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back to article Office 2010 tech preview: Expect the expected

Microsoft has released a technical preview of Office 2010. This is a pre-beta release intended for feedback, as well as promotion, so it's not feature-complete and may change before the final release planned for the first half of 2010. Nevertheless, it offers a fair guide to what Microsoft is planning for its ubiquitous office …

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SPARKLINES

"Excel also gets a new single-cell chart type called a Sparkline"

this is huge for everybody who creates scorecards in excel, I've been crying for years to get sparklines in excel without expensive add-ins

I would love to see if new Excel is going to improve OLAP support and Pivots. I've been told while back by Microsoft "friend" that there will improved OLAP support.

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Coat

Vb scripting is a bloody nightmare

scripts that work perfectly in 2003 fail and crash 2010 atm (but it is a technical preview)

Otherwise i really like it now going back to 2003 i really miss some of the layouts of outlook the conversation needs to be address and subject related just having subject was a tad annoying with 120 "no subjects" being bundled as 1 conversation.

Found the ribbon a bit of chore at first but can live with it

Will defiantly be purchasing this

skipping 2007,Vista

AC cause i got my copy off the back of a [strikthrough] truck [/s] rapidshare

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cool

Office 10 connects to cloud... Yet another way to own a windoze box.

"Individuals will get this feature via Windows Live, probably for free."

Free until a predetermined critical mass and a certain level of user dependency is achieved.

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a screenshot button

wow

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FAIL

Death to the Ribbon.

I dont mind how good or bad the suit gets, just GET RID OF THE RIBBON.

Used office 2007 for 6 weeks. now back on 2003.

Microsoft lost its mind completly when it changed the interface, just have a tick box that allows the "traditional" menus to be used and I would be happy to upgrade.

No menus, No upgrade

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Grenade

"gigabyte-size Excel spreadsheets"

Oh. My. God.

<- remove the pin, and this is what a gigabyte-size excel file looks like.

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Linux

And your point?

Maybe its the reviewer's choice of emphasis, but I really see very little here that someone can *do* with Office 2010 that they couldn't do with a previous version, or with Open Office. Yes they've changed the UI (again) so you will spend a month or so relearning how to suck eggs, and most of us will be forced to look at this version at some point because in a few months it won't be possible to buy any other version, but why should anyone upgrade?

Is it faster? Have they fixed any bugs? Is it cheaper?

Failing that, if you want a much cheaper Office system with a UI like the one you're used to in every other application in the known universe, you know where to find it.

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Scrambled files?

"To be fair, few users ever cared about XML formats themselves: it is only when documents get scrambled or fail to open that such things become important."

How is it more likely to scramble the writing of a binary data file than a (much larger) XML text file? I also wonder how well suited XML-based formats like ODF or Microsoft's equivalent are to safe incremental updates. Structured storage has evolved to do that, but XML is very sequential and can have nested opening and closing tokens spaced widely apart in a large document. All this seems to be more about politics than technology.

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N2

Double death to the ribbon

ditto, no menus no change.

As for expect the expected...

Does that mean Word crashing just before you click 'save' with the error: try freeing up some disk space or closing down some applications... despite you have 2Gb of ram and a terrabyte or so of hdd ready to be consumed by its bloat?

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Paris Hilton

clutter?

It this anything other than another way of adding clutter and another attempt at forcing cleartype on us?

Will Microsoft be respecting system settings in this version of Office. Somehow i doubt it, given no other has.

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Alert

OS Version Required

Perhaps I missed it but isn't there usually some version of windows required to run the latest MS-Office? What about backward compatibility of file formats with with earlier versions of Office??

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What's wrong with cleartype?

I find cleartype a wonder to use.

Fonts look so much, more [i]natural[/i] in XP with cleartype, without cleartype I would surely feel in the 90's, looks pixelated. Told 2 of my friends, they loved it too?

So what is wrong with cleartype my friend? Please don't take this as a flame, I'm just wandering what your angle on cleartype is :).

However, Office 2010 looks interesting, the conversation view will match up to Exchange OWA 2010 (Yes I'm 13 and I look at Office 2010, Exchange 2010, and am running Windows 7 RC1 right now. . .).

Im sure there are bug fixes but just remember, there is something decent (now matter how small) in every release.

For instance Vista (Don't flame about this its pathetic), the Game Browser was very handy, and pretty much all games new and old (Ceaser 3!) were detected and placed, and if not, simple, add them yourself. Copy + paste a shortcut, 2 minutes work creating the shortcut and placing it in yourself. Handy for when you're blind in the start menu.

