Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Doug's Mailbag: Support and the Ribbon

Here are a couple of e-mails concerning the Ribbon, and the death of Office XP and Vista SP1:

Office XP is awfully long in the tooth now. After all, it was followed by Office 2003 and Office 2007 well before Office 2010 became available. Users should never allow themselves to fall more than two versions behind any version of software upon which they are dependent. That just guarantees you trouble down the road. I agree that the Ribbon takes some getting used to but those older versions of Office had so many features before the Ribbon that I had terrible time finding. With the Ribbon perhaps these little know features will be easier to find in the future. In an ideal world, Microsoft would let users of the newest version of an application opt for the last versions interface. Of course, this is just putting off the inevitable.

As for Vista SP1, I say tough beans. Service Pack 2 for Vista has been available as a free download for a long time now, and users who do not install the latest Service Packs shortly after they become available are just asking for trouble. One doesn't need to be an 'early adopter' but being a 'late adopter' carries with it its own unique pitfalls. Like it or not, things change.

I really like the new Ribbon interface of Office 2007/2010. Some of the main tabs may be poorly labeled and there is probably more wasted space, but I DO NOT miss the Menu / Toolbar system of Word 2003! Things were buried in menu systems 3 and 4 levels deep. None of the labels made any sense, and if you missed moving the mouse ever so slightly your menu collapses and you have to start navigating all over again! The tool bars might have had a much higher icon density but they had quarks just as bad (if not worse).

Word is a very feature-full and a very mature product. I strongly believe that the problem is not Ribbon vs. no Ribbon -- it's just when you pack that many features into one product you're likely going to be doing a lot more hunting than you would like. Well, the hunt was reset for those who internalized Word 2003 but it doesn't mean that the new user interface is poorly designed. Kids and people new to word processing seem to pick up the concept of the Ribbon better than they did in Word 2003 -- there is more information available at a glance in the form of tab headers, group heaters, etc.
- Nate

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/13/2011 at 1:18 PM


  • Azure Active Directory Connect Preview Adds Support for Disconnected AD Forests

    Microsoft on Thursday announced a preview of a new "Cloud Provisioning" feature for the Azure Active Directory Connect service that promises to bring together scattered Active Directory "forests."

  • Microsoft Defender ATP Gets macOS Investigation Support

    The endpoint and detection response (EDR) feature in Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) has reached the "general availability" stage for macOS devices.

  • How To Block Self-Service Purchasing in Microsoft's Power Platform

    Microsoft threw Office 365 admins a bone when it gave them the ability to block users from purchasing Power Platform tools without IT approval. Here's how to prevent total anarchy.

  • Azure DevOps Services Losing Support for Alternate Credentials

    Microsoft gave notice last week that it's going to drop Alternate Credentials support for authenticating users of its Azure DevOps Services.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.