back to article Microsoft wraps Windows 8 in Ribbon UI?

Microsoft could be taking a chance by making Windows 8 look more like Office 2007, if some leaked screenshots are the real deal. The alleged screenshots of Microsoft's successor to Windows 7 reveal an unfinished Ribbon UI - based on a concept Microsoft first introduced with Office 2007 in November 2006. The UI could replace …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Please, in the name of humanity, don't do this.

    For those of us who use computers professionally, the ribbon is a disaster.

    1. Criminny Rickets

      No Squared

      Even for those that don't use computers professionally, the ribbon is a disaster.

    2. Paul_Murphy

      I agree.

      Can you imagine the telephone conversation:

      'Just click the the third icon down - it looks like a crow*.. just hover the mouse over it.. yes that's the one'

      And if the ribbon is context sensitive they will keep changing around as well, and I bet there won't be an option to turn off the icons and just have text buttons.

      Could _this_ be the end of windows?


      *I don't care what the icons actually look like - and I don't intend to have to learn them either.

    3. alis

      Absolutely hate "the ribbon"

      Please no. Even if you don't want to use WIndows you pretty much have to - so is there a petition we can sign? Anything to stop this.

    4. Bassey

      Re; No

      "For those of us who use computers professionally, the ribbon is a disaster."

      Nice of you to speak on my behalf - except that it isn't true. Surely those of us who use computers "professionally" use keyboard shortcuts for most stuff so don't give a crap if something is in menus or not. If there is something I'm not familiar enough with to know its keyboard shortcut, the ribbon makes it easier to hunt for than several layers of nested menus.

      Anyway, Windows 7 has gone most of the way towards Ribbons. All the apps use it (photo gallery, the video editor, DVD authoring, write pad etc). It makes sense for the rest of the OS to go the same way.

      Honestly, there is no group in the world worse than IT for "We don't like change".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The author has asserted his right not to use a title

        "Anyway, Windows 7 has gone most of the way towards Ribbons. All the apps use it (photo gallery, the video editor, DVD authoring, write pad etc). It makes sense for the rest of the OS to go the same way."

        All the built in apps use it. You know, the ones that get replaced by a more professional version by those who use them a professionally. The ones everybody hates because of their beribboned badness.

        Anyway it's the one that you don't use all the time that suffer most from a new UI because you can't remeber all the keyboard short cuts.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Andy 18
            Gates Horns


            Aha - the tried and tested "if you don't like it you must be old and scared of change" gambit. I counter that with the "You are too young to know any better" defence and raise you a "Shiny toys for little boys" taunt.

            Personally I find the ribbon UI has all the bad points of that damned paperclip as far as guessing (badly) what I might be trying to do while also taking vast amounts of screen space for no useful reason.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              minimise the ribbon

              Every ribbon (should) have implemented a minimise function (right click on the ribbon, then select minimise), so it only takes up "vast" amounts of screen space if you want it to.

              Of course if you are too old and scared to read about how new stuff works then you wouldn't know this

              1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            2. Christian R. Conrad
              Thumb Up

              Andy 1, A C 0

              BTW, Andy, did you know that kids nowadays apparently are incapable of comprehending black-and-white films and television? It appears their brains and eyes just can't absorb any information out of monochrome media, somewhat like frogs that only can percieve a fly if it's moving.

              Personally, I'm not surprised if a generation weaned on ever louder TV commercials (and MTV, "reality TV", etc -- all doing their best to copy the commercials) actually _need_ the garish ribbon crap to find their way around.

              Another thing that actually surprises me a little (though I suppose it shouldn't, given how par for the course it is for stupidity to emanate out of Redmond) is how in a world where screen proportions are getting ever wider in relation to height -- i.e, ever lower in relation to width -- and where everybody is still writing mainly portrait-oriented documents, software makers like Microsoft _insist_ on squandering screen height by putting their damned "ribbons" (and/or eleventy-twenty toolbars) horizontally _above_ your content, squashing it into ever more of a letterbox-slit view, while simultaneously squandering acres of empty-as-a-desert screen real-estate to either side. WTF's up wid dat, mon?

