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back to article Microsoft to announce new Office version on Monday

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is widely expected to announce details of the next version of the Microsoft Office productivity suite on Monday USA Today reports, giving the public its first glimpse of a product that has so far remained shrouded in secrecy. Microsoft has been calling the new version "Office 15," but come Monday we' …

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Anonymous Coward

I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

As people try, in vain, to do what was easy ten years ago.

Mr B: People do not want their office software transformed. We just want to use it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

No, clearly people want another new format (because OpenOffice can now open the previous one) and people have also been demanding a flashy UI that is virtually unusable and frustrates the hell out of people who then can't find things without extensive retraining that apparently Microsoft believes businesses actually provide.

Next target will be the keyboard shortcuts because residual productivity is retained between versions by knowing them.

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Re: I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

"As people try, in vain, to do what was easy ten years ago."

You find moving each letter in Word with your finger (or mouse if you're old fashioned) difficult? The new MetroWord LetterTile UI is so much more intuitive. We gave our focus group a scrabble set and they could still Tweet, so what's the problem?

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Re: I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

Well said! I know theres no chance of the ribbon going until it's replaced by something more ridiculous. I understand and respect some people find the ribbon easier, but would it have killed them to leave menus as an option you could switch between? I haven't upgraded office in years (getting on for decades soon) and they're making it less attractive as they go.

New is not better by default.

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Re: I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

> I know theres no chance of the ribbon going until it's replaced by something more ridiculous.

The 'Knot'?

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Facepalm

Great

They will mess with this and cause untold irritation, where's this gone where's that gone....

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Headmaster

It took me

It took me three years to work out the ribbon, it'll take me five to find the icon!

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Unhappy

Re: I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

Re: I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

> I know theres no chance of the ribbon going until it's replaced by something more ridiculous.

"The 'Knot'?"

Nope. The ribbon - now in Möbius strip form!

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Trollface

Re: I expect it will remain shrowded in secrecy

"theres no chance of the ribbon Microsoft going until it's replaced by something more ridiculous."

Fixed that for you.

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JDX
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It took me three years to work out the ribbon

I really don't think you should boast about that.

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Anonymous Coward

Another excuse to hide the Search/Replace / import from csv another tools in interesting but annoying ways.

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It'll follow the Windows 8 trend

They'll get rid of the Save button, as they've noticed their sample of power-users prefer to press Ctrl-S, and their younger demographic doesn't understand the significance of the floppy disc symbol.

I would use the Joke Alert icon, but a nagging part of me thinks this might actually happen

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Re: It'll follow the Windows 8 trend

You've got to find the fucking thing first! I'm still stuck in the "Start" menu/ribbon/dildo. I can do all kinds of things not related to "start" like format text, but save the damn stuff? No chance!

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Pint

"They'll get rid of the Save button"

Well we are all so used to the autosave feature in Google docs by now, they probably feel the need to copy this feature.

I'll be upgrading as soon as it's free. And available on Ubuntu.

Glass of wine anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "They'll get rid of the Save button"

Better yet -- never close any document once it is created. Leave them all open to consume more and more memory and require more and faster processors.........

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JC_
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@Roger Greenwood

Well we are all so used to the autosave feature in Google docs by now, they probably feel the need to copy this feature.

When was the first time you used Word? Last week? Word 2.0, from 1991, had it...

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FAIL

"I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

Oh my God, they've created something even worse than the ribbon!

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Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

Yes, no more keyboard input, they have created an interface that utilises webcams, kinect style, and each letter has its own YMCA style pose (you'd probably get quite fit writing a report!). All functions require you to memorise a ten digit touch gesture, if you don't have a touch screen you are stuffed.

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Stop

Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

All you people nagging about ribbon should just cool it cause in any way you look at it you are plainly wrong.

