. Why does the interface of the computer have to have flowers and fancy borders to be considered user friendly?

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