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Now that Word 2007 is out in the wild with a brand new user interface, I figured it would be good to provide a quick overview of Word's new UI—specifically the "Ribbon—and point you at some very cool tools to help you use the new UI.
While there is a whole lot more to Word 2007's new UI, the first thing you will notice is that all of Word's menus and toolbars have been replaced with a single container that organizes Word's full feature set into a series of tabs. This container is known as the "Ribbon".
In this post, I won't go into detail about the goodness of the Ribbon since Jensen has an entire blog about this, but instead will drill into the components that make-up the Ribbon so you know what you are working with when you get Word 2007.
To start, here's a break-down of the Ribbon into its various components:
This new Ribbon based UI required a reorganization of all of Word's features. For example, the hyperlink button was on the default toolbar in Word 2003, but can be found in the Links group of the Insert tab in Word 2007.
While research, reviews, and current users of Word 2007 have shown that Word's new UI allows for more efficient and effective use of Word, we know that there will be a bit of pain around locating commands in the new UI. After all, this is the first UI overhaul Office has had in its ~20 year history.
To help ease this transition process, there is a very cool tool called the Word 2007 Guide: Word 2003 to Word 2007 interactive command reference guide which allows you to click on a command in Word 2003's UI, and then see where that command is in Word 2007's UI (exactly like the Word 2003 & Word 2007 images above).
This tool also exists for Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007, and is super helpful for anyone just getting started with the 2007 Office system.
There you have it, no more toolbars and menus, just a result oriented Ribbon and a handy tool to help ease the transition. Nice.
Let me know what you think.
You can customize the little toolbar that sits in the title bar with your most favorite commands. If you just have to have a print button visible at all times, you can get it back. It will take some time to adjust to the new ribbon. So far searching in help for commands has worked well.
It's called Office Fluent UI, I believe.
When are you going to make that 03-07 command converter available for offline use? Don't you think it's a little cumbersome to tell somone "oh, you want to see where that command is? Well, click on this link, wait for IE to come up, then click on another link and wait for flash to load, then you can use the command map." I want MS to release this as an add-in to Office so someone can click on the Add-Ins tab and click "Office 2003-2007 Command Converter" and be done with the whole process in the time it would have taken to load IE. What are your plans for THAT? If you're looking for ways to decrease the pain of adoption for customers, that'd be a HUGE security blanket, knowing you're only a click away from the old unusable yet comfortable 03 UI.
Hi Mesan – Great point. Fortunately, the Word 2007 Guide: Word 2003 to Word 2007 interactive command reference guide (& the Excel and PowerPoint equivalents) are offline tools. There is no need to boot a web browser to use the tool once you’ve downloaded and installed it. -Jonathan
Hi justsean - Good catch. The Ribbon is one of many UI elements that make up “Microsoft Office Fluent” user interface in Microsoft Office Word 2007. I’ll cover some additional components that make-up a Fluent application in later posts. Some other examples of components of the Fluent UI other than the Ribbon are: the Office Button (replaces the File menu), the Mini Toolbar (surfaces when text is selected), and the Quick Access Toolbar (the little toolbar Doug mentioned in his comment). -Jonathan
The ribbon looks to take up a huge amount of space. My current office toolbar is only one row containing only the icons I want. It takes up as little space as possible. I hope there's a way to create a custom tab that holds only what a person wants on it rather than forcing them to switch tabs all of the time trying to find the tool they need. The ribbon is just too much being thrown at the user at once. A number of actions have an increased requirement in the number of clicks to engage their action. It would also be nice to have the option to have documents as tabs, to lessen clutter on the taskbar, similar to Firefox.
I am a big fan of using as much real estate as possible for the document. Ideally I'd like to see an entire page on the screen. I understand this is partly a function of screen size and resolution settings. Nevertheless, I'd like to be able to hide the status bar at the bottom, the ribbon, and the tabs names for the ribbon. Maybe something like the Windows XP taskbar autohide functionality. Are there any plans for something like this?I feel like the ribbon takes up too much valuable real estate.
Hi kc: The ribbon can be minimized (blogs.msdn.com/.../672345.aspx) and you can add the commands you’d like to the Quick Access Toolbar (the mini toolbar above the ribbon) by right clicking on any command in the Ribbon and selecting “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”. -Jonathan
Hi Brent – Understandable. My reply to kc’s comment may address your concern, and you may also want to check-out this post (blogs.msdn.com/.../577485.aspx) which talks a bit more about the screen real estate taken-up by the Ribbon. -Jonathan
any simillar tools for Access 2007?
Hi Willie - Unfortunately not. -Jonathan
Been using the Trial version for a week or two now and attended a Launch Event this week -- it all looks nice and I'm sure I'll get used to the new ribbon accelerators (even if most of them require more keystrokes than the old menu accelerators), but the ribbon has to be more customizable. The ribbon takes up more space than it needs to, and the fact that the only available customization is to hide it has to be seen as a negative. Why are the icons so big? Why is half the default ribbon view assigned to Styles? Is that really the command that is most used? Or is it that big because it is underutilized? The old drop down always worked great for me and didn't take up half a toolbar. Jensen's conclusion that the ribbon takes up the same amount of space as uncustomized Word 97 toolbars (which 98% of the users use) would fly with me if the ribbon interface included as many commands as the uncustomized Word 97 toolbars. But to access most of the ribbon's features you need to use your mouse or hit some keys before you even see the command you want to access, and then more keys or mouse movement to actually access the command. I call it three steps forward and two steps back (which any optimist will point out is still progress). Put all the commands from the Home tab of the ribbon on a toolabr and see which is bigger -- the ribbon looks like it will be about 6-10 times bigger (at 1280 x 1024). The ribbon seems to be the equivalent of menus, only one of these new menus now "shows" by default, instead of being hidden by default. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would seem to any of us to open Word 2003 and always have the Format menu extended down into the document (or across the top of it...) until we hit a key combination to hide it? The Quick Access toolbar is a nice alternative to the ribbon, but the ribbon is new -- why am I already looking for an alternative? The QAT may be more useful than the rbbon, but it is still less useful than the old toolbars, in that it is not movable (except to have it above or below the ribbon), and it doesn't handle more than one line of commands very well (it hides them instead of creating a second line of toolbar). Any chance we can just get toolbars back as an option? Assuming full control of ribbon customization is not where MS wants to go, a cool option would be if the ribbon customized itself -- icons/commands disappear after the user uses the keyboard shortcut a (customizable) number of times. I use the keyboard most of the time in order to keep efficient, so I can't imagine ever using (for example) the Bold or Italic button -- but I can't take them off the ribbon to free up some doc space or to put another command there. One more thing -- am I daft or (when you have just one document open) can you really not close a document by clicking on the x in the upper right without closing Word, too? I must be crazy, but I haven't been diagnosed yet, so I thought I'd ask. Thanks for the great blog -- now get to work on Word 13 ;-)!
I like the ribbon. It's too big, but it's easy to use. One question: (I've been hunting all over the web for an answer to this.) Does ANYONE know how to get rid of that disgusting blue color????? Please help!
Sorry to bother you, folks . . . just found the answer. Word options, customize, color scheme. Silver is SO much better!
The interactive command reference guide is so helpful! BUT: When will it be available in German? (Or did I just not find it until now?)