Whos helping who?

Think of your number one top hero in the Excel/Office/Software world. Don’t tell us, just answer this:

If you heard they were working closely with the Excel team on the next release would you:

  1. be ‘super excited’ ;-)
  2. be confident the next version will address many of your needs
  3. be hopeful it will
  4. care more about twatdangling
  5. remove them from your hero list
  6. your hero just committed career suicide

What I’m wondering is if the Excel team recruited some industry gurus, would it make you feel more positive about the product? would that translate into more sales (sooner) for Microsoft?

A bit like celebrity endorsements I guess.

My view:

I think 2007 was widely panned by the upper reaches of the community, almost exclusively in relation to the fubarred UI. If MS had a couple of community gurus on the staff who could have prevented that, or at least managed it with a simultaneous classic UI release then I think the idea has legs. And puts me at a 2.

If staff gurus couldn’t have mitigated that calamity then I think it would just be career suicide (6).

Also who would gain most? MS by getting all that hard won insight, or your hero by getting a credibility boost by working for MS (do you think it would boost their credibility?)

(MY view: MS, big time)

What do you think?




35 Responses to “Whos helping who?”

  1. Harlan Grove Says:

    Would this hero of Excel end-userdom be able to tell Jensen Harris EXACTLY what s/he thinks of the ribbon?

    Myself, I’d be happy if the Excel development team would FINALLY implement the following as BUILT-IN functions.

    – an extended CELL or non-macrosheet-capable GET.* XLM functions so that the all too common newsgroup queries about counting/summing/etc by color or other format attributes could be handled without udfs or fragile defined names referring to formulas calling XLM functions

    – a 3D INDEX function which could index over different worksheets in 3D references, though I’ll grant that specing out how to handle chart or macro sheets between the first and last worksheets of a 3D reference wouldn’t be trivial

    – SQL.REQUEST, but without the memory leaks but *with* the ability to treat Tables as datasources

    – regular expression support, either in existing functions or in new functions

    – interpretation of negative index arguments as last-to-first indexing in functions that take index/position/instance arguments (yes, even SMALL(x,-y) equivalent to LARGE(x,y))

    These ain’t terribly complicated, possibly aside from SQL.REQUEST. But I’m not holding my breath. I’d be happier with added low level functionality – new functions to do things that newsgroup postings would suggest are common tasks but currently require udfs – rather than whizbang new menu commands for ever more features having little to do with formula construction or calculation.

  2. Dick Kusleika Says:

    There are only a couple of things lacking in XL2007. The UI is a big one. Charting control is another, but I don’t make charts so I don’t care so much. If you take the ribbon out of the mix, XL2007 is a great improvement IMO. I love that ATP functions are built in. I love tables and the auto-range names that go with them. I love SUMIFS and IFERROR. I even love the fact that I don’t have to have a workbook open to install an add-in.

    So if you agree with that, then all the gurus in the world wouldn’t have helped you. The ribbon did not come from the Excel team. They didn’t even have veto power. The Office team jammed that down Excel’s throat. And even if you and I were on the Office team, we couldn’t have swayed them back to a classic UI, even as an option.

    I’ve stated my theories on why we have the UI we do. I think you or I would have to have been there and have to have been pretty high up to affect any change.

  3. sam Says:

    Just curious …what happens at the MVP’s summit…
    Does MS “hear” to what you actually say..

    May be Charles Kyd should conduct a opinion poll on the ribbon but open to only MVP’s… It would be interesting to see how the Chart looks..

    If it looks similar to the current one (80% – hate , 20% like)… then one can safely assume that the MVP summit is just a formality more for catching up with peers rather than for MS to take Feedback from the “super users”

  4. Johan Nordberg Says:

    That would be really good…

    But… Are you planning to write any posts that don’t end up in “the ribbon suck”? I used to really like reading your blog, but I honestly considering unsubscribing from since it’s more or less just posts of how the ribbon is worse than cancer and that cloud based services never will be as good as desktop applications.