The bottom line of what you are proposing is to stop evolution. I understand that learning an old dog new tricks is hard, but does that mean we should stop coming up with new tricks even for the young dogs? This is just the price of age. Ribbon IS better but it is probably not the best fit for you. At some point in order to go forward a radical change is needed because the old method can't be evolved any more. It's reached its peak. Look at Win 3.11 as opposed to DOS, KDE 4 and KDE 3, Unity and Gnome, and the list goes on and on and on...

Just get over yourselves and realize that it is not MS that has the problem but you... New kids that never learned the menu system, work better with ribbon. Kids that learned the-not-so-old ribbon, are not too old to transit to another totally different model. That's the way it is and that's the way it should be.

You don't like it? Stick to Win XP and stop nagging or go buy a book and adapt.

PS: I am a hardcore Linux user since its veeeery early years so I have no liking to MS whatsoever and I wont be upgrading any of my non-MS boxes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

What is your evidence that the ribbon is better?

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Flame

Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

Nice troll Crashtest. Perhaps you would care to support your argument with reason rather than just appealing to the notion that any change must be for the good.

The way evolution works is to move towards an optimum for a particular environment. <car analogy>Cars evolved to having steering wheels (from tillers) that made the car go right when turned clockwise by about 1900 and stayed that way since. You are going to tell us that in your car you have reversed the steering wheel direction or replaced it by buttons let and right in the roof that you hit with your head, because to be different must be better? </car analogy>

Actually, there have been quite a few comments that in many ways Windows 8 looks like a reversion to Windows v3.1, not an evolution.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

"the bottom line of what you are proposing is to stop evolution"

The only thing that what Microsoft is doing has in common with evolution is that "Darwin Awards" contains the word Darwin.

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Linux

Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

I bet that you're one of those Gnome3 developers.

(I'm running XFCE now, you guys should be proud)

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Meh

Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

What is your evidence the Ribbon is NOT better?

I think it is far more intuitive than the old task bar & the Ribbon is easy to customize. You did realize you could customize it, didn't you?

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Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

Customize, yes, great, because what you really want in a corporate environment is for everybody to use a different interface.

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By "transformational" do they mean

another file format that will require an office upgrade in order to open/view/edit other people's documents? The last one was ballache enough.

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Linux

Re: "I think this is the most transformational release I've worked on!"

What exactly is your proof that ribbon is not better other than you yourself not being able to adapt?

My proof, as I wrote in my first post also, is comparing how easy it is for young students to learn each version. Ribbon is far more intuitive unless you are trying to make it be what it is not... the menu system. That conclusion is derived from personal experience, teaching for years to people of all ages as a side-job.

Not all change is better of course, but following your car analogy try and read about the early ages. How the pedals and the steering were not standardized and so many different designs came out. You like it or not, we are still in the early ages of computing (especially when talking about UI design); electronics have a history of less than a century, while mechanics (including cars, starting from carriages) go back thousands of years.

In any way, I don't have to convince you, just find anyone who has really learned ribbon and compete.

By the way, I'm having a real hard time with it too. That's why I always keep libreoffice even on windows boxes that come with office. That doesn't mean that I wont recognize that it's my inability to adapt that is at fault and not the interface itself.

In the end don't mind me, I'd been a KDE2 and then KDE3 user that was positively amazed by KDE4; that was KDE v4.1. So according to popular opinions on these boards, something is seriously wrong with me.

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Pirate

no hope

I'm sorry, but any microsoft software is doomed for me. The better it is, the less I want to be tied into it. I cant see any way back for them, just a steady decline now. Maybe a rapid one if PC business goes the way RIM and nokia did. Perhaps android could grow into a desktop linux in the next 5 years. Imagine the terror at redmond?

Apple annoys me at times, but they havent got me looking for the exit yet.

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Meh

Re: no hope

What you taking?

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Pint

Near-beer.

>> I'm sorry, but any microsoft software is doomed for me. The better it is, the less I want to be tied into it.

That logic would doom any alternative software product or service to the category of second-rate.

