Ribbon lovers week

Next week will be international ribbon lovers week here on sos.

I love the new interface so much I’m going to post every day on a different ‘feature’ that I think they could enhance ‘even more’.

If you have an opposing view point then please join in, or even if you agree please chip in. If your sole response is ‘you’re just scared of new stuff’ then do us all a favour and stay away next week.

Obviously there are only 7 days in a week and there are many many more than 7 cock ups in the effluent UI, so I may need to double up some days (/most days!). I have to steer clear of the bleedin’ obvious like the size of the thing and its inflexible nature as those are already mentioned on the Ribbon UI page.

To put this into context I’ve have just spent 6 months on a large scale Office 2007 migration, including a big chunk of user training and coaching at all levels. I have seen first hand some of the battles real world users have in the real world, fighting the blunderthon UI to get their jobs done.

I need to do it next week as I don’t currently have a working 2007 install to get  screen shots from.

To balance things up I also want to do some posts on the new features that people have found most useful.(hint – they are at the Excel level not the ribbon level)



19 Responses to “Ribbon lovers week”

  1. jonpeltier Says:

    I’ve done a number of 2007 conversions so far (I won’t say upgrades). Generating custom Ribbon tabs is the easy part. This is complicated by explaining to the client that no, the custom ribbon tab can’t be made always visible, and no, the ribbon tab can’t be left floating here or docked on the side there.

    The hard part of a conversion depends from one conversion to the next, and it’s never predictable. Charts generally need to be reworked. Any controls on the worksheet (Forms and ActiveX) are likely to need attention. If compatibility with 2003 or prior versions is required, then juggling file types can cause issues and so can working with templates.

  2. Ribbon lovers week | Adobe Tutorials Says:

    […] Next week will be international ribbon lovers week here on sos. I love the new interface so much I’m going to post every day on a different ‘feature’ that I think they could enhance ‘even more’. Read more: Ribbon lovers week […]

  3. Nick Hebb Says:

    What I love is writing two sets of instructions, one for Excel 2000 – 2003 and one for Excel 2007.

  4. Marcus from London Says:

    Looking forward to it Simon. This should be informative as well as entertaining :P

    At the very least, it steers me towards choosing an appropriate Christmas present for you this year: http://tinyurl.com/m4ughd

    Cheers – Marcus

  5. Simon Says:

    Is that one short set and one long complicated one??

    I just bought a BMX dvd for the kids (;-)) from Amazon, that came up as a recommend!

  6. Peder Schmedling Says:

    Looking forward to this,
    my company is migrating late next week and I really need som tips on how to be efficient with the ribbon :-)

  7. Bob Phillips Says:

    I hate that damn CustomUI editor. No MRU, it keeps reposition the screen, absolute yuk!

  8. jonpeltier Says:

    Peder – Joke’s on you. You can’t be efficient with the ribbon.

    Bob – I agree. It’s like a beta test of the first version of NotePad.

  9. Harlan Grove Says:

    If it was possible to use Tools > Customize in Excel 97 through 2003 to customize toolbars by drag & drop and a little bit of right-click and fill in a dialog, it’s either a mystery why this isn’t possible with Excel 2007 or its an indication MSFT wants to make ribbon customization difficult.

    I can just barely accept that they didn’t have a GUI ribbon modification tool ready for 2007’s original release, but that they haven’t produced one in the interim?!

    Claims that it can’t be done are pure BS. It can be done. That MSFT hasn’t is an indication of either indifference or actual hostility towards user customization. Or maybe MSFT wants a 3rd party ribbon customization market to grow and they’ll eventually buy out the market leader.

  10. jonpeltier Says:

    Harlan –

    We saw a sea change in the MSFT attitude about the Office interface with 2007. The stated goal of the Office UI team was that every user’s interface should look the same. Obviously these wizards don’t use the products they are building, not for real work, anyway. During the beta they clung and still they cling to this view, and are surprised that people don’t agree that an identical plain vanilla interface on every installation of Office is not a good thing.

  11. Harlan Grove Says:

    The argument I’ve seen that makes the most sense is that the people who buy most Office licenses, IT/IS department middle managers, are the ones who want no user customization in order, they believe, to minimize support costs. MSFT only cares about the people buying licenses, not users. Then I have to wonder whether MSFT put the idea that customization = higher support costs into the heads of these IT/IS middle managers. Moi cynical?!

    I have less problem with the ribbon rearranging menu commands than with the inability to place the ribbon anywhere other than above the application workspace. Other than the menu, the only toolbar I use with any frequency is Formula Auditing. I use this layout because my monitor is wider than I need but not as tall as I’d like. In other words, I have more room horizontally than vertically for adding UI parts. But Office 2007 gives me no choice how to arrange my UI. It doesn’t even allow me to put the QAT along any side I want (probably because its specifically built into the title bar along with the oversized Office button). That I can’t accept.

  12. jonpeltier Says:

    Harlan –

    I haven’t heard that, but it makes some twisted sense.

    It would be nice to be able to dock the ribbon on any of the four sides of the screen. I always want to see more rows. This would be even more of a good think in Word, where otherwise 25% of the screen is lost on each side of the working document. The architecture astronauts never even considered this.

  13. Harlan Grove Says:


    You don’t think (gasp!) that the architecture astronauts might think their UI is more important/more elegant/more deserving of screen real estate than their users’ own documents?

  14. jonpeltier Says:

    Isn’t the UI the most important part? I mean, it’s what puts form above function, and style above substance.

  15. Dick Moffat Says:

    I had a funny one recently… In order to make the Ribbon In Access always minized when you move to a new form (then the User can use the Custom Ribbon like a menubar) I found the only wat was to use a Sendkeys command that forces it up and out of the way. Kudgy but it works.

    The IT department at the client immediately came back to me and said that Sendkeys is not allowed in any Access code in their company – so I had to remove it (??) and the app just lost a big chunk of the screen (unless the user is capable of figuring out how to minimize the Ribbon – a tall order in most cases I’m afraid – and not their fault by the way)…..


  16. Dick Moffat Says:

    p.s. Sorry about ythe spelling errors – it’s not my spelling it’s my typing ……..

  17. jonpeltier Says:

    Dilbert describes the beta testing of the ribbon:

  18. Simon Says:

    ha ha ha!
    spot on Jon, thanks for the link

  19. Blue Ribbon Interface | PTS Blog Says:

    […] Ribbon lovers week […]

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