Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Writers, Beware the Ribbon

I don't want to whine too much about Microsoft Vista or Office 2007...I have come to learn that these software upgrades are part of computing life. But I have a word or warning for hard-core writers out there who delve into all the nooks and crannies of MS Word. The warning is: Set aside some time for a learning curve on all the new navigation.

If you're accustomed to the toolbars in all Office applications, brace yourself for change, because they are all gone. The new multi-tabbed "Ribbon" takes its place. The tabs and the groupings on the ribbon are somewhat logical, but the ribbon isn't customizable like the toolbars were. Many of the dialogs and interfaces "beyond" the ribbon are familiar, but you have to hunt and peck to find them, and then re-commit to memory all the clicks you need to make to perform your most basic functions.

There is one customizable toolbar, the "Quick Access Toolbar," and if you were a MS Office Power User before, you'll be able to customize it relatively easily...but if you weren't, it will probably be challenging to set up anything that resembles the toolbars you were used to.

Here's a good article that covers the pros and cons of the Ribbon, with plenty of user feedback:
http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10877_11-6142596.html

Or, if you like to drink the Microsoft Kool-Aid, here's their rah-rah description of the changes:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/HA101679411033.aspx

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