Software optimize

An introduction to the Microsoft Office 2007 ribbon interface

From Word to Excel to PowerPoint, the new Microsoft Office 2007 interface is designed to increase efficiency and make it easier for users to find features to get their work done. The end result is an interface that does make it easier to get things done, but there are some caveats. Scott Lowe provides a detailed overview of the new interface as well as pointing out some areas of challenge.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic download.

By now, you've probably gotten a peak at the radically new interface shipping with Office 2007. From Word to Excel to PowerPoint, the new interface is designed to increase efficiency and make it easier for users to find features to get their work done. The end result is an interface that does make it easier to get things done, but there are some caveats. In this article, I'll provide a detailed overview of the new interface as well as pointing out some areas of challenge.

Note: Since the first beta release of Office 2007, I've forced myself to use all of the 2007 applications, although I have kept Office 2003 installed "just in case." As a result, I've been using the new interface for quite a number of months.

Significant interface changes

As soon as you load an Office 2007 application for the first time, it will hit you: "Whoa." That was pretty much my reaction, even though I'd seen screenshots and other details. Once it's on the screen in front of you, it's a little daunting, particularly if you're an Office power user. In fact, Office power users will probably have the hardest time adjusting to the new interface.

Under the hood—that is, once you get into a regular dialog box—you'll notice that many of the dialog boxes are similar to the ones found in older versions of Office, but the elimination of the traditional menu bars requires a different way of thinking. In short, the Office team at Microsoft has thumbed their collective noses at the traditional interface and created a new way of working. Here are some of the highlights of the new interface.

The Office button

At the very top left corner of the Office window, you'll see what is referred to as the Office button, mainly because it has the Office logo on it, but also because it gives you quick access to many of Office's most important tasks. Among these tasks: open a document, save your work, print your document, publish your work to a shared work space, and a lot more. From this button, you can also access a list of the most recent dozen and other documents you've worked on.

The Office button also takes all of the non-document related activities and puts them in one spot. By "non-document," I mean tasks that do not directly relate to the editing task at hand. These items include Open, Save, Print, Close, and more. From the button, you can also configure overall product options. In Word, for example, you can set your proofing options, save options and more. See Figure A for an example of what you'll find on the Office button.

Figure A

What's on the Office button?

Items on the Office menu that have arrows to the right of the entry have sub-options. For example, in Excel 2007, when you click on the Office button and hover over Save As, you're provided with a list of the possible save options, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The Save As menu in Excel 2007

The Ribbon

Goodbye menu bar. Goodbye traditional menus. Adios toolbars. In most of the Office 2007 products, Microsoft has foresworn these tried and true interface objects in favor of something more streamlined: The Ribbon. The Ribbon takes up a good chunk of the top portion of the screen—the section once occupied by the menu bar and various tool bars. Your initial use of Office 2007 with the new Ribbon may make you wonder why Microsoft would use interface real estate in this way but, after using the Ribbon for a while, you will probably see how its use can result in significant improvements to the way you work. However, it will take some time, especially if you're an Office power user.

Users that are very familiar with the old Office interface will have the hardest time adjusting to the new system. See Figure C for a look at the Ribbon in Word 2007. Figure D shows you the Ribbon used in Excel 2007. Notice that the Ribbon is broken down into a number of tabs, including the Insert tab, from which you can add visual elements, such as tables, charts and more, to your Word document. The Page Layout tab replaces the Page Setup dialog and provides a place for you to change your document's margins, page size, indentation, and more.

Figure C

The Word Ribbon puts the most necessary items on the Home tab.

Figure D

The Excel ribbon houses Excel-specific tasks.

The Ribbon provides a contextual experience for your users. By that, I mean that the tabs that are available on the Ribbon change based on the document context. If a user is working with a table, for example, a Table Tools section is added to the Ribbon with Design and Layout tabs. These new tabs are visible only when your insertion point is within a table, and stay out of your way at other times. Figure E shows you an example of the Table Tools context sensitive tabs.

Figure E

Context sensitive tabs keeps the clutter out of your interface when it's not needed.

If you're more comfortable working with a more traditional dialog box, these haven't been eliminated from Office. In fact, many of the most common dialog boxes are accessible via a single click of the mouse. Take a look back at Figures C, D, and E. In the lower right-hand corner of most of the various sections of the Ribbon, take note of the small arrow pointing down and to the right. These icons open up the associated traditional dialog box. For example, if you click on the arrow icon in the Font section of the Ribbon in Word, the Font dialog box will open. Since not every single option will fit on the Ribbon, these dialog boxes remain useful.

In the Ribbon bar, on the Home tab, you can also see the most obvious example of galleries. A gallery is basically an example of what a particular style will look like. Word, Excel and PowerPoint make liberal use of galleries. Word uses them to give you a look at what would happen if you applied a particular style to your document. Excel uses them to apply formatting to your spreadsheets and PowerPoint uses them so you can get a look at what a particular template might look like.

