Windows

Examining the Ribbon in Windows 8’s Windows Explorer

 

When you select the Choose folder command on either the Move to or copy to menus, you’ll see a basic browse dialog box that will allow you to select any folder in any available location.

Image created by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic, all rights reserved.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

24 comments
ksaldutti
ksaldutti

The ribbons are being forced on us just because MS believe this is what we want. I bought MS Office 07 and after a month gave it back and using 2003 and XP. Ribbons are for dummies only and power users hate them. With no out such as a classic option Microsoft is for the first time in my very long use of computers and MS product will be no more. My first Mac Book Pro will be ordered this spring. So Dell or HP will lose their hardware sale also because of Microsoft. This is not only me but millions of othere who are looking to move away from Microsoft.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Did you see any sign of MS adding the ability to add or change tags on files from within Explorer?

Peter Sanders
Peter Sanders

Hi Have MS figured out yet that incremental search could just be useful when searching for a filename in Windows explorer? regards Peter

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

I can use one or even two monitors for the ribbon and still see my files, bee-yoo-tiful!!! Maybe the new Apple OS will have a ribbon too? (What's that whirring sound? Oh, it's Steve, spinning in his grave.).

mhoff1387
mhoff1387

Is that software developers, and not just at Microsoft, keep taking up more and more of the vertical screen real estate. With widescreen monitors becoming the default purchase option with any new computer setup, why are more developers not moving towards toolbars along the left and right edge of the screen where I have more than enough free space for it to not bother me. On the functionality part of it...I just don't get it. Why would you have all the stuff under the right click menu the default commands at the top of the screen? That actually looks like something that I would setup and would be useful to a person with disabilities that restricts the use of a mouse and keyboard at the same time. I guess as long as I can customize to actually be useful to me, I'll do what I do every time Microsoft makes this type of change...live with it.

stevestrib
stevestrib

I would not use a ribbon that takes up 1/3 of the screen. Typically, I keep all the toolbars, favorites, and anything else I don't frequently use off the screen. Personally, I would appreciate a ribbon that is hidden until you pass over it with the curser, similar to what is available on the older versions start menu properties (Auto-hide task bar).

ken
ken

I think that MS have gone the wrong way with this! Explorer 9 brought in a fast minimalist version and I have just got used to this. It did mean that you could see more of the web page and needed less scrolling. This new version appears to be the opposite! I teach older users and they find Explorer complicated enough and with everyone I come into contact with complaining about Office and it's rediculous ribbon being more difficult to use than previous versions. This is going to happen in a big way with this new maximalist version. I can see more and more people changing to a more simple viewable and usable browser.

khiatt
khiatt

Looks like the contents of the ribbon are all the various right-click menus, is that functionality still intact? If so, I'll probably minimize the ribon and never look at it again. I haven't used the menus since Win3.1

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

This looks more evolutionary than revolutionary. I was delighted to see the return of multiple windows in a single session, disappointed to see there's still no easy way to avoid Libraries, and I question putting network controls in Explorer. It looks mostly good, with nothing to really set my teeth on edge. Thanks for doing all the leg work.

andmark
andmark

Nice screen shots, significantly different OS interface. It may polarise the market with the Microsoft Office style ribbon. One of the assumptions that Microsoft made with previous menu layouts was the structure of the menus in the start button. You could move around the default if you didnt like it. Icons and selective text was another one. You could change it if you didnt like it. The ribbon has different sized buttons based on what Microsoft believes to be the relative importance of the function. If you use the functions with different frequency, can you change the default size of the button to reflect that usage? Interesting developments.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...in time, it appears that adding tags to files in Windows 8 works the same as it does in Windows 7. See my March article Tag your files for easier searches in Windows 7 (http://www.techrepublic.com/search?q=Tagging+files+for+easier+searches+in+Windows+7&e=1) But, as I mentioned in my article on the Contextual tabs, it appears that the not all the tabs are complete at this point in time--the Music/Video/Picture tabs-so it is very possible that in future releases we'll see the ability to tag documents appear in the Ribbon's contextual tabs. We'll just have to wait and see what the next release brings. On the other hand, in a recent blog post on the Build Windows 8 site, Steven Sinofsky encourages Windows users to continue making comments about Windows 8 in the forum Microsoft has set up. See : http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/14/best-place-to-discuss-windows-8.aspx

