Last week, I called into our TechRepublic recording studio
to participate in a roundtable discussion on first
impressions of Office 2007 Beta 2. I've just barely dipped a toe in this
beta, but I can tell it's going to be fun to splash around. I don't know about
actually USING it, however; I'm already feeling a little cantankerous at the
prospect of the software trying to spoon-feed me prefab document elements and decidingwhat options I need while limiting my power to push things around.
For those who haven't sampled the beta for themselves, we've
put together a ton of photo gallery images that show, among other things,
Office 2007's option-packed "ribbon," which is supposed to rescue users
from the confounding dilemma of deciding which menu to haul open in search of a
way to achieve a task. I continue to be struck by the irony that Microsoft has
decided to combat the problem of feature overkill by ADDING MORE FEATURES. Of course,
the design changes are supposed to turn feature-bloat into feature-rich. Anyonebuying that?
Beta 2 photo galleries:
Along with the gallery images, you might want to check out
the podcast to hear a few opinions on what the drastic UI changes may mean for
users, what the pricing/licensing structure may mean for organizations, and how
the new version is likely to be received.
If you listen carefully, you'll also hear my dog Reuben offering his thoughts (squirrel, truck, kibble).
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 features editor for Tech Pro Research.