To use a gallery, just hover your mouse pointer over one of the representations in the Ribbon. In all Office programs that have a gallery, hovering the mouse pointer over the sample actually temporarily applies that style to your work. As you move across the gallery, you can see each style in turn. To apply a particular style to your work, click the style.

Summary

As you can tell, the Office team at Microsoft has made huge changes to the interface in the Office products. How well the changes will be received by hard core users has yet to be determined. In my opinion, the changes, overall, are good. I do like the new Ribbon and really like the galleries, but the learning curve has been a little steep. I use Office -- particularly Word, Excel, and Outlook -- every single day, and generally all day. In all, it took me a few days to really figure out where to find everything and I still find myself looking for things that I used to be able to find. However, once I've found something, it's pretty easy to get back to it.

60 comments
info
info

It gets a little hard to read when words are constantly run together. publishyour thehighlights Officebutton just to show a few. If you're going to review an Office application, at least use the proofing of grammar and spell checker tools before publishing.

CreativeTech
CreativeTech

You know, I keep getting annoyed by Microsoft. I guess they now all think we're too dumb to read. I hate this ribbon interface. It's designed for morons who never use a computer. I resent being designed down to, especially since it takes far longer to have to mouse through everything to find what I want than to simply go for the menu where I KNEW things were.

daldama
daldama

It's a piece of crap. It is not an improvement in any way. The retraining costs will never be recouped, as the ribbon does nothing to improve productivity. IMHO...MS changed the old menu bar inteface because it was the last link to IBM. The IBM CUA was set in 1987. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Common_User_Access Screw MS

dragons1300
dragons1300

Hover over tabs in the ribbon. I want the tabs to change when I hover the mouse over the ribbon tabs. How can I change the way the tabs react when hovering over tabs?

emailnotdisclosed
emailnotdisclosed

The ribbon is a huge productivity loss. Something in the MS Word code slows down typing / character display speed if a third party ribbon enhancement, like Classic Menu (latest version 3.93) is used. Shame on Microsoft for 1. designing a poor menu system and 2. for slowing down performance when 3rd party updates are installed to restore usability. This is complete disregard of "voice of the customer."

fgohoas
fgohoas

The ribbon is dominated by enormous childish icons which hog most of the precious monitor space leaving little room for the document itself. There is no way to change the size of them without messing up the appearance of the deskop. Ribbon is st odds with all other programs and another way for MS to try to indoctorinate users into a system incompatible with rivals products. It is truly evil.

anthonym2g
anthonym2g

The new Microsoft 2007 word seems like it will be better in the long run.However though we must learn new Technology and all change is not bad.

Ronda.Welch
Ronda.Welch

I think its pretty cool. Changes are good and anything that can be done to make work more easier im all for it.

ITaxMan
ITaxMan

What Happens to Custom Toolbars & Macros? I've created large toolbars linked to macros that automate custom formatting required for much of the Excel work that I do. The company requires a common "face" to our clients and doing the formatting under any regular Excel methods, including keyboard shortcuts was a time-consuming process. Am I doomed to recreate these in a new system?

carlsf
carlsf

Or the money to take out 10 productive staff from work in progress to enable them to lean or take courses. I have calculated the downtime and loss of productivity at 1 weeks work (still have to pay the wages), and one week lost income from that person. If you also send them to a course then also add that cost. Sorry MS we will be staying with XP PRO and Office 2003.

jdiggs
jdiggs

I currently do almost everything in Office without touching the mouse. Will that still be possible?

bernardmorey
bernardmorey

After several months I'm not entirely comfortable with the ribbon, but I'll persist and get there eventually. At first it was awful because the alt-key shortcuts I had learned over the years now didn't work in all cases. Still, I'm an old fuddy duddy - there's still a rare day when I miss Wordperfect for DOS. Office 2007 is growing on me - the formatting box that appears when you block text is nice. I now use that regularly. Office 2007 has enough good or useful features to persuade me to upgrade when the commercial version is released (can't say the same for Vista, however).

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What do you think of the Microsoft Office 2007 interface? Is it better or worse, or perhaps about the same, as Office XP?

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

You're replying to something that is four years old! I think the ribbon was an advancement over prior versions. Once users get used to it they like it. I think you're stuck in the past. You probably miss that the dimmer switch is no longer on the floor!!! EMD

kjay74
kjay74

"If It Ain't Broke.....Don't FIX It!!!" I have abandoned M/S Office in favor of OpenOffice.org! K

frank_s
frank_s

There are keyboard shortcuts for almost everything in Office 2007. Most of them are the same as in past versions but there are some differences.

