If your doing analysis in Excel then you're doing it wrong.*
*Unless it's only for data collection and you know the limits of the accuracy of Excel. :P
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 …
If your doing analysis in Excel then you're doing it wrong.*
*Unless it's only for data collection and you know the limits of the accuracy of Excel. :P
Sucks if you're already proficient and know where every function is located under the File Menu, but for new or intermittent users Ribbon is much more intuitive and much faster compared to looking through the file Menu until you find what you're looking for.
"Ribbon is much more intuitive and much faster compared to looking through the file Menu"
Here's how you insert a field:
"Click where you want to insert a field."
"On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Quick Parts, and then click Field."
Very intuitive once you know you know that fields are hidden inside Quck Parts. I could go on. And on.
Correct, and if you don't want to see it all the time, just right-click and select 'Minimize the Ribbon' (you've now got more screen real estate than you did under the old menu system). Plus, you have the 'Quick Access Toolbar' for one-click access to all your commonly used functions.
Moan about MS as much as you like (I certainly do), but they spend millions every year on usability research. When they introduce a new feature, such as the ribbon, it's the result of hundreds of hours of testing and monitoring the reactions of both new and experienced users to the revised interface.
I'm an intermittent user. It baffles the crap out of me. I had no problem with Word 2. It's only acquaintances who use it a lot who seem to like it.
One thing I have noticed is that it degrades disgracefully by hiding things behind arrows. Full screen 1600 x to half-screen (for document next to document comparison). Dreadful.
> monitoring the reactions of both new and experienced users to the revised interface.
But do they keep or throw away the stuff that causes reactions similar to the one I lately had with certain shrimps sourced from a greek "restaurant"?
"Very intuitive once you know you know that fields are hidden inside Quck Parts."
Yeah, exactly "once you know". So therefore not intuitive to new users at all then when compared to Ribbon. My point wasn't that it's not easy once you know what you're doing, I already conceded that. My point is that Ribbon is better for new and irregular users, and your post just highlights that fact further.
"Sucks if you're already proficient and know where every function is located under the File Menu"
Like, oh I dunno, maybe 95% of their user-base, and almost certainly over 99% of their target market for *upgrades*. Remember, if you are the monopoly player, you already have a product that would do for shipping with new PCs. The only way to justify the development costs of a second version is *upgrade* sales.
I agree, they do expend a lot of effort on usability testing - for which I upvoted you.
I just wish the outcome of their testing would match my expectations of the software interface.
Perhaps I should have ticked yes to supply Office feedback data, and told MS that I didn't like the optins they left under the right-click - in which case I have also to blame myself I guess.
"Like, oh I dunno, maybe 95% of their user-base"
Yup, I never disputed that. My only point was that I do think if you look at it objectively then Ribbon is actually better than most people are giving it credit for. As is always the case whenever Microsoft makes some sort of UI changes, the resentment just stems from the fact people are being forced to change habits, rather than the actual merits of the changes themselves (which as someone else pointed out are usually well researched and thought out). I don't have a problem with people complaining about this, but rarely are the people whining actually honest (maybe even with themselves) about their reasons for hostility to the change and instead insist the new UI is inherently inferior, when it's not.
The Ribbon is just a rehash of WordStar on CP/M menu.
>>Moan about MS as much as you like (I certainly do), but they spend millions every year on usability research. When they introduce a new feature, such as the ribbon, it's the result of hundreds of hours of testing and monitoring the reactions of both new and experienced users to the revised interface.
Of course that's a nice thing for the company to be able to claim, but do we really have much insight into the function of usability testing at Microsoft? At what stages of the design are they involved and how much influence do they really have? It could be that the Ribbon was some VP's baby and any usability testing that was done on it just resulted in minor tweaks to prevent it from being completely unusable...
I had to work with the ribbon thing for the first (and hopefully last) time two weeks ago. Took me 10 minutes to find how to print the document -- essentially by random clicking on everything, hoping that something useful will happen, until I found that the strange decoration in the top left corner is also a kind of menu. Talk about intuitive...
It is 2012 man. If you're just getting around to the Ribbon you're doing something terribly wrong.
So CTRL+P beyond you then?
(the keyboard combination still works)
It was my point too but some people thought I was arguing in favour of the ribbon. My fault for dialling the sarcasm back from its usual '11'.
That's a disappointment - I was hoping for a whole new paradigm
Given that Microsoft Office owns a market share from 70 up to 80 percent in many countries, it begs the question why the company would even want to take this risk. They were able to climb to the top thanks to the software's wide-spread use in offices all around the world and they should do their best not to lose that advantage (over Open- or LibreOffice). It is vital to all these users that they can work with a piece of software or at least get something recognizable from an update.