  5. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    It’s confirmed that the Ribbon UI is worse then cancer. All the heroes seems to be dead because they couldn’t stand up for the cause as they couldn’t face the Dragon.

    It’s regretful because their credibility is estimated to 0 although heroes in general are rated much higher as dead then alive.

    I find it amusing that some heroes (apparently they are still alive after all!) here, who regular comment this kind posts never never stand up for the cause on their own blogs.

    If x number of blogs stated the same message every week then the cancer in the end would be worse then the Ribbon UI.

  6. jonpeltier Says:

    Simon – I’d never rate anything higher than a 3 on your scale.

    Dick’s perception of adoption of the ribbon by the Excel product group matches my own. I don’t think they wanted it, I don’t think they like it, but they did their best to implement it. But you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s#it. We’re left with the result.

    Sam – The ribbon went through lots of user testing and redesign long before the beta. By the time MS launched the beta, it was ribbon right or wrong, and the input anyone, MVPs or otherwise, could provide was along the lines of selecting an icon for that command.

    Dennis – I have a rough draft which I haven’t had time to polish up. Maybe I’ll elevate it to top priority. I have spoken out long and loud about the new interface (not just the ribbon) and I’ve always signed my full name, but no architecture astronauts would ever contact a real user.

  7. Simon Says:

    Harlan plenty of people have told JH and his team in no uncertain terms.
    I love the idea of -ve indexes as reverse.

    Dick I totally agree about 2007, and I totally agree on the ribbon being forced on the product groups

    Sam lots of folks at MS know exactly whats going on but the ribbon thing has been driven over their objections, I’d love to know why.

    Thanks for sharing your views, it can’t be easy being in such a small minority.
    Obviously I’m sorry you don’t like the blog content, and totally understand your unsubscribing.

    I’m sorry that you have been unable to see past the odd little dig at your beloved ribbon to the deeper messages. I wish you luck finding a blog that is always in agreement with your views – perhaps you should write your own?

    I have invested hundreds and hundreds of hours of effort in this blog over the last 2 years, to have all that dismissed as “the ribbon suck” is rather galling. But your prerogative of course, although I think you are massively over sensitive. I notice you havent taken the time to actually answer the questions and contribute to the debate.

    Dennis I’m not sure which if any of the questions I asked you are responding to?

    Jon yeah I need to watch that – a slight chink in my cynicism!

  8. Mike Staunton Says:

    All Johan said was that he was considering unsubscribing rather than actually unsubscribing – all he was suggesting that the blog should be more than an anti-ribbon crusade

    Dick – what’s this about the ATP functions being built-in – in my version of 2007 I can’t see a function for doing Fourier analysis, for instance – am I missing something?

  9. AlexJ Says:

    Ok, I’m weighing in with the heavy-weights on this subject, but in basic business terms, we all know the end effect of companies that ignore their customers’ needs.

    Whatever the mechanisms in place, if MS goes to the trouble of collecting input from its customer base and then just ignores (or compromises) it then they will get what they deserve. Just a matter of time before someone eats their lunch.

    As far as the input from the contributors to this blog (and many others), you guys make the product something which is far more applicable to solving business problems than it would ever be out-of-the-box. If MS isn’t listening to y’all, they aren’t going to listen to me.

  10. Doug Glancy Says:

    Given Dick’s and Jon’s description of the ribbon/Excel 07 decision process, I guess I’d be a 3 on your scale. There’s always room for hope, no?

    I recently had to use XL 07 for the first time in months. I couldn’t figure out where Print Preview was (shouldn’t it be in View?). Well, if I had to I’d find it, but instead I switched to my Windows Explorer-type dll that navigates through the commandbars. It’s clunky, but easier for these occasional forays.

