The newer Office 2007 User Interface

Since Beta 1, the Office team has been hard at work refining the new UI. Yesterday they revealed the latest work, and for those of you on Beta 1, you’ll notice that things are much more crisp. If you haven’t seen any of the screenshots yet, you should check out Jensen’s post:

Jensen has a bunch of screenshots and if you haven’t been to his site yet, I highly recommend it. He puts me to shame with the amount of content he posts (he posts a new article every day). Here’s one of the screenshots from the new Excel UI (notice that a different skin is applied too):

If you’re interested in finding out more information about Office 2007, as well as signing up for the upcoming Beta 2, you should visit the office preview site:


Comments (38)

  1. Meh says:

    Its confusing after 10 years of the old school office.

    I uninstalled Office 12 because of this confusion AND because its a bloat hog.

  2. Wes Miller says:

    I don’t know, I disagree that it’s confusing. It’s just different. I actually like 99.9% of the ribbon approach. What I don’t like is the entire removal of the File menu, and it’s arbitrary replacement with an Office icon… I think that’s a step in a very undiscoverable direction.

  3. Meh says:

    Its faster to uninstall office 12 than it is to use the thing to be useful.

    Bubble boy interface, sad attempt at Aqua for OS X clone UI which stands out like a 12" dildo on Classic theme.

    Runs as fast as a spastic relay race.

  4. TehOMG! says:

    one word..


    Its free, it works, its free.  Granny doesn’t care about VBS.

  5. LOLERSKATES says:

    “think that’s a step in a very undiscoverable direction.”

    Its a step in ****. [edited by Brian: Sorry, but I had to remove the word. Don’t want to offend anyone]

  6. OO says:

    OpenOffice is 10 years behind but so are the rest of us so it’s all fine and dandy 🙂

  7. WAHAHAHA says:

    SO, how much cheaper is the TCO of this than FREE? (openoffice)

  8. Sergey Galich says:

    New look? Huh… Cute, but looks a little dark and heavy.

    Wanna know truth? No one need new designs if it works slow and takes a lot of space on HDD & RAM. And I know bugs that wasn’t fixed over few last versions – so I expect them be there again.

    Resume – I’m not optimistic about value of new Office12. I was much more impressed by realtime behavior of Pages from Apple and only one good thing for Word is that Apple do not run their products on Windows.

  9. MOo says:

    Apple = Pleasurable and enjoyable

    Microsoft = Frustration.

    NUff said.

  10. BrianJones says:

    Thanks for all the great comments to help lead me into the weekend on a positive note. 🙂

    Meh, I’m not sure if you are saying that the performance is the problem for you or the interface itself. Both have obviously improved significantly since we shipped Beta 1 last year, and we’ll continue improving. You should really give Beta 2 a try when it comes out.

    Wes, it really is a huge improvement. Whenever I go back to the old UI at this point, I realize how big of an improvement it really has been. I too was a little skeptical of the Office icon button, but it actually works out pretty good. I’ll be curious to see what folks think after they’ve had a chance to work with it for a couple weeks.

    TehOMG, I don’t think Granny is the only one who doesn’t care about VBS. Not sure if we’ve made it clear, but VBS isn’t the feature we consider makes Office standout above all the competition. You should read some of the Office blogs to get a better handle of everything that’s there (I have a bunch of links off to the right).

    LOLERSKATES, sorry, but I had to replace your original word with a more "Granny" appropriate term. Was that mainly just trying to be funny, or do you really feel that way? It would be nice if you could provide some more info on what makes the new version seem so bad for you.

    OO, I’m sorry to hear that. It’s pretty sweet up here in the 21st century (although I have to admit there are a number of things I really enjoyed back there in 1996).

    WAHAHAHA, a paper and pencil would also be pretty cheap. It’s up to you if you want to pay for something better. I hope you don’t feel like I’m trying to force you to though, it’s your choice. Some of the folks who read this blog have said they just like using notepad. 🙂

    Sergey, the screenshot I linked to was with the dark skin applied to the app (that’s why it looks so dark). If you go to Jensen’s post you’ll see a bunch of other screenshots with the blue skin. Have you used Beta 1? You should give it a try.

    MOo, I’ve been working with some of the Apple guys on the Ecma standardization of the Open XML formats. I like a lot of their stuff, so I won’t argue with your first point. Sorry that Microsoft has been so frustrating for you though. Are there particular products you’re having trouble with?

