Microsoft highlights Office 2008 origins in new sneak peek

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Microsoft's latest update on Office 2008 for Mac is its largest yet, offering a sweeping overview of the new features and also underscoring the roots of the completely new interface.



The software developer's official sneak peak website provides visitors with a visual explanation of each feature in the new Office suite, which will represents the first major change to the Mac version of the software in roughly four years.



Features common to every program, such as the My Day scheduling tool, are highlighted alongside changes to individual programs such as Word's Publishing Layout View for creating newsletters and flyers.



But while the web page supplies the basic details, the company explained in its Mac Mojo blog that the path taken to reach this final look and feel was a complex one that sought to borrow from Office 2007 for Windows without diluting the Mac interface.



The Windows team's core achievement for Office 2007 was the Ribbon interface at the top of the screen, said Microsoft Mac Business Unit researcher Nadyne Mielke. The system completely scraps the traditional menu system in favor of a tabbed strip with dynamic buttons that change depending on the immediate context. These buttons are highly visual and are meant to help users find features that would have otherwise been buried layers deep.



"A feature can be the coolest feature in the world, but its usefulness is degraded if no-one can find it," Mielke said. "One of the most compelling results [of the Ribbon] was that their users liked seeing graphical representations of actions because it helped them visualise what they were about to do."



Microsoft's Office 2007 Ribbon Interface (Windows)



This interface was helpful but not necessarily what Mac users would expect, however. Since the Mac OS X interface dictates a menu bar with certain fixed categories, copying the Ribbon wholesale simply wasn't going to work, according to the Microsoft blogger.



The result was the Elements Gallery: the new layout incorporates the tabs and button strips of the Windows interface, but has a common set of buttons and still holds the traditional Mac menu bar. Users can see the obvious actions that can be taken at a given moment, such as changing a PowerPoint slide transition, but can always find certain common actions (such as creating a text box) in the same location.



Microsoft's Office 2008 for Mac Elements Gallery Interface



After some initial adjustment, the Elements Gallery proved to be a useful change to the design and shifted from just a change applied in Word to the guiding principle for the entire Office package. The control method now only requires "finishing touches" and will be ready for the final release sometime in early 2008.



"It's almost time to let our software out into the wild," Mielke said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    Looks rather cluttered and confused to me...



    The www.macoffice2008.com comes up as completely black to me, the flash doesn't play (Windows, Firefox).
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Ribbons and menus and buttons, oh my. I could care less. Just make Entourage finally work properly with Exchange.



    (oh yeah, and keep the project center; it rocks)
  • Reply 3 of 39
    But with the new iWork, I'm not if I'll even need Office 2008.



    Perhaps a case of too little, too late? Or maybe just too late \
  • Reply 4 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eAi View Post


    Looks rather cluttered and confused to me...



    The www.macoffice2008.com comes up as completely black to me, the flash doesn't play (Windows, Firefox).



    give it a few min. then it comes up
  • Reply 5 of 39
    deleted
  • Reply 6 of 39
    is there a beta community that i don't know about?

    or is it the microsoft strategy to throw it out there and see how shitty it is before fixing it?
  • Reply 7 of 39
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    The Windows version of Office 2007 is great. but the screen shots of 2008 look just insain! so much crap, whereas the whole point of the ribbon is TO HIDE CLUTTER, not make more of it.



    As a day in and day out power user of Office 2007 since early March I can say that I would not go back...but from the looks of it, I would not touch 08 with a 10- foot pole.

    MS just doesnt get that a good Vista app is a poor OSX app, and I would also say that Apple apps dont make the best windows apps either...iTunes is standard because it talks to iPod and connects to the store, other than that, it is just a bad application on windows...and Office is pretty much a bad application on mac.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eAi View Post


    Looks rather cluttered and confused to me...



    The www.macoffice2008.com comes up as completely black to me, the flash doesn't play (Windows, Firefox).



    Yeah I tried to go to their site on IE running on Windows (at the office mind you!) and it never came up either. Go figure. A Microsoft Windows based product not compatiable with a Microsoft Macintosh based product!
  • Reply 9 of 39
    I am going to come right out and say this (I'll probably get flamed, but it's not a big deal): Microsoft sounds increasingly like a modest, humble company that is trying to do its best, while Apple (esp. SJ) comes through as more and more arrogant by the day.



    Quite a turn of personalities (and judgments) in my mind!
  • Reply 10 of 39
    dr. xdr. x Posts: 173member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eAi View Post


    Looks rather cluttered and confused to me...



    The www.macoffice2008.com comes up as completely black to me, the flash doesn't play (Windows, Firefox).



    It works for me using Safari 3.0.3 public beta. Try downloading Safari 3 and see if it works.



    Good luck.
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    I am going to come right out and say this (I'll probably get flamed, but it's not a big deal): Microsoft sounds increasingly like a modest, humble company that is trying to do its best, while Apple (esp. SJ) comes through as more and more arrogant by the day.



    Quite a turn of personalities (and judgments) in my mind!



    Odd that...
  • Reply 12 of 39
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    I am going to come right out and say this (I'll probably get flamed, but it's not a big deal): Microsoft sounds increasingly like a modest, humble company that is trying to do its best, while Apple (esp. SJ) comes through as more and more arrogant by the day.



    Quite a turn of personalities (and judgments) in my mind!



    MS is a snake in the grass, they are not nice, but they are a convicted monopolist in the US and in a lot of trouble in the EU...they have to seem humble, not overtly kill competition and whatnot...or they get fined or worse!