TG2
TG2

Hidden until mouse over? Are you f**king kidding me!? So what happens when the ribbon displays? Does the ribbon come down and overlay.. thereby hiding some of the files in the view pane? Or does the Ribbon cause a forced shift of the screen thereby causing less files to be seen and OH YEAH your eyes now have to re-find what we were looking at for the shift moved everything!?? You have to have one or the other if you don't account for the ribbon ON the screen at the time ... A laptop already has a finite amount of room to deal with.. so you add the ribbon *REGARDLESS* of microsoft having redesigned other elements to not lose some body view space for file names.. if you don't have the ribbon there AT ALL.. how many *more* lines get displayed THEN!?? Microsoft and their ribbon are trying to coddle to computer illiterates, at the cost of all the other 99% of us that have used computers from the day we were born, or the 99% of us that use them in their daily lives from early childhood until now.. If we had never seen a keyboard, or a computer, THEN there would be cause to ease someone into the computer world.. but we're not "that" any more.. we've had the DOS programs that wanted so desperately to be visually appealing that they created their OWN toolbars which bordered on the "ribbon-like" view.. and you know what? WE GOT RID OF THEM BECAUSE THEY WERE WASTEFUL ... Just like in high Fashion.. we see skirt lengths start at the ankles, then come up to just under crotch, and have seen them everywhere in between in a cyclic manner (comes up until someone says its too short, and then starts getting longer again, till someone wants to show more knee) .. now too, we see this in software.. microsoft going back to these ungodly, unreasonable interfaces and not just visually changing but changing the background methods for access.. up until Vista, users LEARNED that you right click a blank area of the desktop and you get access to pretty much everything display related under properties.. now they replace that and I can't get right into the tab for display resolution.. I've got to go through another icon or another level selection before I can actually accomplish the same task.. and not just in one right-click instance but MANY parts of the past "quick access" methods are gone or were "re-worked" and now add additional clicks to get the same function done! 2 or 3 times the clicking as before! How is that *more* productive? And office.. god do we really have to hash this all over again.. for someone starting out with office, maybe the ribbon is helpful.. but those of us that have used it every single day for the past 15 years.. how did WE stay as productive as the day before when now we're faced with NOT ONLY a ribbon that changed things, but then microsoft had to change what key combinations activate previously known functions!! (top of my head Alt+N for accounts in outlook became Alt+A sure seems more natural, but now I also don't get to have an underlined character display to help remind me I'm on a different version of outlook than the 3 versions and 12+ years before?) Why doesn't any of this get you people to the point of saying enough? Why do you people continue to let microsoft dictate what productivity is, when it should have been clear their moves only served to isolate the old hand, and coddle to the computer insecure and thus force us into a less productive cycle until we'd caught back up again?? WHY people.. WHY don't you see this? Microsoft should at the very least make sure every function is as it was before, giving access to a ribbon for those that are new, or standard menu structure as they've had for 15+ years so that people DONT have to guess at where a function is, and people DONT have to have their screen shifted for the sake of some display centric garbage.. and you people that DONT push back on microsoft are only giving them license to kill your productivity one program at a time.. when will you finally see this? when microsoft puts the ribbon on the copy dialog box? A box that's supposed to give you a rough estimate of what's going on, rather than a cancel button, what are they going to ribbonize there?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm amazed at the number of people who haven't figured out they can minimize the Ribbon. Right-click it and select "Shrink the Ribbon". It collapses down to the size of a regular tool bar.

djgaspar
djgaspar

I, too, teach older adults how to use computers, and since they use their laptop in a wireless environment in class, and in their homes, we currently have XP, Vista, and 7 O/S users, as well as Office 2003, 2007, and now 2010. Except for the 'savvy few' they seem to prefer composing their documents in Word without the bar, rather than with it. The BRAND-new participants, who never used 2003 [no bar], navigate fairly well.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

This is about the file management utility, not the web browser. If you liked the minimalist look of IE 8 and 9 then you're going to love IE 10, but that's not the 'Explorer' we're talking about.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...right clicking to access the context menus is stil available.

