Office 2007 Review: Don’t let facts deter your thesis

January 18, 2007 09:09 – 09:09

In this morning’s New York Times, in Purging Bloat to Fashion Sleek Software, David Pogue reviews the new Office 2007.

He sets forth a premise, then proves the premise wrong. He begins by saying “Microsoft spent the first dozen years of Office’s life piling on new features.” Now, after many years of this, he says “So what did Microsoft do then? It began shrinking Microsoft Office.”

This is not true. Word, for example, now in its 2007th incarnation, has more features than ever. The only thing that shrank is the bureaucracy, for want of a better word. So, rather than 50 ways to leave your lover, we now have only three: ribbon, QAT (Quick Access Toolbar), and keyboard shortcuts. But, all 50 ways invariably led to the same single outcome as the three methods we now have.

The article goes on and on talking about new features, and he doesn’t even mention all of them. You still have all of the toys you ever had, plus a lot more. The difference is that they’re no longer hidden in a huge maze of cabinets and drawers. Instead, they’re hidden in plain sight—on the ribbon. Except for the ones that aren’t of course, which are hidden in the All Commands and Commands Not in the Ribbon baskets of QAT offerings as well as in the Keyboard Customization offerings.

In short, yes, toolbars and menus are gone. But, the tools themselves are still there. In my view, it’s the tools that are the features, not the toolbars and menus. And, it’s not as if toolbars are 100% gone. The QAT holds a lot more stuff than the old style toolbars. Moreover, once you do some playing with it, you realize that you can have different QATs for different documents and templates.

Moreover, you can customize the ribbon out the wazoo if you’re willing to invest a little time and patience. And, if you have more money than time and patience, Patrick Schmid has already done a lot of the work for you. For about the same price as a week’s worth of lattes, his RibbonCustomizer does most of the work for you.

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