Tools for the Transition

A lot of people are involved with helping to
produce documentation and tools to help ensure a smooth transition to Office 12 and
the new user experience.  Although the data indicate that people will be
able to be productive even as they first sit down in front of the new product, we
want to make sure that every "T" is crossed and every "i" dotted.

With that in mind, we're trying out a number of different ways of presenting
migration information to see what people find useful.  One thing we wanted to try was to
generate a tool that would help people interactively map commands between the
menus-based UI of Office 2003 and the Ribbon-based UI in Office 12.

The idea wouldn't be that this was a primary
reference, because we really believe people will be able to find the features
they're looking for very quickly in the Ribbon.  It's more like a security
blanket--so that you absolutely know that if you somehow get stuck, you have a
friendly way out.

Your Office 12 security blanket

We've created a beta version of this mapping tool to have people try out along
with Beta 1.  It starts by showing a mockup of Word 2003.  You can interact with the top-level
menus and the Standard and Formatting toolbars.  Hovering over a command
reveals a tooltip with a
description of where its located in the new UI.  You can click on the
command to get a visual representation of exactly where it is in the Word 12

I think it's a neat example of the work people are doing to try to make sure the
migration to Office 12 is a smooth one, and if people find it useful, we may
consider developing it further.

In any case, we're all ears for more ideas on what we can provide along with the
product to complement the transition experience.

Comments (9)

  1. mschaef says:

    This reminds me a lot of the Lotus 1-2-3 Help that’s been in Excel forever. It had to have been hugely useful to many people….

  2. New guidelines for CPR are 30 compressions to 2 breaths – people should not forgo ongoing CPR training; but if you already know CPR simply knowing the new 30:2 ratio may save lives.

    As opposed to training from the “ground-up” — guidance on transitioning to new “known” software should be treated the same.

    1) I do NOT want to be forced to read “things I already know”

    2) I want to know if there are features that now look or behave differently.

    3) I want to know about new concepts and features that affect the transition.

    4) I want to know about transition tools.

    5) I want to know about any “known” transition problems.

  3. JS says:

    "We’ve created a beta version of this mapping tool…"

    Is the tool online somewhere, or will it be? I’d like to try it out.

  4. Dan McCarty says:

    My idea would be to use a helpful little guy, like an animated character. He could help people walk through the new interface. If it ever looked like people were getting stuck (or if he felt like it) he could pop up and offer advice. In fact, it makes sense to make him be something from a familiar environment, like an office. Idunno…say, how about a paper clip?!

    Oh, wait…

    – – –

    The picture of the blanket you have there is the exact same one my two-year-old son carries around, which he calls his "gigi," for some reason unbeknownst to myself and the rest of the world.

    – – –

    Nitpick of the day: if you’re going to be crossing your t’s, don’t you cross a lower-case t?

  5. ChrisC says:

    (1) "the Lotus 1-2-3 Help that’s been in Excel forever."

    I know disk space is cheap – but I have been using Excel since, uh… November `92. Why is it that I MUST install the Lotus 123 help system? No one using my computer would ever use it, I *promise*

    Make them Jensen, *pleeease* 🙂

    (2) Dan M: "Idunno…say, how about a paper clip?!"


    (3) (On topic this time 🙂

    That little ‘finder’ thing for O12 sounds nice… but it also sounds like something I would check the "don’t show me again" box on when I first started using O12. Then I wouldn’t remember it was there a month later when I needed it. HTH

    (4) and since I’m posting already anyway…

    Why is it that the "Activate Product" continues to be on the menu after the product is activated? (Word 2002 – not sure about `03)

    -Chris C.

  6. Guido D says:

    Just to balance things a bit, from what I read the idea seems to be great. I know Word quite inside out and the ribbon seems it will be intuitive, but it’s good to know I don’t need to be searching for minutes if I just can’t find a single feature’s new position in Office 12, just get to this "memory help"

  7. JimL says:

    Thanks for making sure that WE don’t have to go out and buy a book to learn the differences between the new Office 12 and the old versions.

    I don’t care what the exact format is, just so it happens.


  8. Ricky says:

    Two things.

    First, where is this beta transition tool mentioned above?

    Second, I have been beta testing Office 12 for a couple of months now and have found that the ribbon is awful. Things that are easy and doable in Office 11 are not doable or findable or require 12 clicks instead of 1.

    Office 12 feels to me like a really big mistake on MS’s part. Will it be your "New Coke"? Will you have customers after this?

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