back to article Office 15 steals OVERLARGE font, design vision from Windows PHO

Large corporations which find themselves with an unexpectedly popular feature tend to go overboard with it. So it was with Java, which in the mid-1990s rapidly evolved from a programming language into an environment, then a platform, and then an embedded OS – so we got "Java for lightbulbs" - and finally a corporate philosophy …


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  1. Paul_Murphy

    Office 15?

    Not really interested, thanks - Open Office works fine for me, the price is right, as are the licensing terms and installation procedure.

    I was rather impressed that Ubuntu installed it by default on a brand new installation of the OS, that it reads office docs with few issues and that I don't need to tap in a license key when installing it.

    I just hope that OO doesn't implement a ribbon.


    1. Danny 14
      Thumb Up


      I am desperately trying to wean people off outlook - the only real thorn in my move to openoffice. I have installed openoffice on all of our PCs and encourage people to use it. I have also scripted a start menu change to hide office a little more. OWA works quite well and is quick enough "internally" although multiple calendars are still an issue. Still, i'd rather licence a couple of "outlook" copies for teh people who need it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm glad that Open Office satisfies your needs. By all means, continue using it. But do remember, there are others that do need the extra features that MS Office provides and do find the Ribbon helpful.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @ AC 14:32

        I dread to think what users were using before than they think the ribbon is 'helpful'...

        Notable admission of defeat by MS: they actually built the option to turn off the ribbon (on 2011 at least).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Where's the option to do that then? I've got 2010 and I can't seem to find any option to do such a thing, help does not list it . Maybe you mean minimize the ribbon? Hardly an admission of defeat, more a useful feature.

        2. Wibble

          Office 2011 - Mac

          The great thing about a Mac is there's a single menu which is always visible. The Ribbon can only be an alternative and not take over the design; so it makes sense to be able to remove it.

          Never understood why cluttering up vertical space is considered 'a good thing' in an age where widescreen is the most common screen format. The most appropriate format is to have a set of floating menus on the side of the page, a-la the 'traditional' Mac designs.

      2. Big-nosed Pengie

        People who find the ribbon helpful?

        What are their names?

        1. Wibble

          Gates, Ballmer...

          All shareholders in Microsoft as they get away with flogging more snake oil.

  2. TeeCee Gold badge

    "But the Windows Phone isn't popular...."

    Everything after that bit of that sentence was redundant....

    1. Marvin the Martian

      WinPhone popular? Not yet!

      After everybody is used to the UI from Office, the WinPhone will suddenly become very popular because of familiarity.

      That, followed by a (larger-scale than 21/05/2012) rapture on 21/05/2012.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Vitani


    I guess if they can't add new features (how many features can a word processor have?) they need to do _something_ to get people to buy the new version, otherwise they'd go out of business and ...

    1. Richard Gadsden 1

      They could fix some of the features they've already got

      Like the ListTemplates bug that makes complex multi-level numbering more of a nightmare than it really needs to be.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      how many features can a word processor have?

      how many features can a word processor have?

      For starters:

      When it autosaves, it doesn't completely hang. (Or if it does, it autosaves during the hour the screensaver is active, instead of 10milliseconds after I get back to my PC to finish what I was doing before the interruption.)

      It repaginates BEFORE the print job, so it says "page 1 of 234" on page 1 and "page 234 of 234" on the last one, instead of varying "Numpages" throughout the document while it's printing it in a non-humerous fashion.

      If I set the document language to something, it keeps it set to that, instead of randomly changing the language of individual words when a copy and past a paragraph from one place to another.

      I could go on....

    3. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Also Outlook

      How many features can an email program have?

      When there is one window open where I have to type something (e.g. someone's email address), I can open another window (e.g. an email) to copy/paste the information I need for the other window.

      At least in the Exchange / Schedule days you could copy something from Exchange to Schedule, now since it's one program it seems that once you open a dialogue box, you have to close it before you can do ANYTHING else in the program! Get with it MS; it's not DOS anymore!

      When I select "Send from account X" it actually sends the email from account X. It doesn't send it from a different one without telling me, and then even lie when I look in sent items telling me that it did send it from X, when it really sent it from Y.

    4. M Gale

      Re: Well.

      To paraphrase a film that I'm sure plenty of geeks enjoyed (and no doubt, LSD freaks tripped out to):

      "This year we put a 15 on the box."

      Guess the film.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @ M gale

        Tron Legacy......and it was 12, not 15?

  4. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Another UI

    Oh my god, we're just rolling out the ribbon version which no-one here likes and they are changing it again.

