Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Devolution of Microsoft Office 2007

Yikes! I think I'll skip this upgrade until the world, or some of the editors I work for, make me do it.

From Slate:
First reaction: They changed everything! Office 2007 deletes the old toolbars and menus at the top of the screen and replaces them with the Ribbon, an overlapping set of tabs that regroups each application's functions into graphical tools rather than text-driven menus. Still photos don't do the Ribbon justice. Watch this movie to see it in action. Even better, download a free 60-day trial of Office 2007—don't worry, it won't disable your existing Office software.

The Ribbon mimics the tabbed interfaces of the Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 browsers. It looks cool, but it took me most of five minutes to find, set, and test the Track Changes options my editor expects. As my deadline loomed, I panicked when I couldn't find the option to save in Office 2003 format. It was hiding behind a new jewellike logo in the upper left corner called the Office Button.

Microsoft's reviewer's guide makes clear that all of the keystroke commands you know and love are still here. That will assuage speed-typing accountants who might otherwise refuse to switch. But as nice as the Ribbon and other user-interface upgrades are, it's only natural that most users will react with annoyance rather than wonder when they find out they can't switch to some kind of "Classic mode" in order to finish a write-up that was due 20 minutes ago (like this one).

Read the whole review.

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