Welcome to the ribbon, a context sensitive ‘device’ that places all of the functions for a variety of tasks all in one neat line. It is certainly different, a major step away from previous versions of Office. Is it better? Absolutely it is. For those new to MS Office, it has the same learning curve as any very able office application. For the well versed, a few minutes spent exploring will reveal that the ribbon is actually very good. The four major Office elements, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access all benefit from it.
Highlighting text and selecting a new font now sees the text on the page change as one passes the mouse over the font list. In PowerPoint, one can see changes to slide animations in the same way. Each application has features like this that make changing the look of document elements so much easier. No more does one have to make changes, assess the damage and then find the function again to make another stab. Running the mouse over some of the functions also brings up a small box with a half meaningful explanation of the function. The ‘File’ menu has been replaced by a Vista style button, called the Office button, I believe. A nice little touch to make the flagship Office products match the flagship OS.
The default colour of each application is a pastel blue, giving a much softer look than the hard edged predecessors, and is much easier on the eyes in terms of relected light off of the screen. All Office applications are still feature packed, a mark of all Office versions since the suite first appeared.
Ok, so we have this very smart new look with an easy to use interface. The downside is that not all Office applications have the ribbon. One of the major factors with MS Office was the ‘integrated’ look to all of the elements. While WordPerfect and Lotus were obviously cobbling together whatever they could buy in, MS Office applications all had the same look and feel to them. This is no longer true, and may be a cause of consternation with some users.
Pricing and place also set it above the majority of home users, although there is a version to suit most. A look at the website URL provided gives a ‘what’s in the box’ view.
As I discover more about Office 2007, I wil revisit this topic. For now, I am still in the early stages of finding out all about it, but my first impression of Office 2007 is overall good.