XP, better security and a stable system. Rock solid. Still is. Vista not too bad, buggy at times, yet stable as XP in others.

Windows 7, *begin the very annoying Hannah Montana | Best Of Both Worlds Music*.

If you don't want to upgrade don't. I'm sure your companies still have 03/07 disks.

My thoughts, not opinions, do not wish to force them on anyone

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Anonymous Coward

Why?

What was wrong with Office 98? It all went downhill from there...

...animated dogs, stupidly HUGE executables, slower, millions of features nobody actually needs, groan.... oh, what's the point....

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Coat

wow! i can access my spreadsheet via the interwibble....

but then again, so too could any tom, dick or ahmed the terrorist....

so much for PC security, as we all know just how secure hotmail is, not forgetting that the NSA, CIA, the Chinese, the russians and any other Official goverment busy body wil be snooping on your data on a whim.

your choice, your data, on your pc, secure.

or it floating about on a server somewhere in the world just asking for any nosy git to take a peek or give it a poke and corrupt/delete at the drop of a hat or a power outage/natural disaster to take it offline for good...

mines the one....

with the USB security stick with all my uber important data backed up, in the pocket...

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wsm

Tech Preview, or not

The invitation site for Office 2010, run by CRG Events, has crashed. No invitations are being processed and registered users can't login.

A precursor?

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Stop

Missed the biggest question...

... is there a reason to upgrade from Office 97 yet?

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Go

The ribbon

It's not really that bad. Yes it's different, and takes some getting used to, but my ONLY 2 real complaints with the ribbon are 1) it's not fracking customizable!!!, and 2) there's not a "favorites" ribbon, placing all of my most used tools and buttons on a single ribbon space while leaving them intact on their normal ribbons. Also being able to show/hide ribbons (even context sensitive, which would be prefered) would be a nice trick, but i don't miss that it;s not there.

Also, since 90% of screens are now ridescreen, being able to move the ribbon to the side of the screen instead of the top should be an option. It's simply too much real estate to be on top...

In 2010 Microsoft is claiming it is customizable but "that feature may not remain with the production release" If they're not adding customizability to the ribbon, i won;t be going to 2010. I am stuck in 2007 now, but only because Excel is SO much of an improvement over 2003, and Visio added a few nice tricks too.

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Video in a word doc!

That's enough to motivate me to buy a colour printer.

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Am I the only person to hate the ribbon?

As an admin I have once had 2007 inflicted on me when my PC died and I picked up a new one in replacement.

That morning a photocopier rolled over and died and I needed to print a simple piece of paper with directions to the next nearest copier on it. After spending the best part of an hour getting steadily more frustrated searching through the new GUI to make some fairly simple changes (the only reason I got most things done is because over the past ten years I have lots of keyboard shortcuts memorised!) I gave up before my blood boiled and downloaded openoffice instead. The job took around 30 seconds in OpenOffice because I could actually use the GUI.

Now, I don't know about anybody else, but I am not using a copy of 2007, or anything that includes that GUI. I did a contract with my local NHS trust recently, and they'd taken the same stance. Moreover, I know at least two other companies that have abandoned office for OOO simply because trying to use the ribbon decimates productivity and causes unnecessary aggravation.

Now, that's just my little view of what I can see around me. Is that all that unusual?

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FAIL

Will they fix Excel's inaccuracies?

Perhaps Microsoft will finally fix the errors Excel's statistical functions - errors that have been there since Excel 4 and reported anew on each version. Anyone interested in knowing why using Excel for statistical analysis is a very bad idea and is to be avoided at all costs should read Computational Statisticas & Data Analysis, volume 52, number 10 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/csda/journal/01679473) or David Heiser's comprehensive web site: http://www.daheiser.info/excel/frontpage.html

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MrT
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Boffin

Screenshot button??

So a software version of the 'PrntScrn' button on your keyboard, which snapshots the whole screen when pressed? And for those who just want the 'window in focus', use 'Alt-PrntScrn' instead...

That'll work for about 95% of the time - for the rest, cropping the image in Word or Paint usually does the trick.

Now, if they're talking about something that can crop an area of a document when zoomed out, but then still allow it to be zoomed in whilst still showing all the detail, without turning into a random mosaic, that might be useful. But then again, a bit of electronic cut'n'paste with different crops usually works fine.

