View Poll Results: Do you like the MS Office Ribbon?

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  • Like It

    38 29.46%
  • Hate It

    76 58.91%
  • Haven't formed opinion yet

    9 6.98%
  • Don't use it

    6 4.65%
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  1. #1
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    What's your feeling about the Ribbon and why?

    Ted,

    I agree with your premise. What bugs the heck out of me is the fact that those of us that have been using the menu system for 30+ years {ok for Office it's only about 17+} and know it pretty darn well have to toss all that experience when it would have just as easy for MS to keep the old system in there and let the user {what ever happened to "The Customer is Always Right!"} choose.

    Here's a couple of links to make the transition a little easier:
    Word Command Finder

    Keyboard Shortcuts

    How To Use The Ribbon

    Free Training Manuals & Reference Guides

    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Well RG, nice thread For those in the dark what I mean, yesterday I started a thread about the ribbon, then after a message discussion with Clint decided a poll would be nice. Unfortunately we could not modify the original thread to add the poll so I had to start a new thread. In the process of switching all responses over to the new thread, my original post was lost and RG became the originator so thankyou to RG. I will attempt to include most of what was on my original post.

    Since MS originally included the ribbon on Office 2007 (which was not very customizable) and Office 2010 which is very costomizable the ribbon has found it's way into many other MS apps including WLM 2011, MS Paint, Wordpad, Etc. Starting with Win 8 Windows Explorer will include a ribbon as well. My question is posed to all my Lounge colleagues. What are your feelings of the Ribbon? Such an easy question.

    I am getting accustomed to the ribbon and am starting to really like it. I am starting to find that I like to be able to customize it to work for me. In fact I have added a Favorites tab to MS Word:

    WordFavorites.jpg

    As we move forward we have to keep increasing our knowledge. This includes learning and embrassing new technologies. I believe the ribbon brings many of the hidden features of the various Office apps to the forefront. In Office 2003, unless you used many of these features all the time, you never even knew the features existed because they were hidden inside menus that you never opened. Now these features are shown more in a ribbon that can be more easily seen.

    Anyway, I hope this start a lively discussion that opens peoples eyes to new ways of doing things.

    Many thanks to RG for this thread!!!
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-02-22 at 05:48.
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  3. #3
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    I think it's a matter of habit. Once you get over the "inertia" of moving on to a new system, you can get used to the ribbon. For the options available there, the ribbon is better than a menu. The problem is accessing the options not there and I think Microsoft could have done better on that particular issue.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I don't have a whole lot of experience with Office so it's not too bad getting to know a new system, I don't have years
    of the menu system ingrained. One thing with the Ribbon though, I had never realized that there were so many options and configurations,
    especially in a simple Word document. The menu system seemed to keep them out of sight & cleaned up in a way wereas the Ribbon has everything in your face.

    You probably should have made a poll Ted.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Like a couple of you I have been using these office programs since Visicalc in 1981 on an Apple II+, through PFS File & Word, ProFile & ProWord, Quattro Pro, MS Word, Excel, MS Office, to now Office 2007. There have been a good many user interface changes along the way. I have read MS's reason for the ribbon was due to many users being similar to Clint in not realizing all the many options and configurations which were available and requesting new features that already existed.

    For our office the change was mostly neutral. The ribbon has not been a noticeable improvement but did not cost a lot of time. A key was quickly customizing for everyone the quick access bars in Excel and Word based on each person's use and requests. In my case I keep Excel open all day and have 15 buttons on the quick access bar. That probably handles 95% of needed functions. I keep the ribbon minimized and open it for the other 5%. I only use Word a couple times a day and keep the ribbon displayed. Every few months I get motivated to scroll through the ribbon to browse what is there.

    The Office Button recent documents list is a solid plus for us because of its pin feature and ability to list a large number of files.