Animal13
Animal13

The more I read the Office Change Forums the Vista Forums and any Forums/Blogs about New Software, the more disappointed I am in the Professionalism of our industry. People griped about Automatic Transmissions on cars, the initial idea of a windows interface, and every change to anything they have come to be familiar with. Learning new interfaces, learning new software, heck - even learning to program a VCR, are changes we should welcome instead of bash. As technology progresses, so must we. Granted Microsoft has a vested interest in making a profit. But I really think they know this and are trying to provide a new and better product that we WANT to change to. They are listening to users, trying to anticipate change and trying to add features that provide benefits to users. I am not a Microsoft lacky but I think that all software developers, despite our retoric, are working for us, the end users and supporters. It is up to us as consumers to determine if the changes are worth the price, both in money and time, to make the jump. I know companies that still run Windows 95. If that works for them, so be it. Off Soapbox... I think your evaluation of the interface was excellent: it focused on the product and the changes. Only time will tell how useful the new changes are. As you have tried to explain so elequently, It is new, different, and will require some getting used to for us power users. But we are power users for a reason: we use the software day in and day out and have the ABILITY to learn all the nuances of a new paradigm. Hopefully, in forums like this, we can share the gems and gotchas that enable us to get the most out of this new technology.

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

I've read this discussion with a great deal of interest. There are IT old-timers, IT up-and-comers and everything in between espousing views on the new interface and what it means to the average worker and to IT. Some of the IT people in the thread really hate the new interface and consider it change for changes sake while some really like it because it's new and cool. Some have mentioned that end users will now be forced -- yet again -- to learn a new interface. Since I wrote the article, let me chat a bit about my thoughts. Will end-users in general like the new interface? Nope. Or, not at first. It's change. In no place I have worked in my 13 years in IT would people come to me and say "give me Office 2007 so I can change the way I work!" Now, that said, I don't think that MS designed the new interface just for kicks. I really do believe that they did significant research to determine how people work the best and they knew that the old interface was suffering from bloat - as in, it's too hard to find things or it takes too many clicks. I think that, for the most part, they nailed it. I consider myself a pretty hardcore Office user and it took me a bit to get used to the interface, but I really, really like it now. It is definitely easier to deal with - for the most part. Also, keep this in mind: Office has not had a *major* interface redesign... ever. or, at least not since Office 95. So we're looking at a dozen years or so. Sure, MS has made changes to the way that things work in Office (side note to MS: For just ONE Office release, can you not develop a whole new way to do mail merge), but overall, Office has had the "traditional" interface, with a menu bar, a standard toolbar and a formatting toolbar sitting front and center. Does it work? Yes. Is the traditional interface more efficient than the new Ribbon? Time will tell on that one. I think we'll see, after training and actual USE rather than just screenshots, that people will gravitate to the Ribbon, and MS probably thinks so as well. But, only time is going to give us that answer. Will I roll Office 2007 onto my user's desktops? No way. Not for a little while, at least. BUT, I work at a college. Like it or not, we will have to move, or at least support Office 2007 in some way. Students will bring it, meaning that we need to make sure the new file formats work on faculty machines. We'll need to install it side-by-side with Office 2003 in our labs for our students. So, eventually we will have it across the board. I don't mind the training time that this will take -- and it will take a lot. It's been a long time since the interface itself required training and, since I think the new interface will improve the way people work, the time is worth it. Now, to stick with the other topic in the thread: I'm 33 with 13 years of IT experience, with 5 years as an IT Director and 3 months (sorta new) as a CIO. I still consider myself, in some ways, a newbie since IT changes so fast, but I still LOVE this stuff!!! Scott

Kostaghus
Kostaghus

Why is MS always trying to make sure the old joke about the car builder and the software engineer is good and real? What if each time you bought a new car you'd have to adapt to a new set of controls...?! Once I'm good and happy with the old ones... Why do I have to learn new ones to do the same tricks?! I'm not going to do anything else in Word then I've done during the past 16 years of so... So why not using a joystick instead of a steering wheel and buttons instead of the brake pedal and acceleration?! That's really disregarding the user and buyer! But it's good for THEIR business! This way, one will have to get new manuals and courses and stuff... and maybe even new hardware to accomodate all the extra "eyecandy". But that's MS for you... As for me I'm sticking to Office 2003. All that would be needed would be to have a different file format not compatible with older versions, as Corel Draw's been doing it for years... Why can't they just stick to a thing that's done and done well and have to change it just for the sake of changing?!

