Do the Word 2007 design changes make sense to you?

As your users begin taking their first wobbly steps through the new Office 2007 interface, you're likely to hear a fair amount of grumbling. Probably something along the lines of, "Where'd they PUT it?" (Or maybe I'm just projecting.)

Is this just the usual angst that comes with the new-feature-set territory -- or do users have a legitimate beef about the upended interface?

TechRepublic contributor Justin James supports the design decisions. In his article "Word 2007: Lessons on usability," he analyzes the major interface changes and the rationale that underlies them. Having weathered the acclimation period, he says his efficiency and productivity have gone up dramatically, and he thinks the new version of Word does a good job of helping guide users toward accomplishing their tasks.

Not surprisingly, the related discussion has brought out a few dissenters. Who do you believe?


Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.


Absolutely not. Microsoft must have cost worldwide industry billions in creating this badly designed, non-compatible, overindulgant, incoherent, time-wasting garbage. Rather than use Office 2007 at home we deleted the whole of Microsoft office from our various PCs and Laptops and downloaded Open-Office. It is more user-friendly and more compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft products than the later versions of Microsoft are.b Why double or triple-up your keystrokes to do the simplest of tasks on an incoherent menu structure with incoherent icons. I would go as far to say that the deviation from what was there previously as moronic. Have Microsoft even heard of 'human Factors' or 'ergonomics'? That is what happens when you let inexperienced and clueless 'innovators' in at the helm. Personally, I have no need of Microsoft Products. in the work-place, not a day goes by without someone exclaiming because of the frustration and wasting of time that Office 2007 causes. I wish that you could have classic view for everything turning off any remnant of rounded blue graphics that make the products look like 'safe' games for the under fives, reinstating text menus, being able to view properties, be compatible blah blah blah ad nausium. This was written after a morning of trying to sort out a old document that someone had updated, lost styles, couldn't successfully aply new ones and cause me four hours of work. In the end I selected all, ctrl-v, and pasted into an old file I had created in 1994 which had all the styles set up, paragraph number to four levels, all with hanging indents and saved. I then performed further edits in Open Office, then saved and returned the document to its owner. The product is broken, Microsoft, why try and defend the indefensible with your ludicrously delusional PR reps and leave long-time users with a robust product? PS Justin James sounds like a pseudonym - is this person on Microsoft's payroll?


To be honest, I do like the overall visual changes to the Word2007 design - but I am a little frustrated that they seems to have dropped (or at least buried VERY deeply) some features that I found to be very time efficient. One of these features was the FORMAT tool, CHANGE CASE. I use my laptop for quick notes in meetings - rarely do I pay attention the mechanics of punctuation and capitalization when jotting this down fast, especially those intended for my eyes only. But sometimes I cherry-pick to cut and paste in more formal documents and presentations. I frequently compensated for my earlier slovenly note-taking by highlighting blocks of text and altering the case format with this tool. In Word2007 this little widget has vanished - and I'm none too pleased about it. It is a waste of time to have to sit and pick through my document for places I forgot to capitalize!! I'm a self taught keyboarder (eek!) which means that I'm fast - and yes, sloppy. Shouldn?t the latest and greatest of the Word family releases have ALL the tools to hide my inadequacies?!?!? BTW? I flipped back to Word2203 temporarily so that I could use CHANGE CASE to proof this post!!

Editor's Picks