Because as soon as it became competitive, to chose it would mean that you would locked in just as tight.

Microsoft sells solutions for clerical work that scale to an enterprise of any size.

Small gains in productivity in the office --- which are damn hard to come by --- can add up to real savings down the road.

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FAIL

Re: Near-beer. "Small gains in productivity in the office"

OK, show us the small gains ... and we'll be pleased yo add them up.

Otherwise ... empty words.

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Go

"Small gains in productivity in the office ..."

Name one, and be specific complete with cost versus benefit analysis that includes a summation by year of avoided costs and a payback period.

The problem you're going to have, one of them, is quite often new products are introduced before any calculated payback period completes. Small gains you see .... small gains.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Near-beer. "Small gains in productivity in the office"

> OK, show us the small gains ... and we'll be pleased yo add them up.

Oh, I don't know. Here are a few productivity boosters I've come across...

^t to transpose the last two letters (if you've types teh instead of the, for instance). Alt t does the same for words and ^x t does it for lines.

^x n n to narrow to a region so all your global (ish) search and replace and reformatting is restricted to just where you want it (^x n w to "widen" again after)

alt / to autocomplete (cycles through all previous words with the same prefix; also works after a word)

abbrev-mode to save typing on common expressions (like fwiw, atm, otoh, etc.). Put in common misspellings that you make to have them corrected (teh, embarrased, whatevar)

^x r m to mark a bookmark at the current point and file, ^x r b to jump to a saved bookmark

^x 2 to split screen into two horizontal panes, ^x 3 to split vertically, ^x 1 to go back to single pane view

^x o to jump to the other (next) pane in a multi-pane display (a good one to assign a keystroke like keypad-enter to)

^ space to set a mark (one end of a region) ^x x to jump back to it (previous point then becomes the mark)

Alt c capitalise word at point (or the region, if set); alt -c capitalises last word (also u and l for all upper and all lower case)

alt $ spellcheck current word

alt a, alt e jump to start/end of this/next logical section (paragraph)

^x (, ^x ) define a keyboard macro, ^x e to execute it (or alt number ^x e to do it that many times)

^x tab indent region by default amount (or prefix with alt number for a particular delta)

I don't know about you, but all these features are great time-savers for me. I'm sure I could go on, but I think you get the point.

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Small gains in productivity in the office

Such as those created by changing your entire UI (learned by your entire customer base over many years) for something completely different?

Then claiming your new "ribbon" is somehow better?

Perhaps you could explain to those of us still trying to find functions on the ribbon how it makes us more efficient compared to using the old menu system we knew and loved. At least tell us how to say "no, thanks" and continue using the old menu system...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Near-beer. "Small gains in productivity in the office"

So, the only way to be productive with office is to use lots of Control-keys?

Why don't we just start using Wordstar or Emacs again? I always found ctrl-keys a lot easier than having to drag the mouse round and click on menus.....

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Re: Near-beer. "Small gains in productivity in the office"

On the basis of your examples,presumably all Word users should migrate to Vi as that would tremendously increase their productivity?

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DN4

Re: Near-beer. "Small gains in productivity in the office"

So it's progressing to EMACS-style keyboard controls (except with different key combos)? That's encouraging, within the next 20 years they might get to the vi-style and then the thing can perhaps become usable...

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Bronze badge

Re: Small gains in productivity in the office

Due to a change in job, I've had to go back to using Office 2003. Finding anything in there is a complete nightmare, I can't even begin to imagine how I used to manage it. By comparision, finding anything in the Ribbon UI is relatively simple and, in the most pathalogical worst case, requires clicking through about ten tabs. I can't even begin to count the number of menus, sub-menus, dialogs, task panes and toolbars where things are just buried in Office 2K3.

It takes a little getting used to at first, but once you do there really is no going back.

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Linux

Re: Small gains in productivity in the office

"It takes a little getting used to at first, but once you do there really is no going back."