edward perez
edward perez

forgot where that line is from, but it's very true. however, an occurrence of change does not imply that all must accept and/or adapt to it. and when one doesnt accept and/or adapt to it, you really have to look beneath the covers to understand why. simple sound bites do not solve problems; dialog, communication, and understanding can. one of the major reasons for implementing automated solutions into an organization or home is to realize or support some business or personal goal. bringing the solution in to see how it works or doesnt is a viable path but not always. i've been in the software industry for 30+ years and have seen a lot - from paper tape, punch cards, and 300 baud dialups to 1GB jumpdrives and high-speed wireless access. most of the changes have been huge productivity savers; some have been way ahead of their time & didnt survive; some are junk - no other word for them. office 2007 has so much inertia behind it that us poor users wont have much energy or power to change it's path. we're stuck w/ it unless we venture to other providers. from what i've seen and heard, it's a re-organization of the menu and tool bars into another form and with a new name. i've organized toolbar icons for years to suit my preferences. finally, someone at microsoft got smart and came up w/ the "Save My Settings Wizard" to save the Office configurations so it could be loaded onto another computer (to save all that config time). only time will tell. keep an open mind and have fun out there.

john.bruette
john.bruette

The screen shot of the ribbon reminded me of a product I had used before. Lotus 2000 had a simaler configuration. Pick the application you want to work in and the application had it's won ribbon. I found that quite easy to work with. On Soapbox I find the attitude expressed in some of these posts to be quite interesting. If I fought change as much as some of you are expressing, I would still be working with punch cards and wiring IBM 407 Accounting Machine breadboards. If you don't change with and embrace technolgy and product enhancements you've rendered yourself obsolete. Off Soapbox

Coss71
Coss71

I have 26 offices that I take care of (500+ users) and I would say the majority of them hate change of any kind. When I roll this out, I'm going to hear them crying like the big babies they are. I personally love the changes that they have made to Windows and Office, it was long overdue. I've been using it for a few months now, and love how easy it is to find the tools I need without having to tunnel through sub menus. As for accepting the change, I have one manager that has the right attitude. Learn it, or go find another job. I wish all of the offices had the same attitude.

culley544
culley544

I hate this new ribbon that uses too much screen space. I find that slecting from the Smallest menu click and selct is not any harder than looking thru all the items on the Ribbion you will never use. I can see more of my document or Spreedsheet with out this damb ribbon. THis is not an improvment . An improvement would be software that never CRASHES and was flawless

GDoC
GDoC

I too found a major learning curve associated with using the new ribbon interface. Working as I do in enterprise level organizations I have a concern about the training cost and loss in productivity associated with adoption of an entirely new interface. MS should include a classic interface option to help mitigate these issues.

FBuchan
FBuchan

I find the new interface efficient for some tasks, but cluttered. My guess is that people who never saw Word (etc.) will find it easier, while long-time users will have to relearn. because it is a 100% improvement, I question its value at times, and wonder at some of what feels like change for change's sake. Then again, once you get used to it, it is marginally faster for most tasks...and that probably matters more than anything.

JordC
JordC

I have been using Office 2007 since summer. While I've been able to adapt to the interface, my initial impression was that it was indeed somewhat daunting. I figured that by the final release, there would be an option to revert to the "classic" Office interface. It seems this isn't going to happen, which surprises me. Why do you suppose MS isn't including it as an option?

acoastwalker
acoastwalker

Currently I switch off as many icon bars as possible to give myself more screen real estate. I'm interested in what I am working on not some bloated lowest common denominator user interface. And I already have a 19" screen. Also if all activities are mediated by pretty icons how are we going to learn the voice driven interface that will be the next big thing without the text menues? This interface is an appalling insult to Microsofts users and I will refuse to use it. I only hope that Open Office can edit documents created by this tragically compromised software.

gsquared
gsquared

I've been beta testing Office 2007 for a few months now and I like the new interface in Word, Outlook and Excell. I don't like the new Access as much. My wife is a serious Excell power-user, and she likes the new ribbon quite a bit. Took a while to get used to it, but she's very happy with it now. My main uses of Office are Outlook (which is very similar to Outlook 2003) and using Access as a front-end for SQL databases. MS says they really aren't supporting that option in Access after Office 2007. Access 2007 definitely doesn't make it as easy as Office XP or Office 2003 to make Access "projects" (their name for Access files with SQL as the database). So I'm teaching myself .NET so I can replace Access as my primary Windows front-end app. As far as Word goes, I don't do enough in Word besides type pages, to really take advantage of the ribbon (or the old menus). I'm way too used to Ctrl+B to turn bold on and off, for example, to bother with either way of doing so with a mouse. Heavily formatted documents, with multiple fonts and all that, will get more out of the ribbon, but I don't do a lot of those. Excell, on the other hand, I find the ribbon very, very advantageous. Gets rid of a number of steps for creating functions and formulae that I used to have to go through. Makes it faster and easier. Personally though, I don't use Excell enough to justify an upgrade to Office 2007 when it comes out. I'll stick with 2003 for the forseable future.