  6. #6
    Silver Lounger Banyarola's Avatar
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    Well, I have used it in other programs and don't like it.
    I prefer everything in front of me and not have to be troubled browsing through a ribbon to find what I need.
    "If You Are Reading This In English, Thank A VET"

  7. #7
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Bill,

    Welcome to the lounge as a new Poster!
    It's always good to have new blood, experience set, and opinions.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  8. The Following User Says Thank You to RetiredGeek For This Useful Post:

    billacorn (2012-02-21)

  9. #8
    Gold Lounger
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    Hello Loungers
    I tried to move all these posts into this new thread ....It didn't work as i wished ( my bad ) apologize... The best i could do is this screenshot
    Attached Images Attached Images
    PlainFred

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  10. The Following User Says Thank You to Just Plain Fred For This Useful Post:

    Medico (2012-02-20)

  11. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Thanks Fred. You help is greatly appreciated. I did modify my post #2 to explain what happened. I do appreciate your assistance with this.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  12. #10
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    For the many people who "live" in one or more Office applications the Ribbon was/is a huge change which impacts productivity. Those long time dedicated users are most likely the folks who used keyboard shortcuts frequently and/or modified the toolbars to suit their work style. For the rest of us, the Ribbon has been a good thing. If you read the background on the FluentUI, a very large percentage of feature requests Microsoft received were for features that already existed within Office. The ribbon readily exposes much more functionality than the toolbars in the various Office programs. With Office 2010, it is much more customizable than in Office 2007. IMO, for most users the ribbon has been a step forward in usability.

    Joe

  13. #11
    2 Star Lounger
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    I find it easier to find things in the Ribbon, the sections seem more intuitive than the old menu bar items. The placement of many of the items in the old Office menus was quite arbitrary, rarely used things were more often than not in the last place I'd expect them to be.

    All of the keyboard short cuts I use still work. Also I use the context menu menus a lot in all applications (via the menu key - not right click).

    Microsoft Office Labs have an experimental Search Command plugin for Office 2007/2010 that works Word, Excel & Powerpoint. http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28559



  14. #12
    Lounger
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    I've been using Word and Excel regularly for many years and for the last 3 years have had to put up with the ribbons. There are a couple of 3rd party programs available which supposedly return the menu system but I haven't been able to get them to work. End result is a massive quick-access bar. I reckon MS should make the quick-access bar the main strip as this seems to be a preferred way to get at often used menu items. Users should then work the other way around using ribbons only on demand. I can never find what I want on the ribbons without spending a lot of time searching through them. I guess I automatically knew where an item was in the old versions (If I only want a word processor I still use my old version of Word, it's quicker).

  15. #13
    New Lounger
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    The Ribbon is frankly inefficient, and it was designed explicitly for rank beginners or children. It takes up far too much space, is visually very hard to navigate (requiring scanning of the full width of the screen to find anything, and especially hard on a small notebook), is inconsistent internally, depends on remembering masses of icons - often with only slight differences (the text is far too hard to read), does not allow easy keyboard use for those of us who have real work to do, and ultimately is easily outgrown by (almost) anyone. Making the keyboard harder to use is bizarre. The only way the ribbon could become apparently usable is if it is one of the only programs in day-to-day use. I use about 50 as a routine, switching back and forth many times, and consistent, intuitive structure is the only was to manage this, and mostly from the keyboard, using the natural, logical, easily navigable inherent tree structure of a menu system - without much eye movement. I delete all the tool-bar buttons I can where common keyboard shortcuts area available, because they just get in the way and complicate the visual field, taking up space better used for other things.

    There are many instances in everyday life where icons and text are used on signage. If the icon takes longer to decode than the word, it has failed. Driving, that can be lethal. How many times have you wondered whether you are in the right place trying to decode the image on a toilet door from some supposedly imaginative designer? Often, it is only by reading the small-print label underneath that you can be sure! That is ridiculous, but it is the situation now with The Ribbon.

