Friday, September 23, 2005

Office 12 Makeover takes on 'feature creep'

CNET has a story about Office 12's radical makeover. Last week at PDC, MS took the wraps off the new Office 12 UI, showing it both in private and public sessions. Many of the innovations in O12 are stunning. I am already in love with PowerPoint 12. But as I was forcefully reminded today, as an MVP, I am not the 'normal' office user.

The CNET story concentrates on the new ribbon bar. The CNET story may not be clear that O12 also loses drop down menus. Thus many of the custom add-ins as well as the product itself, will work differently. It's a radical change that even MS admits is going to take users up to 2 weeks to get comfortable with the new UI. For some power users, this is going to be wonderful - there are a ton of new features that wil make my life richer!

My only question: where's the Classic UI mode? Just like there was a Word Perfect for Word mode in earlier versions of Office, and like the ability to turn XP's theme service off to look like Windows 2000? It would appear that there is no intention to have such a mode - and if so, I feel this could be a mistake. I'd like to be proven wrong and really am looking forward to being able to use stable code to find out for myself.

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