Even today, more than five years after the ribbon interface has been introduced with Office 2007, I still know more companies that use prior versions because it is both an easier and cheaper solution. The reason is simple: administrators don't want an expensive revolution of any tool they were happy with, because it doesn't end with buying the software licenses. They also need to expensively re-train a whole lot of people if they don't want to see a drop in efficiency.
I'm not saying that one bad release would automatically end the dominance of Microsoft Office, but its momentum has certainly lessened in recent years. Every company that keeps using earlier versions of the software suite - until a couple of years ago, the 2003 version remained the most popular with over 50 percent of user share - is a possible lost sale for Microsoft.
Having written all that, I'm truly concerned now.
From the point of view of a private home user, I don't care a lot if the 2013 suite has been redesigned to fit the new metro surface and may even look forward to an office suite which allows for productive use on a tablet. It's a whole different ballgame in commercial use and I can't see this transformation being successful.
If my hunch is right, "most transformational release" means 'Metro, Metro, Metro'.
Remember, Microsoft wants Metro UI on every app. They did it with IE10. They will do the same for Office 2013.
> I'm not saying that one bad release would automatically end the dominance of Microsoft Office
Nobody said that one bad release would automatically end the dominance of dBase III.
All this negativity,
Wouldn't you like to visit the parallel MS universe where ribbon is seen as "a good thing" and Metro just the best idea!
I can't even dream what other versions of reality they have there, just to visit for a day or even a minute.
Points deducted for the typo or did you really want to "exit"?
Doh! spill chequers are yews less wean drive-on bye idiots.
My best circa 1985 on a hotel menu,
"Ratatouille - a dish made with sliced aborigine"
> Wouldn't you like to visit the parallel MS universe
Nuke from orbit, yes. Visit, not so much.
Was a shite idea trying to redesign the toolbar which was almost perfect - a bit like when British Leyland decided in the 70s that square steering wheels were better than round ones.
Can't wait to see what utter twaddle is pushed on us on Monday....
They could always try triangles!
<Mr Grumpy comes to El Reg attr=ON>
They'll play hide the feature again, using MS Word (MS Office) is like trying to play wack-a-mole these days.
Oh! and just to make it interesting they'll rename all the terms of reference for functions and commands and then, in the offline (un)Help(ful) file, not tell you what they have done. Try and find the term Grid Settings in Word 2010, I spent 30 minutes looking for that function first time round, as far as I'm concerned, I can't even RTFM, is that progress?
I 'got' Word 2003 and earlier, not my favourite document creation tool; Ventura (Xerox or Corel V8+ variants) was the one true way, however I persevered and never fought it, disabled the free format bar, created structured, style driven templates with automatic cross references and seldom had a problem. I became the go to person to sort out other people's free formatted, 100 plus page, 500 plus styles, unstable disasters. I can strip such a document back to plain text and using the original as rough style guide, construct a working template, outline numbered, and re-apply it in an afternoon.
I eat automated table of contents and indexes for breakfast. Two different numbering styles required to four hierarchical levels in the same document? no problem. The use of extra carriage returns, tabs and spaces to make something fit or line up causes me physical discomfort.
Now I can't even find things like Grid Settings.
I have tried for 18 months to get anywhere near as speedy and productive with the Ribbon interface but am now reduced to the same level as everyone else as the interface cannot be tailored to how I like to work.
I learn new stuff all the time in my job, I relish it, but every time I see a ribbon interface I just get angry and want to punch the screen. Is it me or is it not possible to set up the visible interface in Word to show which style is applied to the current paragraph your cursor is on? (I know you can show the equivalent of a styles pane but you sometimes have to scroll this to see what style is selected) To be honest I haven't tried that hard to do it.
I have no choice but to use Office 2010 when it is rolled out eventually at work, it is still the lingua franca, but I will curse Microsoft from then until retirement (if I ever get to it) and become a bad will ambassador for Microsoft products to anyone that will listen, because of it.
Am I a Grumpy Old Man? you better @!*%ing believe it.
'....I think this is the most transformational release...' my arse!
</Mr Grumpy comes to El Reg attr=OFF>
I predict that the new version will shoe-horn the suite so that it's possible to write complex word documents within the space of one Metro tile. :)
It'll be a great marketing bonus for Open/Libre Office. I switched to OO when Office 2007 came along -- does everything I need and throws in a DB package.
I have recently bought Quickoffice for my (version 1) Samsung phone thingy, and I am delighted how well it works.
Oh no, I don't work for anyone connected to said software or Samsung in any capacity.
I have recently bought a bluetooth keyboard that connects to it, I just wish it had some sort of docking station that would allow me to have a decent sized screen and mouse as well. PC in my pocket and all that. Still, I love my PC for developing web stuff and all that.
