January 5, 2007

New MS Word toolbar system: The Ribbon

Posted in Editing, Tools at 12:46 am by India

(Shudder.) I don’t think I’ll be getting this upgrade.

[via Scott Rosenberg]

Update: I definitely won’t.


  1. Rose said,

    Whoa dude. That is fucked up. “And there is no option to go back to the classic interface.” !!!!

    I have already been thinking that when I get a laptop this year I might go totally open source. Screw Microsoft! Take that! Ha!

  2. India Amos said,

    Well, it’s hard to imagine the new interface being worse than the old, crufted-up one, but what I worry about is (a) how this will affect Editor’s Toolkit, and (b) the Ribbon’s not being customizable. I am very fond of the ability to customize my toolbars in Word.

    But, yes, if it breaks ETK for good, I’ll switch to open source.

  3. d. f. tweney said,

    I agree, it looks horrible, but some people say it’s actually a big improvement once you get used to it (which takes 10-30 minutes apparently). Anil Dash, who is a pretty smart cookie, says it made Word go from being “frustrating and confusing to fairly straightforward to use.”

    If you’re looking for a Mac word processor, you could try this one. Retro!

    Seriously though, I have to say that OpenOffice.org 2.0 is pretty damn good. The menus are arranged differently enough from Word’s and Excel’s that it’s confusing to me. But the suite is amazingly complete, totally file-compatible with MS as far as I’ve been able to test it, and highly customizable. I haven’t tested the Mac version but it’s supposed to be identical to the PC and Linux flavors.

  4. India Amos said,

    I’m sure it will be easier for a lot of people who mostly, you know, type (though of course, the real test is whether my mom can learn it—she’s not at all icon-friendly). The developers have cleverly and no doubt intentionally left themselves a lot of room for improvement over the years. (The footnote/endnote system? Fucked!)

    But to those of us who are macro-happy, toolbar-button-creating, word-processing monsters, it sounds like it’ll be less flexible, and that’s bad. If I can’t continue to twist Word around my finger—albeit sometimes needing pliers—the way I want to, then it’s no better than any of fifty other so-called word processing programs that also don’t do what I want.

    If it weren’t for Editor’s Toolkit, I’d have given up on Word a long time ago, so if that breaks, to hell with it. I certainly won’t lay out any money for a new Office version until I see how Jack deals with it.

  5. India Amos said,

    Jack has spoken. It’s a thoughtful review, even for those who don’t use Editor’s Toolkit.

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