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Microsoft Software

Microsoft Office 12 Beta 1 Is Out 416

lastberserker writes "The first official beta of the next MS Office is out. PC Magazine already has review with screenshots. Check these blogs for more details on new UI, new file format, and the killer app; plus much more in your friendly neighborhood Wikipedia." From the PC Mag review: "Instead of the cluttered, hard-to-navigate interface that sprouted up haphazardly over the past 20 years, Office 12 introduces a new interface based on tabs that organize sets of functions under headings such as 'Write,' 'Page Layout,' and 'Review,' plus a combination toolbar-and-menu called the ribbon, which displays a different set of icons and menu items depending on the tab selected, and displays different sets of icons depending on whether you're working with text, graphics, tables, or other kinds of data."
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Microsoft Office 12 Beta 1 Is Out

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  • by doctorcisco ( 815096 ) <doctorcisco@y a h o o . c om> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:14PM (#14053744)
    FTFA: "Word and Excel still perform automated changes that you may not want or expect, and you still have to learn their sometimes-obscure inner logic before you can master them." It still thinks it can create my document better than I can. No thanks. doc
  • Clip.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wpiman ( 739077 )
    Does the paperclip live on?

    I have not found many useful thing added to MS office since Office 95. I highly doubt this will be any different.

  • by suezz ( 804747 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:17PM (#14053780)
    go with open office

    it is cross platform and standards compliant.

    the training issue looks like it will get thrown out because you will have to send joe/jane user to training. so might as well send them to open office training and get out of the upgrade cycle.

    • OpenOffice still has its issues. I use it exclusively ( MS Office is not installed on my computer ), and I have noticed that a few of the niceties of MS office are missing.

      Although, both OpenOffice and Microsoft have gotten the same thing right in their office suites - it should be a colossal pain in the ass to edit equations and insert them into a document.
    • Excel 2006 has finally broken through the limit of 2^16 rows / 2^8 cols per spreadsheet. Now there's 2^20 rows and 2^14 columns. Why can't OpenOffice have as many as I want? It wasn't until OO2 that they even caught up to Excel 97's 2^16 limit.

      Before I hear the Open Source "who needs that many rows," I'll answer, "why cripple a product based on what you think users will want?" I deal with situations where a 100K+row spreadsheet is demanded daily.
      • Because there are design decisions to be made when using software, especially with spreadsheet applications like Excel, and a limit on the number of rows (which you'd determine by guesstimating users needs) can drastically improve the performance, resource utilization, and ease of developing the software. Generally speaking, exactly the same reasons why every other spreadsheet application out there has a limit on the number of rows. It's not "crippling" the application, it's accepting reasonable limits in o
  • Torrent? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Splintax ( 828933 )
    Someone want to post a torrent? ;-)
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:18PM (#14053790)
    The new interface has nothing to do with being better. They have a competitor which looks just like it... Coincidence huh? Bollocks it is. The new interface is to break that link. Car manufacturers do exactly the same.

     
    • Actually the interface is the most important feature in such an app. It's what most people see when they run it for the first time. (First impressions are the most lasting ones) To be honest it's the only thing most people see at all. Do most users see the XML file format? Do they see the inside (hidden) improvments? No, they see the GUI.
      • And this is the first change in the UI for 20 years because....

        A: OpenOffice looks and acts just like MS Office...
        B: They just felt like it?

         
        • or because...

          C: The old interface is complicated
          D: They ran out of actual features to add
          E: The code base is too hacked so non-cosmetic changes are too difficult
          F: ...
          G: profit!

          Seriously their old interface has dozens of toolbars with rows and rows of icons, some of which come and go as you click on things. *If* you spent hours customizing it you could get something minimal and/or usable *for you*. It was complicated and ugly.

          The new interface has all the actions for a particular user-centric task. Yes,
        • C: They secretly bought out the company that sells "Office for Dummies", because those guys are gonna be freaking loaded after this. I mean, I can't get my mom to switch from OS 9 to OS X because OS X "looks different" (I have both on the "family" computer back home). And OS X.2 is actually better than OS 9. I get the impression from here that she is only slightly below average in the computer use dept. compared to some bosses...
    • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:42PM (#14054053)
      The new interface has nothing to do with being better. They have a competitor which looks just like it... Coincidence huh? Bollocks it is. The new interface is to break that link. Car manufacturers do exactly the same.

