on MS Office NG

The much vaunted revamp of the Microsoft Office system includes a ton of new changes. One of the most important (as far as I can tell so far) is the complete revamp of the user interface. This link goes to a video where MS walks us through a high level overview of this change.

I’m excited about this, not for personal use, but because I might finally stop getting calls from everyone I know. Many of the features that make Word, Excel, and PowerPoint presentation look good are very difficult to figure out. The learning curve for all of these products is extreme, to say the least. To illustrate this, look at the size of this book. This 1172 page tome attempts to cover the features of this set of products. BUT, the Word only version is 912 pages by itself. Excel is 936 pages. No need to go on. What Office is missing is not features, but accessibility.

I hope that once we finally get our hands on this, the calls will stop (well actually, I expect a slew of calls when it first comes out because it has changed).

One Response to “on MS Office NG”

  1. rshangle says:

    Too bad it’s not called MS Office and NPG (New Power Generation).

    Making good-looking, structured documents in Word is possible. It’s just, as you noted, not intuitive, and Word doesn’t force you to work in a structured, style sheet-oriented way the way iWork Pages and Keynote does.

    If you attempt to use Pages as a typewriter (the way I’ve abused Word for years, abusing whitespace and a lot of manual formatting and other follies; hey, at least I know that you don’t need two carriage returns to double-space…), you wind up with document that literally has like two lines of text per page. Same with Keynote – the nature of the program and its default templates force a user to accept a less-is-more philosophy.

    Hopefully NG is moving in the direction of more or less forcing the user to use more pre-defined, good-looking, style sheet-driven templates in the interest of controlling the structure of the document, under penalty of death… or crap-looking document.

    The tab/”ribbon” paradigm in the video was neat (and I’m sure works very well on systems with less than a 3.2GHz processor and 2GB of RAM…), but only a small step forward on its own.


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