Steffi28
Steffi28

Ive been using Office 2007 for about a month now and I much prefer it. Im now at the stage of wondering how i ever coped before the ribbon! I have an amusing story about the new feature well it amused me anyway. Im currently on a placement and my boss has been raving over Office 2007 since the beta was released, so last month I thought I'll give it a try see what all the fuss is about so got the beta for myself. Yesterday we were trying out SharePoint 2007 and my boss wanted to upload an excel file so he opened excel and I said about how I like the publish feature for sending doncuments to MOSS. Then I laughed saying how the first time I used Office 2007 it took me about 10 minutes to find where the file menu had dissapeared to so I could save my document. He also laughed at me, until i told him that the publish to SharePoint feature was in the file menu. He then asked me where the file menu was. This is my manager who has been using Office 07 for about 3 months! Well needless to say I found this very amusing, and I'm just wondering now how he has been saving anything for the past 3 months.

ThumbsUp2
ThumbsUp2

People, as a whole, don't like change. So, when it is forced down their throat as their company switches over, they'll complain about it. However, I think they'll find that the "ribbon concept" will get easier the more they use it. Once they get over the initial shock, they'll even learn to like it and wonder how they got along without it. :P

TJVIPER101
TJVIPER101

I have been reading through the posts about Office 2007 and find them quite interesting. Though I can understand many from the old school not wanted to get rid of using WordPerfect for DOS, what I don't understand is how a lot of people are having issues learning the new interface. For me, I love the ribbon, it is so much easier to find that one obscure setting or formatting you need. I hated the menus and submenus from Office XP and 2003. Give me keyboard shortcuts and some icons to click and quite making me waste time searching through all the damn menus. I use a tablet, so the icons are much better in the ribbon than trying to click on all those tiny toolbars. That said, I first started using Office 2007 Beta 1 a few months ago. I had a 15 page research paper to write and just finished installing 2007. It took me a grand total of 10 minutes to feel comfortable with the ribbon and be able to get to all the tools I needed. Office 2007 is in my opinion way easier to learn and will be a good thing for end users. And just to counter any "funny" remarks, I am a 21 year old college student just about to graduate. I am not one of those stupid college kids that just likes flashy icons and cool looking menus. This semester alone I have taken VB.NET, Unix Systems Admin, PHP, PERL, and COBOL classes, so I do have a wide background in GUI and commandline based computing. I find that some of the comments made in this series of postings are the exact things that make IT look bad. Change is a good thing, and it is OK for the end user to resist it, but not IT pros. I enjoy getting new things thrown at me which I have to learn or relearn, it keeps the excitement in the field and makes it the field I wish to make into a career. I have worked in the past in the Rock n Roll Industry for a number of years now and am giving it up to go into IT, because IT to me is way more interesting and challenging.

acoastwalker
acoastwalker

The criticism is invalid. Most of the discussion is about whether this interface change is worth the investment in retraining required. I would have no complaint if the old interface were available as an option.

Gennady
Gennady

my main problem is not the ribbon itself, but the way they chose to "support" users accustomed to the old interface (that are, btw, a vast majority of the users).When you start typing a key sequence you remember from Office 2003, it says "office 2003 keystroke detected, continue typing". Should I understand this as an appropriate support for old keystrokes? no way. I type Alt-T to see the "tools" menu in order to choose something from it. And instead of my old good "tools" menu it responds with "continue typing" :-( Well, guys, do you REALLY think I rembmer ALL the keystrokes???? The guy who decided to support legacy users this way probably had a poor background on UI basics. OK, when I pressed Ctrl-Shift-F, I probably wanted to change the font, that's for sure. But when I type Alt-T, how can they be sure that I remember the whole bunch of sequences that start with Alt-T? Like Alt-T, L, L to change the language? I normally used to press Alt-T to open the menu, then read the "Language" (underlined L) and press L, then read "Set Language" (underlined L) and press L again. Now in 2007, I press Alt-T and I'm stuck with "Continue typing". It expects me to remember all the keys for continuation, while I actually don't. That's horrible. That's just an example of poor thinking about your current users. When you think about supporting old (actually, _current_) users, you have to consider all the options they may use, those are, in fact, options that YOU gave them previously. And the way they support their current users in office 2007 is totally inapropriate. They're practically saying them "forget how you did it previously, now do it ONLY this way". That's not fair, because those old ways were from the same source that now gives you the "new" way. Everything I said now has nothing to do with the ribbon being good or not. Suppose the ribbon is the best. Still you have to support your current users. Another funny point that I see in your post: you're calling the interface with a menu and a toolbar "standard". But the toolbars how we see them now were something that was greatly developed right in MS Office back in windows 3.1 times. Well, toolbars existed before (as a concept of buttons that are shortcuts to menu items), but Office was among the first applications whose productivity was mainly based on toolbars. (of course I am not talking about toolboxes in graphics applications, they're a different thing from the GUI and usability point of view)