      Thats like saying Ferrari changed the design of their cars because a knock-off shop started selling customized '86 Fieros with a body kit that looked like them.

      Its utterly rediculous. The people who work for Microsoft aren't evil monsters -- they're engineers and designers doing their best to do their job. Their UI people know what they're doing. I'd hazard a guess they've got more UI designers than a project like OO has developers. The fact that someone has knocked off their UI doesn't mean squat to them. OO is no threat in their core business -- no company that represents a real market for MS is going to give up Office for OO. OO doesn't integrate with anything, doesn't have Outlook, doesn't have Visio, can't be managed, deployed and upgrade from a central location. Its maybe taking away from the number of people who would've stolen copies of Office.

      Yeah I'm sure they're petrified about that.

      • Name one task that MSOffice can do that no other software can do. I doubt you can.
      • Yeah, of course nobody would ever switch away from Office. Except, you know, like Massachusetts. Or... Europe. Because of course integration that prevents you from ever moving off it is a selling point to everyone, and a product that isn't even bundled with Office is why nobody will ever move off of it, and everyone uses the Outlook/Office integration, because "Send this via email" isn't available in any other platform.

        The people who work for Microsoft aren't evil monsters -- they're engineers and designe

        • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:12PM (#14054403)
          Have you been to Microsoft? Do you have friends who work there? Do you know anything about the company that you don't read on Slashdot?

          40,000+ engineers. And yet you seem to think they've got more executives than engineers.

          If you haven't walked through the building the Office team works in, or know people who work on those teams, I'm not sure your opinion is really worth anything in regards to the number of UI people they have versus OO developers.

          If you haven't had conversations with executives there, and talked about their processes of determining what gets implemented and what doesn't, I'm not so sure your opinion on what the motivation of any of their teams is, either.

          Now, spouting off about things one knows nothing about is certainly the Slashdot way, and making up bullshit that fits what the fanbois on here want to see is certainly a way to build up Karma, but go do it in someone else's thread. In this case you decided to reply to someone who has first hand knowledge of how things work there.

      • The people who work for Microsoft aren't evil monsters -- they're engineers and designers doing their best to do their job. Their UI people know what they're doing.

        The truth is somewhere in between. Of course, MS developers want to deliver a good UI. But, of course, they are also pursuing specific business goals, like keeping competitors from entering the market.

        OO is no threat in their core business -- no company that represents a real market for MS is going to give up Office for OO.

        Well, obviously, Micr
      • No Visio? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) *
        I am doing a diagram right now in OO "Draw" - not quite the same as Visio in terms of features but then it's not trying to outguess me either at every turn. Frankly I far prefer Draw to Visio for most diagramming work.

        I'm not quite sure what you mean by "No integration" either, since OO can read/write MS documents and also integrates quite nicley within the OO suite of products.

        And Microsoft having more UI designers than OO does developers? I'd sweep that fact under the rug given what they've produced thu
    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:44PM (#14054080) Homepage Journal
      Has Microsoft learned nothing over the last 20 years? For productivity, people need a consistent interface, and not one that changes depending on what you did last, or other factors.
      "Personalised menus" as introduced with Windows Me and Office 2000 is a FLOP, as it causes people to suddenly not find things in the places there were the last time. Admins routinely disable this functionality in corporate installs, due to all the extra grief and confusion they cause. And now Microsoft wants to take this one step further, and change menus and buttons based on what "tab" you are on too?

      Bad design decision, Microsoft. Very bad. This is like if your keyboard would rearrange itself depending on what you're typing, and which keys you use the most. The idea might sound good. To someone wearing a tie, that is.

      Regards,
      --
      *Art
    • Whenever i hear whining about *NIX desktops apps not having a consistent interface, i point people to Office and Messenger.