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Ahyes, the cloud

"'I wouldn't give up the full capabilities of my Office applications on my PC,' says Office product manager Monica Mendoza. 'But isn't it great to know that you can access your Office files from anywhere, directly in a browser?'"

Oh, yes sir! It's absolutely fabulous to know that I can access my important, filled-with-personal-info-and-company-secrets documents from anywhere, directly in a browser. It's nice to know that I don't have to worry about those mundane details like security, access rights, and backups. It's very comforting to know that if I lose my document, there's probably someone out there who cracked the system and has already downloaded all of my documents, and will be more than happy to sell them back to me. Long live the cloud!

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FAIL

Bugs fixed?

I hated the transition to office2003. The new way to handle styles was horrid. New ways to 'flow' pictures and captions numbered out of sequence. Anchoring pictures to the paragraph horizo- ntally but the page vertically. TOC formatting even more broken than before. Yuk. Did it convert frames to text boxes? No. It just stubbornly put them in stupid places. Page flow that respects footers for text but dumps pictures over them. Ugh.

I doubt any of this is fixed.

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OpenXML

"As for Open XML, it's notable that Microsoft neglects to mention it at all in its Reviewer's Guide, even though this is supposedly the release that will fully implement ISO/IEC 29500. It is odd how this has gone from a cause to campaign for, to not-worth-mentioning in just over a year. To be fair, few users ever cared about XML formats themselves: it is only when documents get scrambled or fail to open that such things become important."

Actually, it's not odd at all. "Open XML" was pushed as a "standard" only because certain governments, such as the State of Massachusetts, mandated that government documents had to conform to open standards, and ODF was an open standard. That meant that the government could use OpenOffice, but because Microsoft Office did not support any open standards, the use of Microsoft Office would not be allowed. To get around this, Microsoft fast-tracked "Office Open XML" through ECMA (as opposed to taking the proper path through ISO), bribing various panel members to give it an affirmative vote. Now that Microsoft Office technically supports an "open" "standard", governments requiring the use of said standards are allowed to use Microsoft Office. As such, no further marketing of this "feature" is required.

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"Now that Microsoft Office technically supports an "open" "standard", "

No, it doesn't. It fracking well doesn't. At all. Even their friggin' own half-baked pretense of a "standard". Actually Office doesn't even technically support the fracking _draft_ of the standard, the one that was written to match what MSoffice already does, which was the reason why it could be crowbared in the fast-track process (appart from humongous bribes, that is). Word of the street is it's because no-one at MS knows how their software works (when it works, that is).

In any case, this "standard" thing was, is and will always be a giant scam.

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Paris Hilton

@ MrT

All these years I have been working with Office products and creating occasional screenshots that were then cropped in Word or Powerpoint to show just one window ...and I only had to press 'Alt-PrntScrn'!!!! You learn something new everyday. Thanks MrT :-)

Paris ...because even she probably knew about this shortcut before me.

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mh.
Badgers

Another pointless upgrade

Problem with Office is that there's only so many ways you can rejig a word processor, slide drawing programme and email client. A lot of it is window dressing, and I've never understood why the Office team seems to have carte blanche to ignore the Windows interface guidelines. I think the last version that followed them was the version for Windows 3.1 with Word 6 and Excel 5. However there are a couple of things that Office could do that would be a massive improvement. One is a decent page-based drawing package (instead of Powerpoint, or Word's drawing functions which have a habit of putting things everywhere except you want them). A cut down version of Visio with just a few basic stencils might be an idea.

The other thing is Excel. Most corporates don't bother with the more expensive version of Office which includes Access so they try using Excel as a database or even a programming environment instead. As a software developer with an interest in grown up databases this keeps me in work but it is a pain doing Excel -> RDBMS stuff (be it SQL Server, Oracle or something else). What might work is an Excel front end to SQL Server Express that looks enough like Excel to keep the bean counters and project managers happy, but with proper data integrity and validation so you don't get people trying to put commas in numbers or confusing thousands with millions. You could also get SQL Express to replace the Jet database backend in Access rather than be an alternative to make it much more powerful and make it easier to migrate to the full version. It's also about time they finally got copy & paste to behave in Excel the same way that it does in every other Windows application. I've been using Excel since version 4 (in 1992) and it's never got it right. Excel is OK for financial modelling and charting but it just isn't a database.