Kostaghus
Kostaghus

Dear Mr. Perez, Change for change's sake is not necessary! Moreover, it's just plain stupid! Or just plain FASHION! We don't have time for FASHION... We don't have time to "have fun"! We must make money! We do this for a living, get it?! I've been earning money since the next day I learnt to use a computer. And that was way back in 1986. I for one (and I'm sure there are a lot like me) would like simpler interfaces and not Aero nonsence and various types of eyecandy to just eatup at computer resources... But what the heck... If that's what we're given... that's what we'll have to use I guess...

jimduty
jimduty

Apparently that is how the "change is good" crowd seems to view this as compared to those who view it as a tool. The simplest, fastest, dumbest interface possible is the most valuable. Anyone advocate changing the user interface on a hammer, shovel, chainsaw? No, because what we have does the job and does it well. What I wouldn't give for a 3 GHz proccesor with 2 gigs of RAM running Wordstar on CP/M 2.2.

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

Whatever happend to the cliche "if it ain't broke don't fix it" All New Products are Marketing/MONEY driven. Do you honestly think MS devised Office 2007 to make nice nice for users??? The Gates Man needs another Billion. Most users of Office, believe it or not, could get along just fine with Office 2000!!! It is not about resisting change, if that were true we would all still be using paper & pencil. The real issue is that in most organizations IT is HATED by all the other departments, because they are throwing new & improved apps at them, "WITH NO USER TRAINING" That is the real issue. Here is the New & Improved Office 2007, now go figure it out for yourself!!! I believe that in many cases the cost of putting New Apps on the desktop (cost of software, cost of training, if any is done, and lost productivity during the learning process)for outweighs the perceived advantages. Technical Staff need to look at this thru the users eyes instead of just saying WOW this really cool, lets get it!!!!

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

OK dude, and who takes the time to TRAIN the users on these changes???? Easy for you to say, but realize that many users already have WAY MORE functionality in these apps then they will ever need or use. From their perpective everything is working OK so why the need "for another upgrade". The Manager with the learn it or find another job attitude is what we commonly call in the industry a "JERK" (among other names we can't say here. That is why I personally left IT because of Moron Management and Management by Magazine. Have a Nice Day

acoastwalker
acoastwalker

This attitude that "my departments internal processes are more important than the end users" is the reason that IT is disliked. We all know that new products are deliberately changed in look and feel to distinguish them from the previous generation for marketing purposes. This does nothing for the end user and should be disparaged - the internal rewrites that increase the stability or speed of the application should be the unique selling point. This icon based interface is a mistake that will go the way of microsoft Bob.

frank_s
frank_s

There are about 3 or 4 ways to minimize (and restore) the ribbon--the fastest is probably CTRL+F1. Add the things you use most often to the Quick Access Toolbar and you actually have a cleaner interface than Office 2003.

Kostaghus
Kostaghus

No! They won't! And that's mainly because new courses mean more MONEY in MS's purse... More manuals and supplementary training too... So what if the customer looses?! That's his problem! Not MS's!

EastExpert
EastExpert

... because otherwise, lots of people would prefer to skip learning and forego the improvements... most of them without even spending an hour to learn it... just use the classic forever. I still curse when people bring their XP machines with Classic interface to our department. They don't bother. I hate to say it, but most people are too lazy to learn the new things. The reason we still have people using Windows 98... So, sometimes they just take the plunge. Not too often - doing this too often will upset people, but time to time you just need to. (Of course this is my own opinion, I'm not related to Microsoft in any way).

gcomputeronet
gcomputeronet

I enjoy my screen realestate also, and I found that the ribbon can be folded so that it only appears when you click on the "tab" that you want. (Just double click one of the ribbon tabs.) I see this as a major improvement to Office. Most everything I need is readily available.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Welcome to TR. FYI, we usually avoid digging up discussions over a few months old (zombies).

CreativeTech
CreativeTech

New learning is good. Re-learning is a waste of my time. I wouldn't mind learning a new *program*. I DO mind having to re-learn an interface for programs which I've been using for years. It's silly. I've got too much learning of NEW things I want to do to waste time on this!

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

I am in TOTAL agreement with you, and as yourself and many others are disgusted & fed up with Microsoft and their pompous attitude. If Linux (such as Linspire) can gets its act together, and Star Office or better yet the FREE version Open Office along with Evolution E-Mail, maybe we all can be set FREE from the bonds of MS and its continually stupid upgrades and crappy OS (I believe Vista will be the NEW Windows ME), and hopefully the downfall of MS!!! People in these Posts who Praise MS must either be on their Payroll or are just plain ignorant.