          I agree though, this seems to be change for the sake of change. I don't really see how that UI can be much easier for an user to, well, use, but it surely looks a lot better. Even if it completely destroys all Windows UI conventions so far.
  • Its about time Microsoft did something with the Office UI. I think this is the first "innovation" from them since they went to 32bit code for office. Who did they steal it from?
  • Uh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:19PM (#14053801)
    Aren't ALL their releases beta until Service Pack 2?
  • wait... wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iocat ( 572367 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:19PM (#14053804) Homepage Journal
    I just spent the last 10 years, since I was forced to switch from WriteNow, learning to make fair looking documents in that horrible piece of shit that is WORD*. Now I have to learn an entirely new twisted form of "simplified" WORD to get things to look right? Kill me, please. And from the screens, it appears MS has gone even further down the road of giant, screen-space-wasting icons...

    One thing I will give MS credit for, is the ability to make their GUIs look like their old GUIs (so my XP machine looks a lot like Windows 98 to the casual observer). Maybe there is a "look like that crappy old version of Word that you're used to" option. That would be ok.

    * Please don't suggest I switch programs and use something like Quark, InDesign, or a free and better WP program. I am forced by the tyranny of standards to use Word.

    • Now I have to learn an entirely new twisted form of "simplified" WORD to get things to look right?

      You don't have to do jack. You can still use Office 95 if you want. Unless maybe Al Qaida has you tied up with a gun to your head forcing you to buy every software release from Microsoft.
    • From the article:

      "The traditional Office top-line menu, with its drop-down File, Edit, View, and other items, is gone forever and not even available as an option."

      So it sounds like you can't just turn off the eye candy. I'm sorry, But I would rather take a series of menus than a bunch of CRAP cluttering up my screen any day of the week. I even have a 20+" display and wouldn't want that junk. I couldn't imagine trying to use that on a laptop.
    • >And from the screens, it appears MS has gone even further down the road of giant, screen-space-wasting icons...

      yep. I'm looking at the Contoso Journal screenshot. the actual page doesn't start until half way down the screen. after the space used for headers and titles, only THREE lines of actual text are visible.

      I imagine this is the exception rather than the rule, but looking at it I'm still confused as to why it needs to be like this.
  • by utills ( 918546 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:19PM (#14053808) Homepage
    This is one of the first things that Microsoft has done to innovate the UI since the original wysiwyg style interface. This type of interface is known as a wygiwys (What you get is what you see) the reverse of what you see is what you get. Basically the stuff you write gets morphed into the options you choose giving you a better feel for the end result check this link out http://www.useit.com/alertbox/wysiwyg.html [useit.com] Sounds good.
    • Hogwash. What's the difference? They've put in some sort of auto-preview with their themes? "WYGIWYS" doesn't make any sense, and reeks of marketing-speak.
    • This is one of the first things that Microsoft has done to innovate the UI since the original wysiwyg style interface. This type of interface is known as a wygiwys (What you get is what you see) the reverse of what you see is what you get. Basically the stuff you write gets morphed into the options you choose giving you a better feel for the end result check this link out http://www.useit.com/alertbox/wysiwyg.html [useit.com] Sounds good.

      It may sound good, but any interface that isn't consistent is a bad interface.

  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:20PM (#14053811)
    Let this be a lesson to the openOffice people. Many people, including myself, have said time and again that openOffice should not be copying Microsoft Office, but instead try to be original and just be a great office suite. By copying MS Office, you are just letting Microsoft define the rules of the game, and you'll always be playing catch-up.

    Now office 12 is out, and they've completely redesigned the interface. openOffice have three options:

    1) Keep their current interface, and risk looking very outdated in a few years.
    2) Put masses of effort and wasted time into copying the new interface, and let MS keep defining the rules of the game.
    3) Start to be original and concentrate on making a great and original product.

    All the above applies to file formats as well. So much of the effort but into being compatible with MS's horrible formats could have been better spent elsewhere.

    Firefox did not become a great browser by copying IE, it did so by being a well designed product and adding original, easy-to-use features.
    • You forgot option 4 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:27PM (#14053892) Homepage

      4) Keep their current interface, and attract all the previous Office users who cannot stand the new interface with all this "ribbon" baloney.

      The ribbon is a huge mistake that flies in the face of almost every UI design principle. The fact that all the menus change depending on both the tab you are currently on *and* the document you are writing, means that all gains you get from your motor memory is lost, you will have to *constantly* be reading the menu and taking double takes to make sure you are doing what you think you are doing.

      I think one of three things will happen:

      1. Users will spurn Offce 12 and not upgrade, keeping their current version
      2. Users will spurn Office 12 and switch to alternatives
      3. Users will take it up the ass as usual.