    Well, after all that I could use a beer… have a great weekend everyone! 🙂


  11. Sam says:

    Hey, is there any chance that Word 12 won’t hang for *over* a *minute* every time I open a file if I wake up my laptop away from the office, and Word can’t find the printer?

    Any chance of that, guys?

    Any chance of you guys doing very, very time-consuming things asynchronously instead of hanging the UI for a very, very long f*****g time while it waits for something on which the UI is not dependent? Does the word “thread” ring a bell?

    Didn’t think so.

  12. MSFT says:


    Says it all really 🙂 You know what Im talking about 🙂

  13. Moo says:

    Well for all the products I am frustrated with I dont think this text control has a large enough buffer.. Unhandled Exception.. Access Violation at 0x000303043 reading memory 0x0000000.

  14. Step says:

    I’m a little surprised to see such a slew of negativity here, and no positive comments.  Brian, hopefully you’re not reading your comments at this point, and are enjoying your weekend instead.  

    But if not, just want to let you know that I think you guys have done a lot of really great work on the new Office, and I’m REALLY looking forward to using it.  It’s got a lot of promise.  To be sure, I’ve got a few minor quibbles, but as I haven’t yet actually used it I’m not really qualified to comment.

    I think the most difficult thing (after looking at your screenshot) may be that I’ll still be trying to "look under rocks" for more functions.  That you guys managed to expose all that previously hidden functionality is really a testament to some wonderful design, and in a perverse way so are the comments above.  😛  Pity people don’t get it, huh?

  15. Office worst app says:

    The word part of the Office Suite is OUTLOOK, it totally ownzerz the machine while it talks to the Exchange server.

    My laptop becomes a slobbering idiot when it polls Exchange.

    What makes office laggy and sluggy is the themed controls, its great that a new UI is being done its a great thing but its not LEAN enough.  

  16. My god! says:

     What’s that? Is that Linux? It "features" even antialiased fonts, which is horrorful and 48×48 icons!. Sorry, but I can’t stand it. I’m still with Office 2000 and judging by that, I’ll keep it for a long time. Maybe I’ll try WordPerfect or even OpenOffice.

     Put this shit in the new Office if you should explain someone why he has to pay money to a couple of designers, but please give the user the option to actually have an usable product: let it choose a "Windows classic" look (and I mean "classic", that is, Office 2000, not Office XP or Office 2003 like).

     Mr. Jones, besides performance, which I obviously hadn’t the chance to experience, that interface IS actually a problem. An absolutely major one, I’d say.

     This is not innovation. This is like painting the whole Micheangelo’s David in pink. A complete nonsense and the best of the buyers disuader.

     A saddened non-customer.

  17. Blah says:

    I dumped MS Office in favour of OpenOffice 2.0, 2.0 is ready for primetime.  Try it.  If may suit all your needs.

    I thought OpenOffice 1.x sucked but 2.0 is for me and I am quite sure it is for most people outside specialist needs where MS Office (or other products) are required then again LaTeX is where the professionals are.

  18. tg says:

    I’m really suprised that all of the *nix and OO trolls are reading this blog.  Come-on guys if your stuff is so great, what are you doing on the MSDN website?  Like Brian said above — YOU don’t have to use their product!  And for those of us that use Microsoft products, your comments aren’t changing many minds 😉

  19. My god! says:

     I DO love Office (Office 2000, that is), so no *nix neither OOO troll here. Besides that, I’ve just tried OpenOffice and surprise: it features the horrible and distracting Office XP-2003 gradient toolbar. It has, of course, been inmediately deleted from my computer. I’ll keep Office 2000, which thankfully fullfills all my word processing needs.

     Wish you to enjoy all the "innovations".

  20. G. T. says:

    I love the new UI

    I do criticize Microsoft a lot about their products performance or quality, but I can’t criticize them about the new UI, well, that dark one is Vista style, and I don’t like the dark interface, but the new blue UI is amazing.

    Finally a step in the right direction, I have not installed it yet, waiting for the beta 1 refresh, and I hope that the performance is better.

    But the UI looks good, relaxed, just what I am looking for, will comment more after I try it, for now is just screenshots only

    About the people who love the Mac, it is not written by gods, just by developers, don’t believe me? here is something for you

  21. LOL fanboi says:

    "it has immediately been deleted from my computer" ROLFKOPTERS AND LOLERSKATES.