    What's the betting that they'll decide that they know better than you what you want, so there will be no options for the 2003 or 2007 style UI either!

  5. Nazar

    WinPho Popular?

    >But the Windows Phone isn't popular because of the typography, or even the tiles: it's popular because (like the iPhone) it makes a subset of very common tasks available and easy to access.

    I was under the impression that WInPho is hugely unpopular, to the extend that WinMob 6.5 units are still outselling WinPho7

  6. BristolBachelor Gold badge


    "But the Windows Phone isn't popular because of the typography, or even the tiles."

    Delete last 8 words: "But the Windows Phone isn't popular"

    Dear Reg. I know formatting in the comments is a bad thing, but can we at least have strike-out?

  7. John Arthur
    Thumb Up


    now that OpenOffice has been snaffled by Oracle it is the alternative, LibreOffice, that is bundled with the latest Ubuntu. And very good it is too.

  8. Dave Murray Silver badge


    Most places seem to still be on Office 2003 because no one likes the ribbon ui and this one looks even worse. MS please just go back to normal menus and toolbars where we all know the shortcuts and scrap all this must look hip and trendy crap that gets in the way of doing our jobs.

    1. Fuzz


      If you know the 2003 shortcut you can use it in 2007 or 2010.

      For example ALT,E,S,V ENTER still works in Excel 2007 and 2010.

      Takes about a week to adjust from using the 2003 menus to the 2007 ribbon. You've had 4 years so probably time to quite moaning about it.

      1. StooMonster
        Gates Halo


        Agreed, I really like the ribbon interface now (after these four years) and am on the second version of it in Office 2010.

        I hope they keep it, the old one feels clunky now and it's harder to find functions -- with the ribbon most functions are all out and available, all the time.

        The worst interface is the Mac Office 2011 which is a mixture of the old menus, the ribbon, some new tab stuff, and menus at the top of the screen -- it's a veritable dog's dinner.

  9. John G Imrie


    Am I alone in confusing Moorea with the mines of Moria.

    Watch out for the Balrog at the bottom of Microsoft’s code.

    1. Michael 36

      Balrog = Balmer?

      I think we should be told

  10. Tom 38


    "Only testing will tell if it's as well received as the Phone UI revamp. But the Windows Phone isn't popular because of the typography, or even the tiles: it's popular because (like the iPhone) it makes a subset of very common tasks available and easy to access."


    "Only testing will tell if it's as well received as the Phone UI revamp. But the Windows Phone isn't popular."


  11. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Gates Halo


    I use it all the time - great product. Now can someone explain Groove and SharePoint Workspace for me. Oh, and that funny forms thing that seems to have disappeared.

    I liked Binder too.

  12. Jerome 0


    That Moorea thing looks rather odd.

    Microsoft had an unexpected and rare (of late) design success with WP7. The next thing you know, they suddenly think that design needs to be translated into every single Microsoft product.

    Remind me, why do I need an app that arranges text and pictures into a grid of squares? If I did happen to need that, couldn't I use Excel?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Can you say iOS

      "The next thing you know, they suddenly think that design needs to be translated into every single Microsoft product."

      What do you mean like the UI that a certain company put on a certain touch based music player, and then on a phone, and then on a tablet, and then on a TV, and then they decided that it'd look good on a desktop too? :-p

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    ...can anyone else smell Microsoft's desperation?

  14. Iain 4
    Thumb Down

    Missing the point there, Microsoft

    WinPho7 is actually very nice, even though it's selling poorly due to being just as expensive as an iPhone 4, and everyone seems to want the one with the Apple on the back and the thousands of popular Apps rather than the one with the best camera or UI.

    But its interface works well filling all that screen space because you use a phone interface in a fairly serial manner - shrunk into a quarter of the screen while I've got other things going on, that amount of whitespace is going to be really annoying.

  15. IGnatius T Foobar

    The market is saturated.

    The market for office software is saturated, Microsoft already has the largest share of it, and no one really wants upgrades. Why? Because it's DONE. It's a problem that has been solved, by Microsoft and others, and there's no need to add much more to it. But if you're Microsoft, you have to keep milking the cash cow, so you add CRAP to it in order to keep customers from thinking that they're paying $500 for mere bugfixes and updates.

  16. Dan Hall

    I've said this about 100 times...

    Microsoft's main problem with design is that they're usability group is focused on "statistics" rather than actual design. For instance, when they do usability testing they're interested in how long it takes a user to complete a task... this isn't an unreasonable metric, except that it forces their designs to cater to new users. Which means that in a lot of cases, they don't cater to the vast majority of software users, who are neither novices nor power users. The "ribbon" and the "hide unused menu items" are just the most egregious instances of this. The first tries to show everything a new user might want to do in a giant jumble, where the second causes interface changes (to a lot of users this change appears to be semi-random), hiding items.