      Despite the history of option 3, I think the fact that this UI is such a piece of crap that we may have a real chance at 1 or 2 this time.

      • Yes, application modes are a big no-no.

        Now Word is just like vi.

        *returns to editting in Emacs...*
      • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:06PM (#14054324) Journal
        Meh. I think the Ribbon functionality, which is merely a 2005 version of the text help menus in Wordstar et al from the 80's, will actually remove a lot of the frustration of using Office for the casual user such as me.

        The point in its favour are:

        - no more crappy small icons on THIRTY possible toolbars
        - all commands are available in the ribbon
        - the ribbon scales to lower and higher resolutions
        - irrelevant crap is hidden until you active something that makes it relevant

        It's probably the best item of UI engineering to come out of Microsoft ever, fixing the Office toolbar nightmare.

        Is it ideal? Who knows. Maybe there is a better UI for providing access to a thousand possible commands within an application in a point-and-click manner, but nobody has bothered to implement it yet.
      • I haven't done enough reading on the Ribbon concept... I did skim over the blog discussing it a little. Would you say it was at all similar to the changing menu at the top of the primary display screen in MacOS? It changes based on the application that is active in the foreground. It's annoying and a bit confusing at times... at least to me. If those annoying similarities exist on "the ribbon" then I'm pretty sure I'll hate that too. Good thing I have no intention of deploying this on my network any ti
      • If the interface is really as adaptive as you say then I think it will be a disaster. After looking through the screen shots though, my impression is that it's not that different from Office 2003. If you're used to the MS Office way of thinking then you'll probably be able to adapt to this UI pretty quickly. After all, the current Office UI reorders and hides commands on the toolbar all the time. Most people don't even know that it happens. (In contrast to the predictive menus which were roundly reject
    • Have the user choose at the first start up of OpenOffice.org
      -Office 2000/2003 style (default)
      -Office 2006 ribbon style

      There are enough different layouts out there.
      OOo should not create a third!
      Besides OOo already is different but in a good way like putting the Page settings in the Format menu intead of the File menu.
    • Now office 12 is out, and they've completely redesigned the interface. openOffice have three options:

      You forgot a fourth option. I'm sure there are others as well, but this is an important one:

      Make OpenOffice.org look and work exactly like previous editions of Microsoft Office.

      Why? To ensure that switching to OpenOffice.org requires far less retraining than migrating to Office 12.

      In 2005, Microsoft *owns* the Office suite space, and rules with iron fists commonly known as ".doc" and ".xls". Peop

  • UI change (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Elrac ( 314784 ) <carl&smotricz,com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:20PM (#14053816) Homepage Journal
    From the sound of it, this shiny new UI adds some long-awaited convenience for users.

    On the other hand, it also means that OO.org, which has been playing catch-up on the GUI front, will want to go back to the drawing board yet again.

    Also, users will once again need to learn new gestures and procedures. Some people, such as my girlfriend (oops - what am I doing on /. ?) have been annoyed for many years at all the subtle but irritating changes from version to version of Word & Co. Yes, there are compatibility switches, but they only lighten the pain, they don't relieve it completely.
  • Nice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:21PM (#14053824)
    I'm not certain whether these interface changes will be for the better or not, but it is nice to see Microsoft trying to use design improvements and (dare I use the "i" word?) innovation to sell their new Office suite, rather than simply breaking their document formats yet again, which forces everybody to update in order to keep up with any customer who might have recently bought a new computer.

    Not that I care much. I like Excel for my spreadsheets, but for everything else I prefer other tools. It would take an awful lot to get be to switch back to Word, Access, PowerPoint or Outlook at this point.
  • This is great to have every 20 years a new, fresh, cluttered, hard-to-navigate interface.