    Apple seems to be transforming into a parody of its self: if Steve Jobs farts, there will be a news conferance, a cheezy demo and an obligatory ass licking from Pouge..They don't announce jack at their trade shows, where the real fans are, where the paying customers are, they invite Leo Laporte, Engadget, a hand selected AP guy and of course Steves bitchboys Pouge and Mossberg...because the last thing apple wants is comeone to stray from the prepared PR copy and boiler plate...just loike all other companies, but with Apple the GP gives (or at least gave) a crap...





    and lets talk product: Vista may have been buggy for a while there, but MS has a product that is going on one year in the wild, is close to being fully vetted for use in corporations and working on the service pack...meanwhile Apple has delivered nothing but a cell phone while promising a vista killer thatapperantly now will not ship till 1 year AFTER vistas release (Oct 06 was the release to Volume License customers)...



    And apple is so secretive on everything, they for a while there seemed to be ""open" but now they allow no 3rd party dev for the iPhone, and seem to undercut 3rd party mac apps at every turn: they are paranoid, NDAs for people testing the OS? what didnt they show in the public WWDC stuff? they already showed us all of the new stuff, so why the NDAs? the testers arent seeing OSX source code...



    Steve, or someone inside of Apple is ruining it...quickly, the company has changed directions in the last few years



    Mac will die in 2011, and OSX will be abandonware because Steve will never open it!
  • Reply 13 of 39
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...



    "A feature can be the coolest feature in the world, but its usefulness is degraded if no-one can find it," Mielke said. "One of the most compelling results [of the Ribbon] was that their users liked seeing graphical representations of actions because it helped them visualise what they were about to do."



    ...



    This betrays a fundamental misunderstanding what people like me want out computer software. The coolest feature of any software title is the skill of the user. The best software gets the f--k out of the way and allows me to do my work.



    With the talent working for Microsoft, it ought to be developing new miracle software. Instead, these talented people spend their time adding dubious features to Word and PowerPoint while ensuring that Entourage has only passing compatibility with Outlook. The end result is software that gives you the choice of accepting what Microsoft gives you or killing hours of productivity trying to do it your way.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    Really slow (did I say SLOW) website.

    Flash! What happened to Silverlight?

    I hate all Flash websites.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    Umm, is it just me or does that look like a bad version of vista? That's just plain disgusting...I'm already confused looking at it.



    I shouldn't have to learn a piece of software; it just be intuitive enough to use.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a_greer View Post


    MS is a snake in the grass, they are not nice, but they are a convicted monopolist in the US and in a lot of trouble in the EU...they have to seem humble, not overtly kill competition and whatnot...or they get fined or worse!







    Apple seems to be transforming into a parody of its self: if Steve Jobs farts, there will be a news conferance, a cheezy demo and an obligatory ass licking from Pouge..They don't announce jack at their trade shows, where the real fans are, where the paying customers are, they invite Leo Laporte, Engadget, a hand selected AP guy and of course Steves bitchboys Pouge and Mossberg...because the last thing apple wants is comeone to stray from the prepared PR copy and boiler plate...just loike all other companies, but with Apple the GP gives (or at least gave) a crap...





    and lets talk product: Vista may have been buggy for a while there, but MS has a product that is going on one year in the wild, is close to being fully vetted for use in corporations and working on the service pack...meanwhile Apple has delivered nothing but a cell phone while promising a vista killer thatapperantly now will not ship till 1 year AFTER vistas release (Oct 06 was the release to Volume License customers)...



    And apple is so secretive on everything, they for a while there seemed to be ""open" but now they allow no 3rd party dev for the iPhone, and seem to undercut 3rd party mac apps at every turn: they are paranoid, NDAs for people testing the OS? what didnt they show in the public WWDC stuff? they already showed us all of the new stuff, so why the NDAs? the testers arent seeing OSX source code...



    Steve, or someone inside of Apple is ruining it...quickly, the company has changed directions in the last few years



    Mac will die in 2011, and OSX will be abandonware because Steve will never open it!



    ditto to all of that - the overt hubris is troubling to say the least - hopefully some small failure will jog SJ and apple back into a semblance of sensibility...
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onceuponamac View Post


    ditto to all of that - the overt hubris is troubling to say the least - hopefully some small failure will jog SJ and apple back into a semblance of sensibility...



    PS - where is Mel Gross to defend SJ and Apple??? maybe he's stuck on a flight back from London - or worse stuck trying to respond on an iphone in the UK where he can't find a less than 3G GSM signal... : (
  • Reply 18 of 39
    Yeah. That ribbon looks A LOT easier to use.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Odd that...



    Yes, believe me, even I think that's odd....



    It also tells me something about the mood out there that Apple should pay attention to.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    How can they so fundamentally misunderstand the requirements of the UI? A few points:



    1. The reason that most people don't use many of the vast number of features that Word offers is that they DON'T NEED TO. There's no need to make it easier to find these features for these users - simplifying the UI to hide away the less-regularly used features would be much more helpful to many.



    2. Because of this misunderstanding Microsoft are going to land us all with a new UI that uses up lots of valuable screen real estate, reducing the area available for what the software is actually used for - EDITING TEXT! This is evidence of the Microsoft programmers seeing the software as being more important than the material that people are producing with it - totally back to front.



    3. The cynical might suggest that the sole reason that Microsoft are doing this, ie exposing the vast range of features the Office products offer, is to make it clear what "good value" they are at their inflated prices. If this were true it would be evidence that Microsoft is more concerned to maximise the perceived appeal of the product, and hence their profitability, than make a tool that is optimally suited to what people want to do with it.



    4. In Office 2007 it is very difficult to hide the ribbons away, and if you do they just come back again. If they do the same in Office 2008 then I, for one, will not want to update. However I do need an Intel-native version of these tools so I will be forced to look for alternative products. What an opportunity for someone else to come along with true drop-in replacements that Microsoft are creating... I just hope someone takes them up on it.
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