          2. CD001


            The problem with the ribbon bar is that it's constrained by the width of the screen in a way that dropdowns aren't - dropdowns can have multiple scrollable sub-menus so you're never really constrained and it's much easier to scroll up and down (with the rolly-wheel) than it is left and right - it's a vertical menu structure.

            Ribbons are a horizontal menu structure - open Word and constrain the width and you'll notice the ribbon effectively turns into just a dual layer of dropdowns. Ribbons work best when you've got a LOT of horizontal screen; they make more sense as monitors have been moving to widescreen format - on an older 4:3 monitor, not so much.

            Still, both formats can suffer from "where the hell did they put that" syndrome. In Word's ribbon interface it just seems that Macros have been munged into "View" - they don't really belong there but that's where they were before in older versions of Word (IIRC).

            As for web browsers minimising their impact on the amount of screen usage - if you've not used Opera before - try and find where they've buried Dragonfly (seriously, "Developer Tools" should be a top level menu item)... that's how to confuse vertical menus - FF4 ain't much better.

          3. Fluffykins Silver badge

            I comment thus, in an exciting new format:

            change accepting of incapable be must you then it like don't you if Obviously, format. new a in comment a provide I'd thought just I

            1. Shadowmanx2009
              Thumb Up


              I Like!

        2. Ammaross Danan

          @AC 10:12

          "All the built in apps use it. You know, the ones that get replaced by a more professional version by those who use them a professionally."

          Yes, and Windows Explorer has quite the number of "more professional" versions that can replace it too. Will we? Not likely.

  2. JarekG
    Thumb Down

    I hate Ribbon UI

    I hate Ribbon UI in office, so I guess Windows 7 will be my last OS from Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Win 3.1

      I remember all the people who hated the 95 interface when that was released. Pretty much all of them switched it off and used the old, far less functional, 3.11 interface. It was the same with the XP interface and the Vista/7 interface.

      What is it about people who work in IT being so resistent to change? It's always spun as the old way is better, when more often than not it's a case of not wanting to learn something new. Which is odd, considering the speed at which IT moves.

      1. Helldesk Dogsbody

        That would be the point

        "considering the speed at which IT moves" - that would be precisely the point. There's enough change that you simply HAVE to learn to keep up that changing anything unnecessarily becomes an annoyance. Add on top of that the typical technophobic user response and you end up picking up a similar approach.

        I don't like the ribbon interface as it seems unnecessary to me and I dread changes to the Windows interface as you can guarantee my phone will go millisseconds after a new system is put in with a user wailing "WAH! I can't find anything!" before it's even finished booting.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Are you kidding?

        Win 95 was universally hailed as an improvement over Windows 3.1 in pretty much every way including the desktop shell. In fact, there were 3rd party add-ons for Windows 3.1 to make it more like what would eventually be Windows 95.

        Although there's no good reason that legacy UIs can't remain available for those that actually like them. This sort of nonsense isn't about making the product better but artificially creating some reason for new sales.

        The word processor is an OLD problems.

        Artificial bother is what IT people complain about. Bother is something that you should choose yourself to engage in because it adds some value for you, not just because the relevant monopolist needs to milk it's cash cow.

      3. JarekG

        "What is it about people who work in IT being so resistent to change"

        Maybe they just want to do their job instead of learning new crap every year?

        Call me stupid, but once I set my desktop the way I want, it makes my job much more enjoyable.

        I don't want to spent the next few months learning how to make my new desktop look like the old one (you know the one that I like).

        I try that with office and I hated it to the point that I downgraded it.


        Yes I do have windows classic look on all my windows editions.

    2. CD001

      Ribbon UI

      makes more sense on a 1920 x 1080 monitor

  3. hendersj

    First link is dead

    That was fast....they "destroyed the server"? Really?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Thank you Ray Ozzie

    "Windows 8 file synching and sharing with the web will be baked in, with icons for "sync" and "share" on display in the shots. Why are they there? It's unclear."

    Not too unclear to me - he might not have executed very well (so goes the version of his demise at Microsoft that rang the truest to me) but it doesn't really seem much of a mystery to me... just look at Groove if it even exists anymore... when you see "share and sync" at Microsoft you can be sure Ray's fingerprints are still there. Thank you Ray, we miss you!