    Why cannot the option of simple menus always be provided? Because that would be an admission of defeat. We killed Clippy - rapidly - for good reason. By all means cater to the less able, the inexperienced, and the mouse-fixated, but all I would ask is that, please, do the rest of us a favour. The Ribbon is not a step in the right direction except as training wheels (perhaps). Those are discarded with pleasure at the first opportunity, so let us unload the clutter. This is not being reactionary, or otherwise against change. I have seen enough change in computing from paper tape and Hollerith card programming to now with touch screens to know the difference between good and bad. The mouse has its place, and I use it accordingly, but the keyboard remains fast and efficient, even for two-finger typists, for most work. The 'secularization' of computers required simplification, it is true, so that more could use them without a technical bent, but why should the able be penalized by a misguided sales tactic?

    The trouble now is that other software writers are following suit, and they get in a far bigger mess, but they feel obliged to follow a perceived standard. Unfortunately, this is change for change's sake - where is the evidence that it was necessary? Ergonomically, it is a joke - really.

    "Exposing functionality" is a claimed benefit. What that actually indicates is that the menus were not sufficiently developed, because there was an apparent desire on the part of MS to hide what was felt to be intimidating. Broadly, if one needed something it was findable, albeit at some effort. There was clearly too much pandering to the majority by way of making sure that they were not put off using Windows. Just look at the idiotic animations, sound effects and other juvenilia scattered around: toys are fine in their place, but do not force us to use them when we are not playing. The prefix "My" that sprang up on everything is a measure of this LCD approach - the lowest common denominator. By all means provide ramps and elevators for those who need, but the rest of us will use the stairs: fast, efficient, and fitness improves. Nobody would dream of not building stairs, would they?

    BWD

  16. #14
    New Lounger
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    a big oversight

    The ribbon was designed for only half of the "user" interface, that of the person sitting in front of the display. the other half, the side that programmers use to access and use existing elements of the prior command bars/ buttons, is inelegantly terminated. The designers of the ribbon blundered horribly.
    Experts have responded to me that they do not use newer versions of office apps where they need to programmatically drive function,
    since the ribbon amputated the efficient (and only) interface of the command-bar/buttons.
    Even MS admits this in inept fashion, stating that programmatic access to the commands is no longer provided, but luckily they had
    the back-door and horribly inefficient Accessibility interface to deflect invested people, even MVPs, to use in order to "look around" and find the elements.
    this hit or miss (some elements are not properly presented via certain MS programs -some dropdowns do not show their child elements) and to
    effectively use this MSAA backdoor, code of less than 15 LOC bloated to over 700 LOC just to get all of the MSAA interface and navigation of the
    ribbon-onion-layers peeled back till you uncover the elements if by chance they are properly presented.
    After spending weeks to unravel this, a particular MS app's interface failed; a blind user with an accessibility program would be
    unable to access the elements of that aforementioned dropdown.
    To get past this I was forced to go an entirely different route that luckily is far more efficient than the back-door of the MSAA;
    It is a hack but again, luckily it worked.
    This blind amputation of functionality leads me to observe that MS is in a world of their own, and like GM, will not be around in 5-10 years as
    the behemoth of today. This hyper-focus on child-like iconic presentation-as a prior respondent had also observed,
    shows that they are more concerned with marketing hype and presentation flash rather than function.
    I fear the Metro phone/Win8 UI is so much like this that properly working with Win or office in the future will force apps/ add-ons to make
    a choice of either continuing to bet on a company that blindly chops partner access to function, or alter course to the Google Android/ other vehicles.
    MS seems to strive to own all of the programmatic function, this is clear. The ribbon and Metro are the closing acts.

  17. #15
    4 Star Lounger
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    I dislike it intensely. I can see its attractions in apps with a small range of commands such as Windows Explorer. But in apps with hundreds of commands such as most Office apps, it is messy and a total waste of space. It's original theme was to expose more commands to users, but it fails dismally in every department. Customising menus, creating custom menus, attaching custom menus to templates and documents, locating menus anywhere on screen, creating custom icons, etc., used to be a simple intuitive tasks. Ribbons are a complete antithesis of menus. A waste of time, money and productivity. LONG LIVE OFFICE 2003! Terry

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