    I don’t understand why a hodgepodge of icons scattered across the top of my screen would be more user-friendly than neat lists of words, but I’d switch to 2007 if it was only a matter of learning the ribbon. However, with my programming skills limited mostly to VBA, I’m turned off by having to learn how to make custom menus that are as good as those I create quite expertly in 2003.

    So, if there were a few experts talking directly to MS about the needs of advanced users like me (and the people who rely on me to make nice little tools) that would be fine with me.

    (Oh, there’s Print Preview, right on the QAT. I guess I must have found it once and put it there.)

    Simon, I really appreciate this blog. More than once, I’ve read a general discussion here about something I’d never considered and then gone and implemented the details in a project. I’d like to contribute more, but you have such an expert group of regular posters, I’m happy just to read and learn.

  11. Simon Says:

    Mike you think this is all just an anti-ribbon crusade?

    Alex, yep that lunch eating is what I’m worried about, or more precisely the impact that will have on us devs. Its OK saying MS will respond when their marketshare drops below 90% or whatever, but with momentum that could be too late. Then we have a fragmented market and that whole browser compatibility nightmare to deal with.

    Doug thanks for the vote of confidence on the blog, good point on the VBA side of things. I think swapping back and forth must be the worst of both worlds. And of course thats what a lot of us have to do to support multiple clients and/or systems.

  12. Harlan Grove Says:

    While it has been possible to buy separate Office applications a la carte, Microsoft stopped viewing Word, Excel, Access, etc. as separate products years ago. It’s all just Office now. And the most often used Office application by a very wide margin is Word. What’s good for Word (well, what Microsoft believes is good for it) is pushed onto/into the other Office apps whether it’s good for them or not. This has been the case since Excel 5, which was the last time there was a comprehensive menu overhaul.

    Simon – a fractured market wouldn’t necessarily be a horrible thing. As for browser compatibility, isn’t that more IE being incompatible with pretty much everything else? I don’t think I’ve read about deep incompatibilities between Firefox, Opera, Safari, Konqueror, etc. I think browser compatibility is more a matter of ASP support or not. And what company is solely responsible for those incompatibilities? Why would they have considered those incompatibilities a good thing?

    Final jab at the new UI. A collapsed ribbon is just another menu. Not a big deal. If that were the only change, it would have been a manageable problem. But it wasn’t. Customization in general is now more difficult, it can’t be done cleanly at runtime, it can’t be done using VBA making OM method and property calls, and customizations implemented in earlier versions now either appears in the Add-In ribbon tab or not at all. Excel 2007 sacrificed backwards compatibility, but apparently that’s no big deal for some.

    Even in the Excel 4 to Excel 5 transition, Excel 5 could handle dialog sheets created in Excel 4 and display such dialogs correctly, and it could handle XLM menu and toolbar customizations without more than superficial differences. The only thing lost was the table of contents page in Excel 4 multisheet XLW files.

    A lot more has been lost this time around, and it strikes me that Microsoft did this for customer lock-in because OpenOffice Writer finally reached rough comparability with Word, so Word needed something different that OOo Writer could never have, and once Word had this something new, Excel, PPT, Access, etc would get it whether it made sense for those apps or not.

  13. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Jon – I’m looking forward to see the blogpost.

    Simon – Sorry, I was not aware of that I needed to answer Your question. However, I think it would be a great idea if You could more concrete discuss Ribbon UI vs Classic CommandBar. Obviously the Ribbon UI is here to stay and therefore it is more productive to discuss what we can do to compensate its shortcomings.


  14. Simon Says:

    Harlan – good point about browser compatibility, but there are no ‘standards’ for spreadsheets. There is some file format stuff, but who is saying ‘OFFSET shall be implemented such that…’. Or more to the point ‘a spreadsheet will expose the following COM/CORBA interfaces for add-ins’

    Dennis, no you don’t have to answer any questions, I just didn’t understand what you meant in your comment.

    I understand your suggestion about concentrating on how to compensate, which makes sense, but I havent actually been posting about the ribbon as such. Just the odd cheap dig to illustrate other points.