    Regarding Ribbon, since I don't have anything nice to say... GRRRRR

  5. blodwyn
    Thumb Down

    Same pig, different lipstick

    Nuff said

  6. Anonymous Coward

    i like it

    say what you want, but the old shortcuts still work with the ribbon ui and the ribbon ui looks great. i prefer it, things are more logically grouped, even though rarely used things are hard to find. wouldn't mind to have it on w8

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: say what you want, but...

      "the old shortcuts still work with the ribbon ui and the ribbon ui looks great."

      Er, great, except that those keyboard shortcuts don't appear in the new UI at all and MS aren't selling the old version of Office anymore.

      Obviously if they were then I *would* buy 2 copies of Office only to chuck one of them in the bin after I'd memorised it... Who wouldn't?

      1. Magnus_Pym

        In the olden days

        Boxed CP/M or DOS software came with 'reminder cards'. Credit card sized printed sheets with a note of all the useful function keys and shortcut combo's used by the software. Perhaps Office should come with some of these in the box.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Mixed views

    When the ribbon first came out I hated it. With a vengeance. I've been a power user of MS Office since I moved from WP6.2 in the late 90s. I was always the person who used obscure features of the package and who people in the office came to for help. The ribbon just seemed like something that hides stuff that you knew where it was before.

    I still think the ribbon has its flaws, but I'm no longer a hater. I was recently working on a document which contains loads of mathematical formulas. I had been working on the document in a pre-ribbon version of the software and I'll be honest it was a bit of a nightmare. I started using Office 2010 and it was really really easy to use it. The ribbon does have a place, but you definitely need to think a bit differently in order to use it.

    Oddly enough, the shrink wrapped software that I used to be the lead architect for started using something like a ribbon interface in 2003/4 (before I joined the firm). I insisted on moving away from that interface because our users hated it. I don't think our ribbon was as well designed as the MS ribbons have become, but still it is a sobering lesson.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mixed views

      They redid the formula editor for Office 2k7 and it's much better but that has very little to do with the ribbon. Could have basically been the same with a new pane at the side or a nicer toolbar.

  8. Watashi
    Thumb Up

    Yay ribbons!

    Hmmm. When I have to use a computer with Office 2003 installed on it, I feel like I've stepped back in time about fifteen years. Office 2010 compared to Office 2003 is kinda like the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 95. I've been using a Windows shell replacement for years because Explorer is so woefully under-powered. Adding a shed-load of extra functions may dismay the easily confused, but for those of us who have the ability to learn new tools it's going to be great. Why the hell didn't MS do this sooner!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      I agree

      Just because somebody gets used to bad design, eg: Office 2003, it doesn't become good design. I think some people resent the loss of their 'investment' in learning to use crap tools when something better comes along, eg: "Flint were good enough for yer dad and yer grandad. We don't want none of this fancy bronze in our village. What'll happen to our traditional skills? It's madness!"

  9. Anonymous Coward

    its bathwater, throw it out

    I thought this ribbon crap would start to go away with Ray Ozzie gone.

    As a long time user, I already find the Windows Explorer in Win7 to be inferior to the previous version (yes I meant to include the Vista version).

    Maybe the could produce two UIs, one for the loyal user base and a different one for the people that MS seems to think would prefer a different OS.

  10. Allicorn

    Title schmitle

    The ribbon is an abomination.

    Give us Clippy instead, please, anything but that!

  11. mr-tom

    Polishing the turd

    Proverbs 26:11

    As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      You can't polish a turd-

      But you can wrap a ribbon around it!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I thought it was "s drunk returns to the bottle?"

  12. IR


    Microsoft purchased Canesta? Did they have a yeast infectio?

  13. JP19


    Looks like Win 8 is going to be another ME/Vista.

    I only just stumbled across ClassicShell to replace the f**k awful Win 7 start menu and fix some of Explorer's horridness.

  14. Jason Hall

    new to learn?

    "The only problem is that the Ribbon UI has upset a lot of users and partners since its introduction, because it changed the familiar Office interface and gave them something new to learn."

    No. The ribbon interface didn't upset people because it gave them something new to learn - it upset people becuase it was very badly implemented and is very annoying to use.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down


      The thing that annoys me about the ribbon is that it seems like every time I want something it's on different bloody tab. That means an extra mouse click that I didn't use to have. I used to configure the tool bar so it had everything I wanted. I got it down to a single row of buttons. That put everything within a single mouse move/click.