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Arse

"It is hard to get excited about Office 2010"

It's just as hard for any version post 2003. It's quite telling that MS needs to blackmail businesses onto the new versions by removing support for the old ones knowing full well it will then provide a failure point for internal and external audits. Pricks.

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FAIL

Office out, Openoffice in

So it seems like time to go 100% Openoffice when Office 2003 is too old. I was still hoping M$ would give an option to have a normal interface in office 2010, but it seems sadly no.

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MrT
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@ James Milner

You're welcome! It'll save a few minutes of time.

One thing that it doesn't help on is screenshots of menu options being chosen - when the Alt key is pressed the menu will close, so those are definitely times when the old method is needed.

IIRC Adobe included a snapshot option in the full Acrobat product a long while ago and I often wondered why they were just giving us what Windows already had covered - same now with Office 2010. Maybe even MS have run out of really useful new features so are opting to rehash existing OS toys as a way of boosting sales...

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Coat

@ Michael C

But it *is* customisable - more so than 2003's menu and toolbars ever were. That's what RibbonX is for.

Blimey! I'm sticking up for MicroSnot. Mine's the one with the little red pills in the pocket. No, just the pills please... NOW!!!

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FAIL

That fscking ribbon

When are MS gonna learn, PEOPLE DON'T WANT THE DAMN RIBBON! I had to use Office 07 for a year and no, it's not just a matter of "getting used to it" - I hated the damn thing just as much after a year of use as I did when I was first forced to use it. Where I work now there's still a modicum of sanity, we still use Office 2000 (well, OK, they still use Office 2K, I use OOo).

And gigabyte sized Excel files? No. Just no. The absolute last thing we need is users being allowed to make larger files. I want an office suite that has an admin login with a big button to press that will automatically bitchslap the users and yell at them to manage the size of their damn data.

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Stop

@tony gregory

thanks for linking to an article which plainy says that nearly all of the errors are that of user input.

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Oh gosh! oh golly gee!

I so, so exited, why do I need this?

How will it make my life better?

Come on any body give me a reason!

(That's a good solid business reason, not an accusation that I'm some kind of Luddite)

So far, and I probably use more of Office than most people, I haven't really detected any benefits in a new version of Office since Word went GUI. (Well perhaps since 95). I seriously doubt, that any productivity bonus that 2007 gave me will be made up with time I've wasted looking for all the stuff that moved about.

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Go

menu screenshots

@ MrT:

Just hold down Alt, open the menu with the keyboard shortcut, select your menu entry with the arrow keys, and then press print screen (while still holding Alt).

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Gates Horns

Little by little

Please can I just have word-wrap in the Outlook calendar month view? Is it too much to ask for? How many overpriced micro-updates am I going to have to pay for to get my crumb of useful improvement this time?

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Des
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@Am I the only person to hate the ribbon? #

Are you sure you work in IT? Don't take it too personally, but spending an hour searching the ribbon to make some "simple changes" to a document seems a bit excessive. After all, the Ribbon is just a menu that looks a bit different and AFAIK shortcuts still work; CTRL-B, CTRL-U, etc.

If you're really struggling to adapt to the Ribbon you could download Search Commands http://www.officelabs.com/projects/searchcommands/Pages/default.aspx # start typing what it is you want to do and it'll display matching and related commands.

I for one welcome our Ribbon Overlords

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Des
Gates Halo

@@Am I the only person to hate the ribbon? #

Forgot to mention... if you're stuck on Office 2003, the leap [sic] to Office 2007 could be bridged with the aid of the Interactive: Word 2003 to Word 2007 command reference guide http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA100744321033.aspx

Of course this is based on the assumption that you've already made the bold step of installing Adobe Flash Player 7.0 or later... :O

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discovery

Of course the main mistake is like any company M$ expects the user to read the manual. In 2003 you could surf the menus looking for a feature or even see a menu option and go "I wonder what that does" finding a new tool that you can use next time.

However the ribbon removes all discovery from the process and you get set in your ways with just a few tools, perhaps googling for the other things you really need.

There you go the ribbon increases the revenue of google...

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@ Des

Yes, as I said in my previous comment that's how I did the rest of the job. However, as far as I know nobody has ever done a keyboard shortcut for changing the page layout from portrait to landscape and i'm pretty sure that's not in the ribbon, I systematically went through the entire thing.

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FAIL

For your average home user....

Google docs will do, or open office - can't see any reason why I would need to use microsoft office.