Office has seen several transformations over the past 15 years, some of which have cost individuals and businesses lots of re-training. Yet, the last time I as an engineer felt that I got new features that made my tasks more efficient was with Office-97. As a result I'm not upgrading Office until MS stops supporting the version I'm currently using.
Office is their one product that people seem to like well, so they ought to have all other products suround it. Instead of "Windows 8", It should be "Office OS". Instead of "Windows Phone", how about "Office Phone". And "X-Office" sounds a lot spicer the "X-Box".
Are you listening MS
Coming sooner than you think. Look at Microsoft's Lync product. There's a serious amount of moolah to be made in that market if Microsoft don't screw it up. Now that they have Skype in their arsenal I would not be surprised to see them take on the business telephony market and crush the competition.
I'm not a big MS fan, and I still miss WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, but every so often they do have good ideas, and occasionally some of them even see the light of day.
> Now that they have Skype in their arsenal I would not be surprised to see them take on the business telephony market and crush the competition.
You need to go have a look at the effect MS's acquisition of Skype has had on the network operators' willingness to sell Windows Phone at all. MS is busy learning the hard way.
So now I can shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars more for this bloated moving target called "MS Office." I guess they've got nothing more to add in terms of "word processing" and "spreadsheets" so the only innovation they can come up with is mangling the file format even more and trashing the UI with more junk one of their cowboy developers cooked up over a night of cheese slices and coke.
For the life of me I do not understand why people have such a death grip on this past-it's-prime office suite. Gosh, I remember when there were multiple office suites floating around out there...the world didn't end with a little competition, but it sure did once the boss-types decided MS Office was gospel.
Who cares about Microsoft Office anymore? People are asking to have it installed on their machines in droves. No one asks me to install Office anymore. Everyone we know uses alternative office suites.
Microsoft's future vision is one many don't subscribe to.
Microsoft != relevance
Or for the denizens of the weird ecosystem, "please, hit me again, and harder; my 'experience' is beginning to leave me unexcited."
How nice for Microsoft that they own a bunch of compliant Sims and can toy with them at will. How sad for the Sims.
How wonderful it is that pencil and paper are pretty much safe from megalomaniacs bent on repeated transformation.
"Office 365 Fully Packaged Product (FPP)"
Here in the US we can buy something yellow and waxy and slightly pungent, sold as "cheese"; look at the label closely and the actual proper name is "cheese food substitute."
Microsoft software product substitute. Yummy!
If you're referring to cheese squares, I call it 'plastic cheese'.
Bring back the Dancing Paperclip - all is forgiven!
The main reason for switching to a more modern version like Office 2003 is that it comes on CD, and is often bundled with a new PC.
After five years, I'm coming round to the idea that the Ribbon is better than toolbars, but if they're honest dumping the menus was about nixing the competition.
My Office 2000 is on a CD, and, if I was still a Windows user, would be all that I, and most other far more demanding users than me, would ever need for clerical work. More than enough.
Penguin, but I wish that I could claim that Libre/Free/Whatever was better. It isn't. It is close enough to Microsoft to make it just as bad, but double frustrating because it is not quite the same. Parts of it are sub-microsoft in their do-it-my-way-or-not-at-all programming.
Which points to my problem with the ribbon. Yes the ribbon is a reasonable replacement for the toolbar (actually its much like the tabbed toolbar concept which has been occasionally seen long before office tried it).
However the toolbar wasn't the only pre-ribbon component of the UI - there was a menu too. Its the menu which the ribbon is a poor substitute for.
I don't so much want the ribbon gone, what I want is the menu back. In (non-ms) programs which allow it ribbon+menu is indeed a viable alternative to toolbar+menu. Its ribbon without a menu I don't like.
The Office menus were awful though. Just look at the "tools" menu in Office 2003 and it's the most ridiculous collection of unrelated features ever cobbled together. Not to mention that there are a whole raft of features that are entirely unnaccessible from the menus simply because there was no longer room to put them there.
Menus have there place and still do in relatively non-complex user interfaces but Office had long since outgrown them.
Exactly. Microsoft have already stated on record that the Office menus were rapidly becoming massively unwieldy. In fact, a huge percentage of requests for new features were for features that were already in Office - and this was before 2007. Fact is the menu system needed ditching.
I jumped ship from MS Office years ago. Word 2000 started the trend of micromanaging your document, and things just went downhill from there. Papyrus Office is a damn sight simpler than either OpenOffice or MS, though they have yet to catch up with docx - which my uni insists on sending files in. So much for open standards...
I'd never heard Papyrus Office, looks interesting. Thanks for mentioning it.
... still using Office 2003 and it still does all i need it to do with great ease. But then I'm living a wonderful retirement and don't need all that flashy new bling shit.
Screw 2003... Office 97 all the way... even less flashy bling! Much smaller footprint as well.