      I *think* that might be possible again with Win 2k10 based on a play a year ago but sadly my company has yet to roll it out so I haven't had time for a decent investigation.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They look like crap in most of those pictures, but if you minimize them, then ribbons act just like menus, except with big icons. Certainly looks like overkill for a program that's not supposed to take up much screen space. But does make sense for touchscreens. Especially considering a lot of those functions are "hidden" on the right click menu.

    It's nice to see the "Move to Folder" tool finally getting some love.

    I just hope they fix the tree so that it will scroll horizontally again.

    Current link is:

  16. Goffee

    How many metaphors?

    So, they want a desktop interface , a tablet touch interface, some ribbony thing and to add all the stuff that got left of Windows 7 - big ask...


  17. Jolyon Smith

    Knee Jerk = RIBBON !? NOOOOOoooooooooooo........ but...

    The Ribbon UI per se is not "bad" - for crying out loud, it's just a toolbar by another name, with some additional context sensitive adjustments and sophisticated grouping.

    However, there are good and bad implementations of the Ribbon UI.... even within Office, the Word ribbon is pretty good, with some caveats, the Excel ribbon is frustrating, with even more caveats, and the PowerPoint ribbon just plain sucks. Outlook uses the ribbon only in some areas, and largely does a pretty good job with it.

    So the question is, how well will the ribbon implementation be in Windows 8 ?

    + it appears to be the incorporating of ribbon on Windows [File] Explorer specifically, rather than some hard core, intrinsically enforced ribbon across the *entire* UI.

    Calm down folks....

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: not "bad" - for crying out loud

      "The Ribbon UI per se is not "bad" - for crying out loud, it's just a toolbar by another name, with some additional context sensitive adjustments and sophisticated grouping."

      Toolbar = waste of space. If I need to navigate a UI, then hovering over each graphic and waiting for the tooltip to tell me what it looks like is at least one order of magnitude slower than reading text.

      Context sensitive adjustments = it's moved since the last time you hunted it down, so start again, hovering over the graphics and waiting for the tooltips.

      Sorry, but as a piece of interface design, the toolbar can only really be understood as a deliberate attempt at pessimisation.

  18. Pen-y-gors Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    Just say NO to Ribbon UIs

    >It was first introduced by Microsoft to make it easier to find features buried in the depths of long menus of Office.

    ... and to make it impossible to find features previously easily accesible from straightforwrd, simple, logical menus

    Recently got a copy of Office 2010 - productivity seriously reduced. Time to switch back to OOo

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    even risker

    MS staying status quo is even riskier. Even though I'm sure there will be some unhappy people the most unhappy would be MS when Windows 9 came about and they finally realized though large market share loss that no one wants an antiquated UI. People who hate the idea (without even seeing it in action no less) are likely scared of change in general. Ms needs to shake things up in the next go around as people's primary devices will move to tablets and touch display laptop and desktops.

    1. Fluffykins Silver badge

      Antiquated UI or shiny new UI?

      I don't give a shit. I just want somehting I can use effectively.

      And Office 2k7 isn't

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Yeah, the ribbon's the way to go for professional computer users. That's why it's all over the Linux world. Learn to use your goddamned software and you won't need fluff like this.

  20. thecakeis(not)alie

    Well, that decided that.

    That’s a lovely little nail in the coffin. As if the licensing costs/obscene complexity, vendor lock-in, horrific lack of interoperability and terrible lag on basic features weren’t enough, now they want to foist that monstrosity of a UI on the core operating system?

    Straight to hell. No passing go, no picking up your 200 chits.

    100% of the software budget for the next 5 years will now officially be devoted to bribing my two recalcitrant software vendors to port to Java. (The other three have already done so!) Immediately afterwards, I will be binning the entire stack of Microsoft software, top to bottom. Looks like Windows 7/Server 2008 R2-gen will be my last go at the Microsoft stack.

    Red Hat, I’m all yours! Let’s do this Enterprise IT thang, shall we?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "Same pig, different lipstick"

    And that pig'll fly the day Microsoft makes some serious innovation, instead of rehashing the same old Windows 95 UI.


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