    Like the impact of getting community content into the box, or if MS recruited some community experts. It seems some here are blinded by the mention of the ribbon and not able to participate in the actual topic, which is basically possible ways to make Office better.

    In terms of concrete posts about the ribbon as a technology, I don’t have any as I’ve mitigated its negative impact by using compatibility mode and OpenOffice. But I do intend to continue to mention it to illustrate other points.

    Also interestingly any post that ‘goes effluent’ seems to get many more comments/discussion, which is why we are here right?


  15. Harlan Grove Says:

    Given the the ribbon is here to stay, the best way to deal with it would be a wrapper application that provides a classic menu and floating or docked toolbars (but, IMO, not task panes), runs an Excel application object via Automation, and just as soon as the Excel application object is running calls

    ExcelApplication.ExecuteExcel4Macro “SHOW.TOOLBAR(“”Ribbon””,False)”

    to kill off the entire new UI. The wrapper application would need to duplicate the functionality of the Excel 2003 application window, so manage multiple document windows. It could be done, and I kinda know what it would take using Python and TKinter, but that’d be slow and fragile compared to an .EXE.

    I’ve also succeeded at docking Litestep LSBox objects to Excel application windows and using buttons in them as menu and toolbar replacements, calling WSH scripts to control Excel. Since Litestep is a Windows shell replacement, floating LSBox objects can be anywhere on the desktop rather than limited to the Excel application window, which could be a problem.

    At least I’ll be ready to drive a stake through the new UI’s heart when I’m finally forced to use Excel 2007 or later full time.

  16. Mike Staunton Says:


    No, of course the blog is much broader than an anti-ribbon crusade: and I almost always use 2003 so that I don’t suffer it’s impact as much as some

    But I do think that trying to get the ribbon consigned to history is pretty much tilting at windmills and I think that there are better battles to be won


  17. Bob Phillips Says:

    Simon, Johan isn’t the only one, I posted recently that I took offence at your language :-).

    Harlan is so right when he says in his first post that ribbon aside, 2007 missed so badly by its lack of functional enhancement. In addition to what Harlan suggested, we need more built in that recalculate.

    I too do not like the ribbon, it takes far too much real-estate, once you get over its superficial glitz it is quite unimpressive graphically, it is incredibly inconsistent in where items are placed (one of its raison-d’etres), and we still have tons of hidden menus under the Office button (another), and it is tons harder to customize, impossible to customize completely, so all in all, WTF … but I could live with that if only they had made the functionality so much better. SUMIFS is a waste of time IMO, it is so limited that when you consider backward compatibility, why would you bother (and its syntax is odd). AVERAGEIF is good, but why no MAXIF etc., etc., etc.

    Dick mentioned that is is great to have the ATP functions built-in. He can only say that because he is an American, and like all Americans he doesn’t realise there is a world out there :-). As a European who deals with other countries in Europe, the ATP functions are just as unusable as they are in 2003.

    Similarly, and I know I bleat on about this, but colour and conditional formatting should have been great success in 2007 but have somehow been turned into a disaster. I accept that colour might be part of the Office team diktat, but surely CF is the Excel boys fault.

    To wrap-up, Harlan suggested that the ribbon is good for Word. I am not a big Word user, I use it when I have to, but is the ribbon good for Word? It seems to suffer the same problems as in Excel to me.

  18. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    I assume MSFT will improve the Ribbon UI in the upcoming version 14. Hopefully it will includes API to create dynamic solutions together with other improvements.

    Reviewing Ribbon UI from a .NET perspective and using VSTO to create solutions that target the Office System makes the Ribbon UI more attractive then working with the Classic Commandbar.

    I believe it’s a shame that You don’t take the time to explicit discuss the issues and suggestions on how to deal with them. From my point of view it’s a more responsibility approach then what so far has been published.

