Office 2007: Interface Weirdness

By Deane Barker on January 11, 2007

Bold Redesign Improves Office 2007: These interface changes should go over nicely.

In Word, Excel and PowerPoint, all of the menus are gone — every one. None of the familiar toolbars have survived, either. In their place is a wide, tabbed band of icons at the top of the screen called the Ribbon. And there is no option to go back to the classic interface.

Via Allison Gunn who says:

[If this] is even sort of accurate, forget it. I won’t use it and you can’t make me. WordPerfect died for lesser crimes than these.



  1. I’ve been using Office 2007 now for a while (since it went RTM into MSDN) and I can say it is the best UI update Microsoft has ever done. The ribbon interface is really easy to use and it’s so much more intuitive than the previous menu hunt-the-option method.

  2. I think I would find myself somewhere closer to Glenn than to Anil – while it is very different and takes awhile to find things at first, eventually you really benefit from the additional information the ribbon system gives you. The programs feels more solid and professional to me and the charts coming out of Excel are way ahead of old versions. I like it. But I have to say Anil seems to have drunk a bit too much koolaid – it aint that cool.

  3. All I can say is that this is a very good redesign in UI from MS. However the redesign in the UI is not the only cool thing in Office 2007. The really cool stuff comes when you look at the way Office 2007 saves its docs. They have turned all the documents (at least Word and Excel) into XML files. So if you know how to work with XML files you can interface very easily with the new document format. Try to rename the .docx file into .zip and see what’s inside! :D From the developer’s point of view all I can say is that Office 2007 is a revolution. :) Anil talks about Office 2007 from the user’s point of view and IMHO he’s right.

  4. You can’t try it with Firefox…


    Your Browser or Operating System is not compatible with the Test Drive System. The Test Drive System supports the following:

    *Windows 98, 2000 and XP
    * Internet Explorer 5.5 and later
  5. As much as I can’t stand anything to come out of Redmond, I have to say that the UI actually makes sense. Unfortunately I didn’t realize the massive logo on the top left corner was clickable so it took me over a minute to figure out how to print.

  6. I think most people that try the interface will prefer it over the old. It was weird at first when I needed something from the dropdowns and remembered they aren’t there anymore, but instead what I needed is right there in the ribbon. Not only are functions easier to find, but they made them easier to use. Excel finally made conditional formating easier to use, too. And integration with SharePoint is tighter. I haven’t used it enough yet to find anything I really didn’t like. Overall the performance was good on my old box, although I could tell my video card may be a little under powered for Microsoft’s new hardware demands. I guess after five years it’s time to upgrade anyways. I’ve only had it for a few days on my home computer, but already I miss it when I am at work using 2003. Although we are implementing MOSS 2007 in the next few months, it will probably be a while before we get Office 2007.

  7. Office 2007 Powerpoint sucks. After given it a fair run their are too many things you simply cannot do or are buried. Maybe for beginners its fine, but for the mass pool of ppt users this is a UI nightmare. Glad I kept 2003 installed.

  8. Office 2007 UI is absolute crap. It is way too hard to navigate through “ribbons” to find what you want, and if you want the toolbar back you have to build it from scratch searching through the entire library of commands. Maybe this is great for Grandma when she wants to make Christmas cards, but for the business world there is just way too much downtime trying to figure out how to do something you have been performing with ease for years on previous Office suites. The excel chart maker is absolutely infuriating and seems to have removed many features. I work in a scientific field and have to plot data on logarithmic scales, or find polynomial relationships, etc. which was quite simple on Excel 2003, but I’ve yet to figure out how (or even if you can) do this on the new one. I’m going to

  9. I was an Excel power user. I could do anything I wanted with keyboard shortcuts in basically no time. Now I’m screwed. It’s that simple. Available add-ins that replicate the toolbar aren’t addressable with the usual keyboard shortcuts. Can’t tell you how pissed off I am.