    DISCLAIMER: I haven't tested it so I don't know if it is new and fresh.
  • This is disgusting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by denverradiosucks ( 653647 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:22PM (#14053831) Homepage
    [QUOTE]
    New File Format - This as you know is the area that is most near and dear to my heart. We are finally fully opening up our file formats in Office. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel will all three use new XML formats as their default formats. These formats will be fully documented and anyone can leverage them to build solutions, or even to build a competitive application. If you're interested in this topic, just keep reading my blog (and look through all my previous entries.
    [/QUOTE]

    This infuriates me. They act as if they were the ones who came up with the idea of a new open format for office applications, and then talk about how near and dear to their heart it is. This sounds more like a hallmark commercial than a msdn blog
    • This infuriates me. They act as if they were the ones who came up with the idea of a new open format for office applications, and then talk about how near and dear to their heart it is. This sounds more like a hallmark commercial than a msdn blog

      Don't forget that the Vikings found America first, and Leibniz beat Newton independently to some principles of calculus (note, I said some, not all). It isn't about who invents something, it's about who markets it.
    • To expand a little. This comment is from the guy who works on their XML formats, Brian Jones.

      In typical brainwashed-Microsoftie-who-couldn't-think-his-wa y -out-of-asandwich-bag fashion, he parrots The Company line and acts as if they're doing us all a favor.

      Why now? Why "finally"? Microsoft has been taking full advantage of open standards from day #1 (be it TCP/IP or DNS or HTTP or HTML or ... ). Why not give something back to the community by adopting open standards earlier? Why not support the OpenDoc

  • Change is.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BagOBones ( 574735 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:22PM (#14053832)
    Really it looks like they have attempted to improve the interface, bringing common tasks that where hidden several menus down to the top.

    On the other hand the interface looks so alien to the old one I can see this being a support nightmare for large companies where some users have not mastered using the left mouse button yet, let alone understand anything other than picking the menus they where shown long ago and repeating..
  • Training costs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@ g m a i l.com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:24PM (#14053853) Homepage Journal
    What are the training costs and migrations costs with this new Office suite? If you just are about to spend some retraining costs you might as well spend it on a free alternative with no vendor lockin, especially since youre changing document format. Why lock oneself in again.

    Most of my users know Office by their picture memory, they never read what the toolbars say. The change for Office 12 will be bigger than the change to OpenOffice. I suspect thats the case for most users. Its going to be fun watching Microsoft talk about costs for switching to OpenOffice and at the same time tout the virtue of migrating to Office 12, without mentioning the very same costs.

  • yeah, the functionality of that is blindingly obvious !

    Can anyone tell me ?

  • Groove (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:28PM (#14053902)
    I have used Groove [groove.net] which is part of Office
    12 & I really love it.

    Groove is a document sharing system. Microsoft acquired Groove in April 2005.
  • by TheKubrix ( 585297 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:29PM (#14053914) Homepage
    But I'm still using Office 2000 and still havn't seen a single reason to upgrade. And as an IT manager I've kept our office running Office 2K and I've yet to see a single reason to continually update.

    I'm not saying O2K is perfect, but to justify any cost to upgrade has to be significant, and I'm just not seeing it.....
    • Last corporation I worked for used Office97 and it was just fine. Some oddities opening newer Office formats but far fewer problems with all of the new "features" added to later Office versions. The few documents I did have problems with were handled well by OpenOffice.org
    • Gotta agree with this. I work in a very small office and we recently upgraded our machines for the first time in 5 years (really nice healthcare deal from Dell). When I was specing the new machines, one of my cow-orkers who really likes shiny/new things really wanted us to upgrade to Office 2003 (I could never get an exact reason why we should other than "Well, it's newer. Don't we need it?"). That idea was shelved only when I showed the boss that adding Office 2003 nearly doubled the cost of the machines.
  • As a seldom user of Word Processors (both Word and OpenOffice) I have to say that I hate how much digging I have to do to find things on the menus. Where do I look to add footnotes? where do I change the Footers? How do I turn this into columns again? At least if there was some sense to where these tools were buried, I might be able to find them. The changes to the Word menus is enough to make me consider using MS-Office again. (for the 1 document a month that I produce).
  • I've found that most programs after a point, go downhill from version to version:
    • Filemaker used to be small and fast, about four versions ago.
    • Borland Delphi went from 5 second startup in version 6, to about 2 minute startup, *and* it lost the ability to generate Win32 code.
    • Photoimpact went from fast and simple to slow and complex in the last version.
    • I assume the "new" word interface isnt mandatory, if it is the training costs are going to be in the billions.
    • Even the old Word interface was mighty clums
  • This is suicide... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by network23 ( 802733 ) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:32PM (#14053947) Journal

    First - I love Microsoft Office. I have been a Microsoft Office lover since Excel was released on Mac. I also love Open Source [n3p.se], but still prefer my Microsoft Office 2004 for MacOS X.