  19. Biggus Dickus Says:

    WOW !!! It doesn’t pay to go away for a day – does it?

    This is quite a thread – as usually morphing into something different than originally intended.

    1. “Think of your number one top hero in the Excel/Office/Software world. ”

    I’m sorry Simon but I gotta say it – it’s YOU !! :-)

    2. “What I’m wondering is if the Excel team recruited some industry gurus, would it make you feel more positive about the product? ”

    Yes I think it would, but I also think that they should promote Excel developers “In The Wild” generally better than they do. As much as it might be nice to be one of the “inside” people, I am not sure if they should be actively promoting individual people though. IMHO :

    a. that would be meddling in the Marketplace (remember this IS a business we are in – isn’t it??) and
    b. it would open up to too much opportunity for development of an “Upper Class” that would stifle development of new devs and leaders and would become self-serving (as has happened in other technologies at MS) and
    c. it would actually stifle growth of the product rather than promoting it.

    I’d like to see MS promote Excel more aggressively – not just at the Dev level but also at the Power-User level and as an alternative to other offerings for reporting and analysis out there. I hope people like us here can help with that promotion and hopefully for money provided by MS (either as fees or at least cost covering and marketing and promotion_

    It is no longer enough for MS to just assume that Excel will always have appeal and will always sell. It has to be sold over and over and over again forever – or someone else will fill the void – or worse no one will fill the void and a major opportunity to help businesses with technology will be lost.

    3. I appreciate Simon’s comments about the Ribbon and even though I might not totally agree that it is a “pox on the world” I think that Simon’s position on it should be looked at as an excuse for debate on the entire issue of the Excel UI in general and Excel’s future in particular. (I also think it is a good excuse for using Simon’s somewhat dry and uderstated (???) humour… :-)


  20. Biggus Dickus Says:

    “uderstated ” that’s funny !!! I meant “understated” :-)


  21. Simon Says:

    Bob – sorry I missed that I thought you were joking! all good points – I think there must be a reason (possibly performance? possibly architectural?) why they seem so reticent to add new functions to Excel.

    Dennis – you are far better qualified than I to write about the pros and cons of the ribbon. None of my customers use 2007, or are likely to any time soon, so there is no incentive for me to go through the pain of learning how to use it or to develop for it.

    You can’t imagine my disappointment at the lack of opportunity 2007 presents, but I’m sure you can guess which feature I blame!

    I’ll continue to post about what I see as the disastrous impacts of the kind of thinking that gave us it, in a broader sense. And of course I’ll have the odd pop now and again for a laugh – it is after all just a piece of computer code, its not like I’m mocking the afflicted.

    Dick – thanks for the vote of confidence (and for putting the discussion back on track). I think you would hear the culture clash from the other side of the world if I went there! No, you’d be better for that job I reckon (far more diplomatic)

  22. Harlan Grove Says:

    I think Microsoft may be reticent about more functions is because a good case could be made there are too many already. The problem is that many of the ones in Excel already are bizarre and/or redundant. Other than that they could have been implemented as simple wrapper functions around standard C math library calls, anyone have a GOOD reason why there are Bessel functions? Or BIN, HEX and OCT functions, especially the BIN functions that can only handle 10 bits? Or CONCATENATE or POWER which do nothing more than duplicate & and ^ operators?

    Or for that matter, fixing Excel’s MOD function so it actually does call the underlying hardware floating point FPREM1 operation rather than leave it hopelessly mired in BASICA functionality (prior to Microsoft BASICs supporting IEEE single and double precision floating point)? Imagine Excel being able to calculate MOD(2^29,3) as 2 and MOD(2^30,3) as 1, which Lotus 1-2-3 has been able to do since 1981 and OpenOffice Calc can do now. Odd that when it comes to BUGS in Excel functions, Microsoft is all for preserving perfect backwards compatibility, but not when it comes to the UI.