  10. Office 2007 Power Point sucks really bad. What happened to half of the animation abilties? I was really hoping but really doubting that Power Point would be better then Excel and Word but it isn’t. I hate the set up. I don’t know why they took away half of the stuff. I could do anything in Excel and Word and now I can’t find a damn thing. The toolbars suck! I don’t want to look a pictures. I want 2003 back now! My college switched to 2007 so I’m stuck with the downgrade until I graduate. Then I’m upgrading back to 2003. Office 2007 sucks just as much as Vista! I don’t know where Microsoft is trying to go but they are definitely going down hill. XP is extremely better than Vista by far and Office 2003 doesn’t even compare to Office 2007. Office 2007 is the most worthless and POS software I have ever used! I can’t wait until I graduate. And I mean that more because I want 2003 back more than I want my degree. That should show how pitiful and pathetic the program is. Office 2007 SUCKS more than anything! This program is nothing more than a complete waste of valuable money. It’s not worth getting it for free. Now that I have had to deal with the horribly pathetic software I wouldn’t accept a free offer to use it. It’s not worth free. Its worth less than free. I hate it. The best software to have on your computer is Office 2003 and Windows XP.

    I honestly believe that Vista and Office 2007 were made for children. Ages 4-10! I’m not stupid. I don’t need colorful pictures that I need to search through to find what I need when on 2003 I could have made two clicks and been there. I don’t want to sift through pictures to change the font.

    I had to do a report the other day. I had to switch the menu bar 20 times to do what I needed to do for the formatting. I would have been done so much sooner on 2003.

    And as far as the colors, my dad has a hell of a time seeing the menu bar. He’s color blind. I guess Microsoft left out half of the population when they programmed Office 2007. My dad was so happy when he got a new computer because it no longer has the Office 2007 on it. The only reason he got stuck with it was because I had to use his computer for my collge. He is extremely happy to not have it anymore. I wish I was as lucky as him.

    Before he got his new computer he tried to remove Office 2007. But guess what! It wouldn’t let him. He couldn’t switch it back to 2003.

    It amazes me that for being an “improved version” that they took out half of the capabilities. I can’t do my Power Point Presentation the way I could have with 2003. I can’t make the phrases slide into the page like I could in 2003. 2007 doesn’t have that capability. The only “improvement” I see is the pocket books of the Microsoft execs as people waste their money on a useless program. Because of course after March you will only be able to buy a computer (at least at Dell) with Windows Vista and Office 2007. Talk about a crappy combination. Both products extremely suck to a whole new level of suckiness! And we the consumer get screwed with paying a higher price for worse programming.

    I swear I am going back to Office 2003 (I already have the software disks) and I am sticking with XP forever. So my computer better never die on me. When it does if I can’t get XP and 2003 I won’t own a computer. Microsoft can kiss my a**!

  11. Vista made me jump off the MS bandwagon for good and switch to PCLinuxOS. MS Office 2007 just confirms this decision. Besides Openoffice is free and does what I need it to. Don’t get frustrated, just drop it all in the trash.

  12. Microsoft has simply lost their focus.

    They are still worried about grandma (who is BTW near death. She has been the UI target since the 80’s!!!). People today can handle much more abstract UIs and human/machine interactions. They routinely deal with crappy cell phone interfaces and switch at a whimp to a new phone/UI without the slightest hesitation. Don’t forget the 3-4 different game system UIs they easily master as well. MS better focus on the business user again before they poke out their other eye.

  13. It’s all about ‘Getting use to a new interface’, I believe once you are used to it you start enjoying the new UI. The design capabilities are far more better than in MS2003, for me it worked out great :=),

  14. I don’t have a lot of time left over to “get used” to new UI’s, and don’t wish to relearn my spreadsheet program every 3 years because the people at redmond think they are making it “better”. Besides, I move a chart from it’s own page to make it an object in another page, and it all has to be reformatted!! I don’t remember that problem with Excel 2003. If I have to spend a lot of time relearning things, probably I’ll shift to OpenOffice and do my learning there, so I can keep it for a while.