ksaldutti
ksaldutti

But really it doesn???t matter they will push on us what they believe we want not what we really want. They had their chance to give us a classic option in Office 7 but they are too deep in their commitment to ribbons. If Bill Gate was still in real charge we would have a classic option.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't know how I missed that one the first time around.

ksaldutti
ksaldutti

Your choices are very limited and just right clicking isn't near enough to having the choice of mutable custom tool bars that an individual may build to their productive tastes not MS tastes. Power users are restricted to twice as many clicks then before and the dummies are warm a fuzzy. MS is relentless to their ribbons because they laid a platform they can???t get out of with face. Not even a classic option will not save them now. I can???t count the professionals moving away from Windows. This will also hurt their Phone vision of the future.

David A. Pimentel
David A. Pimentel

The ribbon has been proven to me to be an egregious waste of screen real estate and very inefficient. Yes, one can minimize it, but then the its primary advertised function, of having the contextually-relevant buttons at hand, is made more cumbersome and frustrating. The Quick Access toolbar that is customizable is a poor attempt at user-specific customizations. If the ribbons are the ragem, then make EVERY ONE of them customizable with a user-defined default ribbon. There are typically a few commonly-used buttons spread across several ribbons, and that increases the clicking requirements. Add all that inconvenience to the fact that the button placements have changed with every release of Office, Windows, etc.since the ribbon was introduced in Windows 2007, and we have achieved a perfect storm of inefficiency. Microsoft's user-feedback-based design of the ribbons has once again demonstrated that there is no way to design a one-size-fits-all UI -- total customization and exportation of the same are key features that are missing. Before anyone accuses me of being a Microsoft detractor, know that I've been using Office and Windows in all variations since 1990. Don't even get me started on the pending desktop train wreck called WinRT.

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

@djgaspar Your findings about how new users having less difficulty with the Ribbon while existing users (those who worked with a pre-ribbon version of office) are not as happy with the ribbon is very common and I say that based on a larger number of articles and positing???s I've read and replied to over the past 2 years. Sadly Microsoft has chosen the ???Either change with the times or get left behind??? mindset regarding the large number of unhappy anti-ribbon users out there. While Microsoft has finally acknowledged that there is a measurable number of users who don???t like the ribbon they still refuse to admit just how big that group is and that many don???t simply dislike the ribbon but hate it. They spin at as being a few users who are having difficulty with changing to the more efficient and more effective ribbon interface. They also have yet to intelligently address the question of why is the Ribbon required and not optional? The excuse that supporting 2 different interfaces is weak since best practices in programming states you should not tightly couple your system. The interface (what the users sees) should not be tightly coupled with the behind the scenes code. For example if a user wants to perform a COPY operation then the place within the Office application window that you click to perform a COPY operation should be independent form the actual code behind the application that performs the copy operation. This approach is considered a ???Best Practices??? because it separates the interface (what the users sees and uses) from the business logic or code behind the scenes. If the Office application interfaces were designed this way then it would not matter if the user chose to use a Ribbon interface or the classic Menu & Buttons. I doubt Microsoft will ever own up to the mistake that they made when forcing the Ribbon down their users throats and refusing to make changes even after it was clear that more than a few users were unhappy with the Ribbon. What???s really odd about this move on their part is how counter logical it is. In a retail world you don???t typically respond to your customer base in this way when a change you make is so negatively received. In fact if this were any other industry (not software) I doubt the change would still remain uncorrected. Just look at what happened with the NEW COKE fiasco that Coca-Cola faced. It didn???t take long for them to correct their mistake by initially offering the CLASSIC COKE in addition to the NEW COKE and then later by dropping the NEW COKE all together.

ksaldutti
ksaldutti

MS is relentless to their ribbons because they laid a platform they cant get out of with face For the first time since the late 80s I will be spending my hard earnd money on a MAC.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

then don't call people fanboys. stevestrib had a complaint about the screen footprint of the Ribbon. I pointed out it could be minimized; nothing more or less. I said nothing about the QAT in response to him, nor did I say anything positive or negative about the Ribbon as compared to the previous toolbars. I can't speak to WinRT from the development side, but I agree that Metro from the user side of the screen doesn't look promising on a desktop.