The Best Outlook Feature Ever

Here’s an Outlook party trick suitable for cruise ships, family reunions, and kids birthday parties. Up until now this secret trick has been known only to Outlook insiders–a kind of “secret handshake” passed through the generations of Outlook team members.  Every few years ago someone files a bug on it and it is quickly closed…

35

Help Is For Experts

One of the most interesting epiphanies I’ve had over the last few years seems on the surface like a paradox: “help” in Office is mostly used by experts and enthusiasts. How can this be?  I think my biased assumption was that experts know how to use the software already and eager novices would be poring…

45

I Guess No One Cares About Fonts

Last week, I wrote about Segoe UI, the new font used to render the user interface of Office 12 and Windows Vista. I intended it to be a little fluffy “FYI” piece.  Little did I anticipate the flurry of comments and feedback and e-mail and blog entries.  Font this, font that!  Font font font font…

26

Thanksgiving on a Wednesday

Thursday and Friday are Microsoft holidays, so the next new post will be on Monday.  In the meantime, here’s a “holiday” treat for you. Thanksgiving in the United States is a holiday that always occurs on Thursday.  However, one year Microsoft moved it to Wednesday.  How?  Read on. Growing up as a program manager working…

17

Fun Factor

Unless you’ve just awakened from a Rip Van Winkle-style hibernation, you probably heard that Microsoft released the Xbox 360 last night at midnight.  The local news in Seattle was stationed outside of the Best Buy I normally go to in Bellevue, giving up-to-the-minute updates about the progress of the line (several hundred people long) and…

9

You’ll Know It When You See It

An important element of the new user interface in Office 12 is a feature we call “Live Preview.” The basic idea behind Live Preview is simple: whenever you hover over a formatting option with your mouse cursor, Office shows you what your document would look like if you chose to apply that formatting.  For example,…

18

Keeping Up Appearances

Before I start today, a special note: if you haven’t done so yet, you might want to read yesterday’s entry.  We shipped Office 12 Beta 1 (yea!) and I pulled together a set of articles designed to jumpstart your knowledge of the Ribbon, contextual tabs, galleries, and the rest of the Office 12 user interface. …

5

Beta 1-derful: The ‘Top 30’ List

As you may have seen, yesterday evening we released Office 12 Beta 1 to our technical beta testers.  We finished up build 3417.6 last week and declared it to be Beta 1, followed by a few days of media verification (testing the CDs) and getting it ready for download.  As I write, our 10,000 technical…

19

Making the Letters Better

We’re not just introducing a new UI in Office 12–we’re also introducing a new UI font. Windows 95 used “MS Sans Serif” as the UI font in Western locales.  It was a straightforward font which looked fairly good, if plain, at small sizes.  Office 95, as well as previous versions running on Windows 95, used…

64

A Clipboard for Formatting

OK, here’s what happened: The article I intended to post today, I couldn’t.  And now the day’s almost done (except, of course, here on the left coast of the US where it’s still mid-afternoon and in Australia, where it’s already tomorrow.) So instead of posting a full article, I’ll devote this space today to an…

29