    Secondly - Office 12 is suicide. Ordinary users hate GUI changes. It doesn't matter if the new GUI is good or not. There are probably tens of thousands of users here on Slashdot that agree on the problem of persuading people to make even a small jump from Windows 2000 to XP - or even worse the impossible switch to Linux or Mac.

    Microsoft fumbling with Vista and Office 12 is to become the worst business miscalculation ever made, and our grandchildren will read about it in Economics 101.

    • Secondly - Office 12 is suicide. Ordinary users hate GUI changes. It doesn't
      matter if the new GUI is good or not. There are probably tens of thousands of
      users here on Slashdot that agree on the problem of persuading people to make
      even a small jump from Windows 2000 to XP - or even worse the impossible
      switch to Linux or Mac.


      I agree.. Microsoft still hasn't recovered from the Win 3.x to Win95 GUI
      change. Boy, what a terrible decision that was!

      The GUI change will not be suicide for MS. Will people
    • Except for the fact that Microsoft is counting on two things: 1) Point-haired Boss factor - They don't know what it is, but since it's from Microsoft, it must be good and 2) The Sheep factor - Most user's don't know any better, and will upgrade because it's "new".

      The real shame is most IT departments, that have to implement and maintain this software, don't usually get to be a part of the decision-making process.
  • by Thornkin ( 93548 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:34PM (#14053973) Homepage
    ...If the new interface catches on. The reviews of it sound positive so far but it remains to be seen if average users will accept it or not. I was speaking to a friend who works in a large corp. They spend a lot of time training non-techies to use Office (and other apps) and a wholesale change in the UI is going to be difficult to roll out. It will require retraining everyone. If the new UI is indeed more intuitive, perhaps that isn't as big an issue but it is still going to require a lot of training. ...What this does to competitors like OpenOffice. Right now they are chasing the tail lights of office. They look and act a lot like it. If Office changes radically as it appears to, that seems to move the goalposts. It will be interesting to see how they respond. Do they clone this new interface paradigm or do they continue with the old, cluttered one?
  • by vijayiyer ( 728590 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:38PM (#14054008)
    I know most people don't care, but Word still can't properly typeset a document. Type an "fi", and you'll see what I mean (they should change into a single glyph). Even OS X's TextEdit (similar to Notepad on windows) does it. Hyphenation in Word is totally jacked. Just try to full justify a document - all the spacing is incorrrect because it doesn't properly hyphenate words. Maybe I'm all wrong, and they'll have fixed this in Office 12. I guess I shouldn't prejudge, right?
  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly@NoSpaM.ix.netcom.com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @01:42PM (#14054057)
    A new interface!? (gasp!)

    Think of all the money that's going to go into have to retrain users how to use office apps all over again.

    Now that Star/OpenOffice look more like Word than the Office 12, maybe it's more cost effective to skip Office 12 and jump right to Star/OpenOffice route!

    Seriously though, I find it interesting that there is talk of the training cost when switching to Star/Openoffice, while each version of office moves everything all around so I can find things...all in the name of earnings - opps I mean productiviity improvement.

    -Pete
  • I've been using MS Office since the first version came out and I'm still waiting some basic features. For example there's still no news reader in Outlook?!?!?! Sure, Outlook Express has a built-in news reader but it doesn't have a calendar. I must be a lousy user, because I can't name a single thing that would've improved my Office usability since Office'97 was released.

    Microsoft Word - A very good WYSIWYG word processor, but what's the difference between 1997 version and 2006 version? Please Do Not say Cli
  • When Microsoft released office xp 2001 (with little change overall from it's predecessor office 2k), it expereienced much lower than expected sales. Essentially the couple of new featuers (collaboration tools and speech recognition) wasn't enough to convince users to upgrade.

    The new UI and killer features is an attempt to rectify the situation... with totally new ui, users feel like they could get left behind if they don't upgrade.

  • New File Format (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:07PM (#14054344)
    "New File Format - This as you know is the area that is most near and dear to my heart. We are finally fully opening up our file formats in Office. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel will all three use new XML formats as their default formats. These formats will be fully documented and anyone can leverage them to build solutions, or even to build a competitive application. If you're interested in this topic, just keep reading my blog (and look through all my previous entries)."