    That says it all really. Must have Microsoft products *fap fap fap*




  23. Me says:

    I just bought a GOOGLE hat today. Why? Because Microsoft only sells them on its Redmon Store, I have to PHYSICALLY go to redmond to buy one. Im an employee and I cant even buy one (im in Europe) here. SO I bought a GOOGLE hat.  Thats how far Microsoft’s cranium is crammed up its own rectum in Redmond.

  24. Нет? Ничего, сейчас покажется 🙂

  25. QUI? says:

    #  Вам не кажется, что интерфейс Office 2007 слишком уж футуристичен?

    Monday, March 13, 2006 11:39 AM by Олег Михайлик

    Нет? Ничего, сейчас покажется 🙂

    WTF Is that gibberish?

  26. FARfetched says:


    Without actually getting my mitts on the apps (I’m a Mac user), I really can’t say how the interface changes would work in real life… but I hope (as others have mentioned) that users can choose the new or traditional interface. Being able to rearrange menus and toolbars at will, as in older versions, would be good too. I have to give you some credit for at least trying to improve the UI, even if I have reservations about the direction y’all are taking.

    I’m not a fan of heavy toolbars — I hope there will be options to use smaller icons, icon/text only, etc., as well. Truth be told, I’d prefer a <i>vertical</i> toolbar option; let the content fill the vertical space.

    Laptop users still have limited real estate on the screen, so anything that will make our life easier (like vertical toolbars) will help there. As much as I like having OpenOffice around, its tendency to sprawl chafes me a <i>lot</i> — I keep wishing for a Normal mode like Word has (or even a draft mode like Word used to have). 😛

    That’s all I can think of for now.

  27. José Henrique says:

    Brian, can you post more Office 12 screen shots?


  28. kris says:


    i have been taking shots at Word 12 for a couple of months now, the ribbon looks pretty heavy!.. And discouraging too..

    i ‘m unable to figure out how do i modify my existing macros to fit into word 12 as i see that menus and toolbars collections are completely jumbled and god knows what all was done with them!!…

    Any ideas on macro programming with Office 12?



  29. JohaViss says:

    Sorry to most of you.

    I like this stuff. It took me just 1 day and I wonlt go back to the old Office.

    If you don’t like the ribbon, I have a copy of WordPerfect 5.1 for you.

    If no one tried something new, we would all be cursing at WordStar on a CP/M machine.


  30. victor says:

    Thanx for the reviews……I’m looking forward to install it soon.

  31. ??? says:

    The UI is improved over 2003, but it still is trying to be too helpful, the same mistake was made with Windows XP. Getting rid of the File, edit and all the other buttons was not the best move, a lot of the people who use office are familiar with File, edit and the rest of the buttons. a changable UI or the abillity to customise it more world be nice

  32. BrianJones says:

    Hey everyone, sorry I’ve been AWOL since making this post. I’ve read all of your comments and I really appreciate the feedback. There are a number of folks who’ve been on the Beta and have actually had a chance to play around with the new interface.

    If you are one of the folks who’ve been limited to screenshots though, I highly recommend checking out Julie’s video on Channel 9; or sign up for Beta 2. It’s really hard to do the interface justice with just a couple screenshots.


  33. Ed says:

    Brian, after just a few hours I already found myself using features I never knew were in Office. Actually I went back to 2003 and checked. Sure enough they were, just buried. The new UI works for me!

  34. Justin says:

    So many negative comments, I just had to pop in and say a word. I’m blessed to be running on a brand-new and extraordinarily fast laptop, so I can’t comment on the bloatware angle – anything I do in Office 12 is pretty much instantaneous. But as a longtime user of Office, I have to say I’m quickly falling in love with ribbons. My chief complaint at this point is lack of some sort of user conversion utility. After all these years of having help for WordPerfect users, where’s the help for previous users of Office? I’m having a helluva time finding all my old favorite features – in fact, I still can’t find Spellcheck for the life of me. And the Help system for the beta isn’t quite there (try doing a search on Spellcheck, for instance).

    But that complaint aside, I love the new UI. And the most recent updates look even better. Great XL screenshot, btw. I think that once they get over the initial transition, consumers will love the new UI.

  35. Charles says:

    I have played with BETA2. I have been a fan of the office interface until now. It is way to confusing. Why not stick with a classic interface instead of trying to make it look like a crapintosh?

    I will stick with 2003.

  36. Since Beta 1, the Office team has been hard at work refining the new UI. Yesterday they revealed the latest work, and for those of you on Beta 1, you’ll notice that things are much more crisp. If you haven’t seen any of the screenshots yet, you shoul