I can go back and forth and I have no issues, you must be one of those people who dislikes change (sarcasm)

Mine is the copy of LibreOffice which is getting better by the minute.

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Silver badge

I just want a word processor and spreadsheet dammit!

For anyone who just has basic requirements, I strongly suggest not shelling out and trying the freebie version they are now giving away. I have full paid for Office on my Mac, but the PC that sits next to it has the freebie ad supported version that Dell pre-installed. I don't even notice the advertising!

Or you could try Open Office, but since I had MS Office on the Mac anyway it made sense to at least try the bundled free version on the Windows 7 box. Works just fine for my basic requirements!

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Anonymous Coward

Personally I think Microsoft should consider the possibility that large-scale 'transformational' updates are bad. Yes, progress is good, but progress in small chunks can be much better. There's less risk of compatibility problems, problems that do occur should be small and relatively easy to fix, users only have to adapt to these small changes each update so no huge "oh my god everything's changed" moments, and best of all - new features/changes can be rolled out quickly. Look at how long it takes for something that Microsoft puts into IE to actually be usable (when they actually get anything right, I've been playing with postMessage recently and it seems they've managed to completely screw THAT up too)

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Anonymous Coward

That would be pointless.

"less risk of compatibility problems, problems that do occur should be small and relatively easy to fix, users only have to adapt to these small changes each update so no huge "oh my god everything's changed" moments,"

That would be pointless. Where would the profit opportunities be for the Certified Microsoft Dependent ecosystem which is a significant part of what keeps MS going? No need for Microsoft Certified Trainers to show where everything moved to, no need for IT to hire an army of contractors and consultants to update various essential business processes, no need for IT to throw away vast quantities of perfectly workable desktop hardware, no market opportunity for "Office 2013 for Dimwits", and so on.

Change is good. Change brings revenue. Revenue brings profit (for the middlemen).

End users? Business benefits? Who gives a fork about them?

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Give me proper menus back...

...or I'm not remotely interested.

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Re: Give me proper menus back...

What's wrong with the idiot ribbon that takes up 30% of the screen space just to show you stupid shit all the time, that you almost never ever want, need or have to use...

Dammit I had a perfectly good custom word.DOT template sorted out that had everything I needed via Alt-(letter) in one teeny menu bar..... across the top of the screen.... printer, scanner, zoom page height or width, OCR, as well as the other regular menus....

But Noooooooo thanks to the dumb arseholes in Microsoft - Office 2007 came along, and wasted 30% of the valuable screen area on STUPID shit I did not need to be looking at, instead of the document contents that I did need to be looking at, with NO way to regain the plain menu system - Well I threw those Office 2007 CD's in the bin....

After Office 2003 - the stupidity and bullshit rendered their software intractably unusable.....

Still - no more sales ever again to Microsoft = no skin off my nose....

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@ed2020 - Maybe you involuntarily cracked it

"...or I'm not remotely interested."

The box the floppies will come in will also contain a remote, so you don't need to waste time doing whatever you do with the tiles. Transformational indeed.

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Re: Give me proper menus back...

It was flipping retarded of them to introduce the ribbon, especially at the time when most screens shrunk in height.

Why not introduce a pie-menu instead? (hold L Mousebutton and drag N, NE, E etc, giving very rapid access to eight functions)

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Re: Give me proper menus back...

Opera does this already :-)

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Bronze badge

Re: Die Ribbon! - getting menus back

There are at least two plugins for this, free (more precisely, open for donations). One is german, the other chinese. I think the latter is slightly better but chinese software downloaded anon makes me nervous.

Not perfect but better than the ribbon (AKA noose)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Die Ribbon!

They screwed up with the ribbon forcing people to relearn much of the product and now after all of that work they'll throw that all away and force a touch screen UI on people even if they're not using a touch screen device?

The sad thing is people will have to use it if they've spend a long time developing Excel code to do some complex analysis. It is the favourite tool in the NHS for doing all sorts of calculations.

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