    As for Dennis’s comments re .Net and VSTO, why bother with Excel as a grossly redundant grid control? Customers ask for it? And .Net/VSTO just couldn’t work if custom toolbars were still an option along side the ribbon?

    Of course I’m biased since all my development effort is in-house, and the company I work for won’t be ‘upgrading’ to Office 2007 at all. Maybe to Office 14, but it didn’t move everyone from Office 97 to Office 2003 until 2006. If they can repeat that deliberate pace, I may avoid the ribbon until Office 16 when maybe, just maybe Microsoft will have gotten it right. But no breath holding.

  23. Bob Phillips Says:

    Of course I was Simon, I added yet another smiley. AFAIC you can rant and rave as much as you like, it’s a free country, and I will rant and rave as much as I like. I have problems with 2007, but I don’t have the antipathy to the ribbon that you have, but I do wonder why (it exists). Actually I don’t, it is marketing, a big ticket item to flout, juts like 1m+ rows and unlimited nested functions (a guy posted in the NGs yetserday having problems with some VBA code that he was writing that had 14 nested levels – good grief, that is a horror story in Excel, doing it from VBA!), negative indexes just doesn’t quite cut it in the same way does it, Joe Blogs can’t see the use of that but he can see that with a 1M rows he can create even crappier spreadsheets.

    But, and this is the main issue I have with the ribbon bashing, I do believe it detracts from the main argument of missing/poor/broken functionality in Excel, and allows MS to ignore us as a bunch of moaning ribon haters. You won’t get rid of the ribbon, far better to advocate for built-in facility to customise it fully, and/or include classic menus/commandbars.

  24. Charles Says:

    Personally I quite enjoy the flogging of the dead ribbon horse, so keep it up!

    Yes the ribbon is a real pain, but the major problem I find with Excel 2007 is that it contains so many unfixed bugs/problems compared to Excel 2003.

    As for the hero approach I just don’t think it fits well with large-scale software development. My belief is that the Excel team does consult fairly widely upfront about requirements for the next version before they decide the priorities and development resource allocation. But this has to happen very early in the development cycle:
    I will be very interested to see if any of my Excel performance wish-list appear in the next version.

  25. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Simon – I got a blogpost coming up when I got the time to finish it about Ribbon UI from a .NET perspective.

    Harlan – Grid control? Well, as I already explained to You for some time ago here, Excel and the other Office clients acts more and more as a presentation layer but also as a tool to create reports in MOSS 2007. As for VSTO/VS 2008 it targets both Office Clients and Office Servers given a wider area of interest then just Excel.

    Kind regards,

  26. Simon Says:

    Bob – the joys of flat text communication!
    I’m frustrated because the ribbon makes me feel like we are investing in the wrong tool, and possibly the wrong vendor. Really, can we expect any better developer tools when MS so openly panders to beginners to the massive detriment of experienced users?
    Good point about eclipsing other debate, I have taken steps to manage that – lets see how things go going forward.

    Charles -thanks for the support, good point about large scale, and the Excel team do consult widely. but whoever drove the ribbon through didn’t listen. They have improved performance over time, so maybe your wish list has a chance.

    Dennis I look forward to reading about it.

  27. Biggus Dickus Says:

    “Really, can we expect any better developer tools when MS so openly panders to beginners to the massive detriment of experienced users?”

    That’s my big concern. I have “tried” to get that message thru to people I know at MS. I think some “get it”. I have pointed out that IMHO they need to be focused on getting people already using the product to use it more and use it better – get more “lock in”. Otherwise there will be a slow leak that will get larger as IT departments kill one Excel solution after another until it simply is no longer a viable alternative for corporate reporting (except at a VERY basic level).