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Coat

Manual? I don't need no friggin manual

Just bring Clippit back!

I for one moved to Vigor when they killed my lil' paperclip friend...

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Anonymous Coward

@Peter2

No, in fact the majority of users that I have encountered hate it, and I mean HATE it! Then again - it's not as bad as you think, it's just not what you are used to. Not having a dig, honest! From a usability stand point, the ribbon is a much better paradigm than menus IMHO - it's just got a bit of a learning curve. A typical user can be productive on in about half an hour. With hind sight, an option for a "classic mode" and some simple video tutorials might have been a good idea! Autodesk managed to implement a similar interface, with a classic mode, and the ability to customise and save different works spaces really well in AutoCAD 2009 and improved upon it in 2010.

@Article; PowerPoint will still be utter shite, I'm sure. As for the rest - steady improvement and an interesting UI development. It's what they are really good at.

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Flame

Google's and Linux's Best Friend

Every time MS comes out with a 'new' product more people look elsewhere for what they really want. And I hate the 'Ribbon' too. Office 2007 did more to bring people to Google docs and Open Office than anything else.

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Anonymous Coward

Not another relearining curve

From MSOffice 2003 to MSOffice2007 was too painful after our employer "upgraded", gave it 2-3 months and gave up on it and found switching to OpenOffice was MUCH easier. Had to get a "research exception" box with CentOS (Linux) on it as the WIn Help Desk folks are uptight about "unproven software" on the Windows boxes (guess I would be too), where as the Linux helpdesk folks are pretty open minded about FOSS. Now, I am so over this upgrade treadmill. This OO rocks too, started using the advanced features, technical dissertation, on the fly. It is feature lean compare to the bloated MS Office, but it has the right stuff and it screams along...kudos to Sun on this one.....

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interesting

the responses here are very interesting ... no to be rude, but classic IT is talking. None of you are using MS Office for more than 5 minutes a week and you talk crap about it.

MS Office 2007 is really solid product, once you get used to ribbons it will speed up your daily tasks, new excel graphs and pivot table are strong excel improvements. New features in Office 2010 are so far really promising (there are few videos out there).

just because it's Microsoft product does not mean it's crap, MS Office is probably the best MS product out there. Whoever starts comparing it to OpenOffice, Google Docs or says that MS Office 97 is the same seriously does not use this product daily.

You should ask finance group in your companies what they really think about Excel vs any other solution out there. Every time we did an upgrade, we received mostly very positive feedback. That's what I care about.

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Paris Hilton

@ What's wrong with cleartype?`

It gives me eyestrain. I just can't look at a screen with it turned on for more than 30 seconds.

Also, if i have it turned off in my system settings it should be off everywhere, not turned on because someone else likes it.

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Megaphone

Can Outlook 2010 do Print Selection yet?

And if not why not? Talk about required functionality - I mean I don't want to print a 20 page email trail just to print some directions from mid-way through. And I shouldn't have to copy+paste to Word, afterall it's meant to be the Word 'rendering engine' that's getting everyone's back up (again!).

I have plenty of clients still avoiding Office 2007 due to the ribbon, it's a learning curve employers just don't need. I really wish they made them optional at least in 2010, really it can't be hard.

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MrT
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@ Rock Lobster, plus ribbon uptake

And there's my new thing learned! It is true what 'they' say... Cheers! ;-D

And on the subject of the ribbon, I think it was a bold move by MS to not include an option to revert to 2003 menus. IIRC MS made it open licensed, so anyone else could opt-in to the look'n'feel of Office by switching their apps to use it.

Embrace. Extend. Extinguish. Resistance is futile. "Yes, we are all individual", and so on and so forth...

Except to my knowledge no-one else outside MS has bought into this 'new paradigm'...

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to @Joel Mansford

"I have plenty of clients still avoiding Office 2007 due to the ribbon, it's a learning curve employers just don't need."

really? plenty of clients? When I first saw ribbon I loved it, when I first tried it I screamed and did not like it at all. It took me maybe a week to get into it. Now I love it, it's so much easier to use ribbons. Yes it's difficult for somebody who was used to old Excel for 6 years, I'm really glad they did this switch.

the only complain I get from MS Office 2007 vs MS Office 2003 is Excel. Thanks to it's increased size limitation, it's much slower. There should be an option to pre-select number of rows/columns you might need. Most of the users need few thousand rows. It's not that common to have 500k rows (not that rare, but not common)

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