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

Please do not be offended, but I was working in this IT Business when you were not even a thought in your Mom's mind. I have owned and operated by own business for the past 12 years.I deal with Small Businesses and Home users. I have also worked in the Corp. environment for some of the largest in the country: Boeing, American Express, Phelps Dodge Corp., Allied Signal, just to name a few. I think you are missing the point. We all know that change is necessary and inevitable. What many in IT (including myself) embrace as FUN, COOL, NEW & improved, to the average P/C user (who by the way thinks their tower is a hard drive) find it frustrating and confusing with the complexity of Hardware & Software they must assimilate. In addition most of Corp America does not provide their end users the "training" they need to use this hardware/software, but basically believes they will learn its use thru osmosis. Not nice to assume they are "LAZY" and don't have the time (though the latter in many instances is true). These so called "lazy" individuals are most of the time pressured by deadlines and workloads far greater than they should be expected to handle, by bosses who are pressuring them to get it done "yesterday" and who in turn are getting pressured by those above them because of "Stockholders" and God forbid the "BOTTOM LINE"; which has become much more important in this country then customer service (in case you have not noticed). Also do not be deluded that you may not be at some time in your carrer outsourced to India or some other third world country, because of that BOTTOM Line. Come back in 20 years or so (if you still are in IT) and I think you will be singing a slightly different tune.

JustLJ
JustLJ

I love how the thread has changed from discussion about another MS change to the philosophy of human acceptance of change in the workplace. MS may or may not put out products that we love, but they do know how to stir up the pot. Rap On Brother, Rap On.

TJVIPER101
TJVIPER101

WORK as I have seen it, is not a way to just get things done. I have had many jobs since I was 14 and have put my all into learning every aspect of the job. Going from being an Oil Burner tech, to construction worker, plumber, hardwood flooring installed, sound engineer, demolition worker stage hand, and IT tech in the few short years of my life has taught me some very important things, one of which is that end users don't care about new features, as they do not want to relearn all the things over again. Though i can understand why they don't want to (because they are lazy and "don't have the time"), what I don't get is even with all the complaining that goes on, they will still eventually learn the new features. The paper I was writing while learning the new ribbon feature was on feature bloat and I used quite a few examples about the history of bloat found in Microsoft products. This paper could have gotten me in trouble, as I am my school's Microsoft Student Partner and am supposed to try to promote good things about Microsoft and I find it hard to give Microsoft much credit for listening to customers, when they have in the past added unnecessary features to there programs. I found the ribbon feature, while new and completely different from past versions, to be an improvement from what they have done in the past. True, it would be nice to have the option to change the back to the old look of Office Apps, but then again, what will make users use the new version, when the old version still exists. The FCC is doing a similar thing with try to phase in HDTV and phase out analog TV and Apple did something similar with moving the OS to BSD from OS 9. The only way to get technology to move forward is to sometimes force the hand of the user, get them to learn new things and try things out for themselves. I personally have a high work ethic in that if I don't know some area of the field I am working in, I look things up, read trade zines, or ask questions. I never expect any industry to wait for me to catch up. To the naive youngin' remarks, they don't phase me nor does calling me a know-it-all. I do my best to learn every bit I can in whatever job I am doing, whether it is just a summer job or my career. I listed the things I did simply as a way to let the posters know that I am not just some college computer geek that doesn't know what he is talking about. I personally love when people see me and assume that I am some snotty know-it-all and then get to prove them wrong with my actions. I am not like those you my have seen, fresh out of college thinking that everyone is out to help eachother and that they love their jobs. I purposely chose the job I have had to see if they were ones that I might like to make into a career and started out each of as if it were going to be my career, and found that though I became somewhat good at each, IT is where my heart is and knowing that I could deal with those that think its just a job is why I want to be an IT guy. IT is not a job, its a way of life, whethere you make it one, or the people around you do. I have never seen a profession in which people, when hearing you know the least little bit about computers, feel as though you are wise beyond belief in anything electronic and ask you questions while at a fast food place, store, or in the bathroom doing a number 2.