    A second and not unrelated problem is that Microsoft tends to have the "hammer/nail" mentality. When the "Start" button worked out on the desktop, where it really did have some utility, they crammed it into their smartphone UI, where it was a hindrance. Now that their phone UI has garnered some praise, they're moving that model over to the desktop. Whatever tool they're currently enamored of makes every problem a nail.

  17. Muckminded

    As opposed to "forespiration"

    At first glance, I thought "backspiration" might refer to moisture produced while making the beast with two cracks. I prefer your definition.

  18. Steven Knox


    I'm going out on a limb here, to suggest that "Moorea" is a portmanteau of "Moore's Law" and "diarrhea".

    It embodies that other common law regarding PC performance: No matter how much the hardware guys improve performance, Microsoft's development teams will come up even with more crap to use up your system resources.

  19. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Damn touchscreens

    Both Apple and MS are in the process of converting their OS' GUIs to work with touch screens, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it makes classical WIMP use a pain in the arse and neither of them have thought to include ability to choose GUI based on input device or user preference.

  20. CN Hill

    Word is cr*p

    I've just finished a book of 126k words and 134 diagrams - and trying to get a decently formatted version took longer than researching and writing the text.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      @CN Hill

      You should have used LaTeX. Learning curve is a little higher (not being a WYSIWYG environment after all), but the control and flexibility are leagues ahead of what an office word processor can muster.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Quite so.

        And that's why OpenOffice sucks. They managed to faithfully copy all the retarded annoyances where control is taken away from the object in front of the screen and the silly program imposes its own opinion on where the table/break/formatting should go. Permanently. With no recourse. When you have to hand in the paper in about an hour.


        "If you are going to submit a paper to a journal, you should do a professional job of it. If possible, you should write your paper using LaTeX (the TeX users group has information). That's not necessary, but it can't hurt to make it look professional, and it means the journal won't need to retype your paper if it is accepted for publication (which can introduce errors). Almost all research papers in mathematics use LaTeX. "

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        LaTeX ????

        I haven't seen anyone use that since 1993.... and all of the folks using it were writing masters' thesis or PhD papers.(1)

        1) exept for the one guy writing random drawing programs that ran in our QMS laser printer.

  21. Borg.King

    King County

    No 'r' here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No 'o' either.

  22. M Gale

    I'm rather pleased.

    No, really. If Microsoft keep stuffing the UI up like this, people will eventually lose patience with having to re-learn ways of performing common tasks every other year. In the past, it was the file-format lock-in and the stagnation of other company's products that kept Office on top.

    Now? Not so much. Export as PDF, anyone?

  23. Frumious Bandersnatch

    they missed a trick

    They should have adopted okudagram as their design approach.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Hahaha - buyers will buy a backgrade..

    Once upon a time - long ago enough that new users will not even recall it - Word did have a reasonably usable interface. The new *cough* "upgrade" mainly seems to undo the damage Microsoft has inflicted on usability, and I'm willing to bet some marketing dweeb is gong to crow about that as *cough* "innovation" - casually omitting it was them that ruined it in the first place.

    This is why I use OOo - that's not perfect either but it's got one UI which works and which has remained pretty much stable over the years. Why? Well, they don't need to tart up the program to ram the purchase of a new version down your throat. A similar story exists with the file format - I am fed up with their crowd pressure approach to force people to upgrade through the file format. I have as yet to see *ANY* benefit from the .???x formats.

    The nice thing is that I'm no longer alone in this, so maybe Vista and the ribbon has brought some good after all. Keep sinking Microsoft, let me know if you need someone to enlarge the hole in your Titanic..

    Maybe that's why they bought Skype: they think that "too big to fail" also works for software companies..


  25. Christopher Rogers
    Gates Halo


    MS Office article = fanboism of OO.

    I run Ubuntu. Its great, stable, nice UI, functional etc etc basically all the good things I need in a computer. LibreOffice is bundled. But i don't like it. as much.

    I have a Windows 7 machine in Virtualbox for using Office 2010. Why? Because its better than Open Office and LibreOffice. I'm studying at the minute and find MS Office a nicer tool for completing assignments.

    My Gmail account is brilliant as I can access it from all my devices, however my important backups are done using Outlook where I can chuck mail into a PST and burn to disk (Its lazy but it works and Google have shown it is possible to lose data even in the cloud).

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