    Fully documented my ass. There are binary headers that are not documented. Without understanding these headers 3rd party vendors cannot leverage squat.

    This is the reason that Massachusetts decided not to list Microsoft's XML format as acceptable. It's not really open at all.
  • by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:10PM (#14054385) Homepage
    This item is a great example of how not only office, but Longwait will be hailed despite the products probable weaknesses and continued wholesale theft of consumer priviledges. Sadly, millions of consumer will gladly overpay for the priveledge of having the control of their computers handed over to another corporation.

    -What's the software license like? Hmm, probably more restrictive than the scary license on SP3.
    -How much does that feature cost? Am I authorized to use it for one year or more? Can I redistribute it?
    -Open document format? Hmmm me thinks it lacks interoperability. Wait, don't tell me the interop problem isn't Microsoft's right?
    -And it's OO.org's problem THEY aren't innovative enough.
    -Overpromising more features that will be fixed "the next service pack."

    The good news is I'm guaranteed software maintenance employment as long as Microsoft continues to make these crappy products. Sadly though, it's sure to become the equivalent of a janitor in terms of salary, ubiquity and priviledge.
  • re: "Killer App" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:15PM (#14054445) Homepage Journal
    What specifically can the web service do?
    Short Answer:
    Run Excel as a client/server app.
    Is my crack habit out of control, or is that 40-year old technology that was replaced a couple of decades ago by n-tier solutions?
    The chutzpah involved in pushing this as some kind of new technology, itself, is some kind of Killer App, where the victim is the market.
    Patents to all t3h h0meez, for this startling, innovative, heretofore unseen wonder!
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @02:29PM (#14054587)
    By making the new default file format their so-called open XML format, MS is ensuring that by default you will save you documents in a format which, at this moment, cannot be read by any other word processing program, including older versions of Microsoft Office.

    Yeah, that's really going to help the average user.

  • by Deviant ( 1501 ) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @03:54PM (#14055550)
    I have found reading the comments on this thread extremely funny. What I thought to myself reading the article is that the Slashdot crowd with either...

    a.) Heckle the new interface as looking stupid/being ignorant/taking up too much space on the screen
    b.) Talk about how the interface change will be an opportunity for OpenOffice

    I am not surprised to be proved correct. Here is what is really going to happen with the new Office. First, they will have an option in there to make it look like Office XP/2003 for those that want it. I watched a video with an interface designer from MS who said as much and it makes sense - they have always provided a way to make newer software look/behave like it's previous versions (2000->XP interface for example). Second, as they have incorporated more and more new features to Office over the years the menus and toolbars has gotten very cluttered. I find it makes perfect sense to me for Office to step back and reasses/reorganize the interface and how people use it to make getting to these options a little more intutitive as well as take advantage of the increased screen realestate that many newer monitors/flatpanels provide. I have an LCD where, at my resolution, the toolbar icons are almost too small these days. I would also like the idea of Office tailoring it's interface to the task I am trying to accomplish and helping me see what options are most common and really relevant and useful for my current what I am trying to do. This is, by many accounts, the peak of Office and it's userbase so if there is ever a time that they could leverage that to have people learn a better and more impressive interface it is now.

    I like the new interface and I am going to buy the $150 Student/Teacher version when it comes out. I think that, unlike the differnce between 97, 2000, XP and 2003 where the feature differences are about office and document collaboration and other rather unsexy little sorts of things many users did not need/use, this version is about a nice looking new interface and capabilities to more easily create nicer looking new documents, charts and presentations with more eye candy. I think that you are all wrong - they changed this in a way that will get people excited about Office again and that they can easily tell the difference between it and the old versions in such a way that will have some word-of-mouth advertising between friends and coworkers who will show it off to others and talk about it. For those IT people who posted - I expect there will be a demand for the first time in years from your users and managers will be asking for it and about it.

    Instead of rejoicing abuot their coming fall you should realize that this is what MS needed to do to really address OpenOffice and further differentiate themselves and their new version. I really think it will be a large sales success in ways that XP and 2003 was not and a new standard for the other suites to follow. And, most ironically, it will be it for the exact reasons that you all think it will fail.

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