Gennady
Gennady

it depends. I love learning (I am 33, btw). But it depends what you're learning. If you're learning new things that enable you doing more or doing better - it's OK, I will always love that. From serial cables connections to ethernet, then to global internet, VoIP, digital photography, digital audio, iPods, etc - all this stuff appeared during my short age. I am not saying about computer tomography that allows buidling 3D models of human brain and radiology that saves lifes. Of course I love learning it, it's exciting. But when it's about new methods of doing same things, it's just loosing the time. menus, toolbars or ribbons - are not SO important to learn it again and again, while you're still writing a memo or report, like you did in wordperfect 15 years ago, which is still a good progress over EDT, for those who remember, or MultiEdit or AshtonTate Framework III (1985), where you did the same things - edit documents and spreadsheets! I mean, there should be something worth learning. then I will always love it. ribbon or toolbar - does not make a difference for me. (sorry for typos, I'm typing with one hand, keeping a 3-months kid in the other)

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

Learning is an ongoing Life experience. But as we all know WORK also needs to be/get done. You can only re-invent the wheel so many times. This applies to the very naive 21 year old (God, why do all young people, I was there myself once, think they know everything!!!) A Word Processor is a Word Processor is a Word Processor. You can add all the fancy doo dads you like, but in the end it's job is to basically let you create a document, just like a car with all the options in the world doesn't get you there any faster, just maybe in better comfort. If the car requires 20 steps to get it started, is that a better thing??? Most people just want their car to start, run efficiently and get them from point A to point B. Same holds true from the USER standpoint when it comes to software & hardware. Lets all try to remember K.I.S.S. (for those who aren't familiar with this acronym (Keep it Simple Stupid)

john.freymann
john.freymann

I wonder if the computing field is a good career choice if you don't enjoy learning new things? I got into programming and computers over 27 years ago. I chose the computer field because the knowledge base half-life is about 18 months. Roughly everything I've learned in the last 6 years has changed. And that rule hasn't changed much in my career.

Gennady
Gennady

that's a point, exactly as you said it: when you are 21, you LOVE changes, you LOVE learning, you're excited by doing new things, etc. Later, when you come to real life, you understand that you can learn forever and there always be something new to learn, but the time comes to do the work. and then you need to work and get the work done. and then you become really annoyed when you try to get the work done and somebody periodically changes your tools and you have to learn new tools while you need to get the job done. In other words, it's fun to learn new things when you want to learn new things, and it is NOT fun to learn new things when you have other things to do. - - - - - - when I was 21 or even below, it was popular among the students to learn as many programming languages as possible. it was cool to know many languages. I got to know 14 then (including BLISS, COBOL, PL/I and whatever else was available). Now, in the production work, if somebody will ask me to write the same code again and again in different languages, I think I would be very, very, displeased. I want the the code to be written once and then work (hopefully) forever. You learn those languages (read: new things, new ways, ribbons, toolbars, etc) to do the work and once you do the work, you don't want to change your tools too often. You need a good reason for a new tool. Thank you :-))) Don't understand me wrong: keep having fun learning new things, it's GREAT!

stephanisat
stephanisat

because I'm primarily a trainer. The problem, however, won't be with the power users. It will be with the casual users. With older versions of Office, the menu structure actually helps the occasional user, because they know (after I work with them) what each menu should contain. If they are looking for labels, for example, they know they will be under Tools [anything a secretary or assistant would have will be under Tools]. The ribbon throws too much at the casual user at once, and most casual users do not have the expertise to figure out how to turn off the Ribbon feature. Looks like 2007 will be busy for me.

kjay74
kjay74

After having been forced into M/S Office 2007 with the advent of a new 64 bit Dell machine....I have off-loaded M/S Office in favor of OpenOffice.org. Not only is the interface simple, concise and familiar...I do NOT have to pay for re-training to perform tasks I already know how to do! In effect, if the task doesn't change, then why change the interface???? If a NEW "task" or "function" is added, then, yes a new dialog is required. But, if you are still simply adding a worksheet to a spreadsheet file, why change the steps and add complexity to it???? Thanks, but NO Thanks Microsoft.

blarman
blarman

For admins, the ever-changing interface is a nightmare, because now we have to learn yet ANOTHER way to do things so that we can explain it to the users on the other end. Pointless. It has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with productivity - if MS would quit screwing aroud with the interface, Admins like me could spend more time getting things done. All they've done is bury things deeper and deeper in the control panel and add clicks to get things done. Quite the opposite of efficient. Thanks, but no thanks for eye candy.

Gennady
Gennady

> I still curse when people > bring their XP machines > with Classic interface You curse XP with the classic interface, but I still keep and will keep the classic interface. I buy the PC to get the job done, not to learn new ways to do the same things again and again. I need the way to do the job fast. if a new way is faster or more comfortable - I will MAYBE consider investing some time and learning it. if it is just "nicer" or slower like those XP animations - give me a break. I need to WORK, not to see flashing icons and smoothly opening menus. if the new way of doing things is not faster or better - I want to stay where I am now and still get the work done fast and easy.

acoastwalker
acoastwalker

The classic interface gets the job done, you dont need all the wizards and eye candy in XP. Whats wrong with tuning the interface to suit personal preferences? Its one of the features of Open Source GUI. Just because Microsoft has to make their OS look different in order to sell the new versions as "New" doesnt mean we have to accept their GUI design. Wake up and think outside the box a bit!