  28. Stephen Bullen Says:

    Having just bowed out of the MVP programme, one of the huge things I’ll miss is being one the ‘heros’ who has been working closely with the Excel team for many, many years. No, we haven’t been creating full standalone features, but most of the MVPs can point to valuable enhancements in the product that have arisen from meetings or online discussions with the Excel dev team. Unfortunately, our NDAs mean we’re largely unsung heros, but I’ll take a risk and point out that formula tooltips were created a few days after a chance meeting between an MVP and an Excel PM in front of a vending machine; the Print Layout view was discussed in some detail with the MVPs during the initial scoping; and Excel 2007’s “No Limits” ethos came from an hour at an MVP Summit when the Excel MVPs had nothing interesting to do, so dragged a few PMs to the canteen for a bitch-fest. Indeed, the “Don’t do that!” bitch-fest resulted in some 200+ issues subsequently being discussed and fixed in Excel 2007.

    Of course, every team is different and every ‘hero’ has a different way of expressing their passion for the product. The Excel MVPs are very good at providing constructive suggestions with reasoned (if occasionally over-passionate) persuation, and the Excel PMs are extremely good at receiving, filtering, incorporating and acting on those suggestions. Unfortunately, there are other people at Microsoft who think they know best.

    Personally, I think Excel 2007 was over-ambitious and rushed out the door before it could be completely finished; hence all the rough edges on the new features we’re now dealing with.

  29. Bob Phillips Says:

    Simon, you said

    Have you noticed, wrong or not, that other vendors are adopting ribbon style UIs. It was yourself I believe that pointed out that even Paint had done so, in a ludicrous fashion. I know Paint is MS, but Help and Manual isn’t. How long before OO does?

  30. Dick Kusleika Says:

    What’s a Fourier Analysis? Is that like RANDBETWEEN?

    “he doesn’t realise there is a world out there” True, that.

  31. Mike Staunton Says:


    As a mathematician I hadn’t come across Fourier transforms until a couple of years ago but engineers and physicists use them a lot – so in XL2003 when you add-in the ATP you then get a box that has such things as Anova, Correlation, Covariance and Fourier analysis and others – if all the ATP has been written as functions in XL2007 (as promised by David Gainer) then I would expect to see native XL functions to perform these tasks in real time but I don’t see any of them them in the list of XL2007 built-in functions


  32. Simon Says:

    Stephen – my experience of the Excel PMs matches yours. It must be frustrating to be subsumed by the architecture astronauts in the UI/Margeting team.

    Bob – yes I saw a Windows 7 paint screenshot with a pitiful 2 tab ribbon. It had no blob though, so we might be getting some screen back. If OO does adopt it someone will fork it to maintain a classic UI. But more likely they would just add an additional switch to the existing flexible UI. I don’t think they will though because they don’t have the same margeteer pressure.

  33. Harlan Grove Says:

    Fourier Analysis, ANOVA, etc aren’t functions, they’re macros that perform calculations and present summary results. All of them could be implemented using MMULT, MINVERSE, TRANSPOSE and LINEST. There was an article in Byte back in 1988 that showed how to do so. They’re still available as add-ins, the Data Analysis Toolpak, at least in Excel 2007. Since Excel 2008 for Macs lacks VBA, there’s no DATP for it.

    That said, dedicated stats or math packages are much. much better than Excel for these more esoteric calculations because they usually include standard transformations that often (usually) need to be performed and often include automatic graph generation.

    As for OpenOffice and the ribbon, the effluent UI’s licensing terms prevent direct competitors to Office from using it. Unintended or not, Microsoft spared OOo users.

  34. Mike Staunton Says:


    Thanks for clearing up my confusion about why the Fourier analysis was not a function in XL 2007 – and, in case you’re worrying, I do use my own FFT VBA function that works fine and matches the results from Matlab as well as, albeit relatively slowly, handling an FFT with 2 million points

    The fact that they are, in fact, macros (obviously I knew that they didn’t recalculate when you changed inputs) now makes complete sense – what still strikes me as horrible is that if you look at the output for the Covariance matrix tool you’ll see that it uses functions for some cells and returns hard-coded numbers for other cells (ugh)


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