  15. My husband brought my laptop and computer into his IT guys at work to “fix” them. Now they both have 2007 suites and I can’t do a damn thing with them. Apparently since we both work from home at times we (i.e. HE) needed to be compatible with his work program. Of course, with the rest of the (lucky) world who are still using the much more familiar 2003 (or earlier) versions or have files they need to edit and use from 2003 (i.e. ME)…this is not good.
    I have a small child and my work day has to be crammed into a 2.5 hour naptime. I do not have time to relearn everything I have been doing for the past 10 years. If I try to open one of my work templates (nothing complicated…just forms) they are either in some crazy encoding that I can not figure out how to convert back or they can’t be edited without hours of research through the ridiculous “ribbons” …What I would do for a freaking toolbar!!! I had two contracts due Monday…it is the end of the day on Tuesday and I haven’t even been able to open the files I need to create them…ARGGH! I have wanted to switch to MAC for a long time. I was worried about having to learn something new after being so proficient with the Windows programs…I guess now is the time to make the switch…If I am going to learn something new and waste all my precious time at least I will gain a better system with MAC. Thanks for the push I needed Microsoft.

  16. The ribbon menu to me is like changing around the furniture in a blind person’s house. I can’t find anything and run into everthing. I absolutely hate it. I live in access, I knew every menu by heart, could zip right though it. I spend 2 hour trying to find the tables, who’s going to pay for that.

    Finally how many stupid people are there left that MS has to gear their software to them versus skilled and semi skilled. We learned and it was in some sort of logical format, ribbons is not. fy ms

  17. I am late to the game in having to use MS Office 2007 as our company needed to buy new laptops only a few months ago. Thankfully they all had XPP but also came with Office 2007. This is for an active business with sales and service people using word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and email client to make money and to try to be productive. Despite Office 2K and 03 crashing every now and then, in general most of us mastered the tools we needed including a host of time saving autotext entries and macros in Word and very familiar mouse and key strokes in Excel. Most of us also were pretty good at making charts. Presentation wise, we can all do some basics but graphics art is not our day job so we usually defer to one or two who like to make ppt’s. I would imagine we are very common in the business world. Oh and we have all tried Open Office Org and most of us keep a copy for those times when Word just can’t handle some document with whatever tables and section breaks.

    So onto Office 2007 … well we all foraged on into this new UI that Microsoft has created but it was not too long into the game when all those things we relied upon to make us productive were quite apparently not there … missing … probably hidden under some ribbon or somewhere new. At least that was the hope. But after a month or so the reality started to sink in. To recreate a that each of us had so heavily relied upon from Office 95 onward, one needed to import each autotext and create functions then remember them all. To build macros I suppose we had to become VB programmers I don’t know and I still do not know how to get my old charts back in Excel 07. But maybe one of the most glaring points missing was how the heck did I create some of my old documents that had a portrait first few pages and a few landscape pages then a portrait?

    MS is no help on this kind of thing arrogantly ignoring those who I guess are considered dinosaurs and are not going to buy into their new thing. Their help files have ignored comparisons to the old … almost as if it did not exist. Their verious KB’s may have some of this but heck, who wants to burn up hours trying to re-learn some tool we had long ago learned to use. Sorry MS, I need to get on with my real job and not futz and mess and re-learn etc all these things you have created.

    So … at last count all but one of our 17 new laptop users have reverted to Office 2003 or 2K depending on which license still would work. You can’t even run two versions of office on one computer either …else all matter of things will plague you.

    Way to go Microsoft! You sure have pushed us along I’ll tell you!

  18. “Inventing” a useless, annoying baby-blue “ribbon” is arrogant and asinine enough, but to NOT implement a way to use Office 2003 classic menus and toolbars is a textbook case of Microcrap’s arrogance and forced, hardcoded UI mentality. Idiots. Windoze WHAT version? The M.F. idiots can’t even count right. Orifice 2Oo7 should show you the mentality of that place and other hardcoded UI crap inventions like IE8. Where’s the outrage? Is this 1970 or 2010?

  19. Wow, I couldn’t agree more. My wife got a discount on the Office 2010 upgrade through her work. We’ve installed it, and we both hate it. We’re turfing it and going back to Office 2003.

    What was Microsoft THINKING? If some people wanted pretty ribbons to click, click, click on, that’s fine—but they should never have made it impossible for people to switch back to menus who didn’t want the new “baby” interface. It’s just crazy.

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