Picture This: A New Look For Office

This morning at the CeBIT conference in Germany, we revealed the new visuals for the Office 2007 user interface.

You can see a few screenshots of the new look on the Office 2007 UI Preview Site. If you've got a craving to see even more, I've created a mini-gallery of
full-size screenshots from a recent build of the product below.

I've also posted a guest article written by my colleague Brad Weed, head of the Office Design Group. He's penned an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the new visuals from his perspective as a designer.

Screenshots of the Office 2007 User Interface

First, here are some basic screenshots of the Office 2007 programs.

There are so many changes from the Beta 1 visuals that it would be hard to make a complete list, but a couple of the things you might notice right off the bat: the Quick Access Toolbar in the title bar, group titles on the bottom of groups, and the Office Button (more on that below.)

Click each thumbnail to open a full-size version of the picture.

Word 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Excel 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

PowerPoint 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Outlook 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Access 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Close-up Screenshots of the Ribbon

If you don't have the bandwidth to download the full-window pictures above and you just want to see the Ribbon, these pictures are for you.

Word 2007 Ribbon - Click to enlarge picture

Excel 2007 Ribbon - Click to enlarge picture

PowerPoint 2007 Ribbon - Click to enlarge picture

Contextual Tabs

As I've written several times here on the blog, Contextual Tabs are at the heart of the new user interface. When designing the visuals, we wanted the Contextual Tabs to feel special and part of a group--but in the end, they also need to feel like real tabs. This is one of many places in which usability results informed our visual design decisions.

Table Tools in Office 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Diagram Tools in Office 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

The Office Button

The Office Button provides access to all of the document and system-level functionality in the program. This is where you go to start doing things with your document in Office--from simply opening a file to saving as a PDF to starting a workflow or publishing the document on a server. This is where you start a document, and this is where you finish a document.

There's so much more to write about this in the future, but here's the simple screenshot of what you get when you first click the Office Button.

Office Button - Click to enlarge picture

Adjust To Taste

In Office 2007, we've done something else that we've never done before: given you a choice of skins for the user interface. If you don't like the default blue skin and would prefer something more neutral, we've got you covered with the striking new black skin.

Going Dark in Office 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

On Windows Vista, of course, we fully support glass in both skins. I'll get you some screenshots of that in the not-too-distant future.

Coming Attractions

The team is beyond excited to finally be able to show you what we've been up to recently. There's so much to write about now that we can start showing in more detail the changes we've made since Beta 1 and how the parts fit together.

In the coming weeks, I'll detail more of the thought process and analysis that went into these designs, along with additional perspective from a few guest writers.

The Beta 1 Technical Refresh, from which these screens were taken, will soon be in the hands of our private beta testers. Meanwhile, we remain hard at work on Beta 2.

It's not too late to sign up to receive Beta 2 of Office 2007 when it's ready later in the year. I hope you'll consider giving it a try and letting us know what you think.

Comments (389)
  1. Tim Dawson says:

    This looks really good, especially now we know there will be a choice of colour schemes.

  2. s_tec says:

    Those shades of blue are a little too subtle, leading to a poor signal-to-noise ratio. When I look at the screen, there is nothing my eyes immediately want to focus on. The black skin, though, it absolutely perfect. I love it!

  3. Nice visuals, but when are we going to get a version that allows us to customize the built-in chunks and create multiple, floatable QATs?

  4. Joshua says:

    I was a little worried about the final visuals, but I like both skins. Of course, I can’t wait to see what it looks like with the Vista Glass. Nice work.

  5. Kishan says:

    The old skin was Great at first site. It took a while before this one sank in!(after the initial shock). It looks good but I don’t like the glass effect on the title bar and it would look nice if all the rounded corners had the same radius.

  6. steamy says:

    Jensen: when is first saw the new theme (the blue one) is was so disapointed i cant tell you. its ugly as hell!!! but when i saw that it can be changed:-o the black/grey theme is WONDERFULL!!! it looks fantastic with the beautifull icons, and the whole design starts to make sense! i hope it will be the default, not the blue one!!


  7. Jim says:

    Nice touch on placing the group labels in a ribbon on the bottom – the eyes naturally cross them as focus moves from the content to the ribbon.

    The blue theme doesn’t sit well with me, but luckily the black theme looks amazing.

    The office team has done an amazing job and it’s good to see exciting new ideas coming from Microsoft.

  8. Dan says:

    In addition to the blue/black skins you’ve shown, will there be a gray ‘classic’ skin?

  9. Alex Coles says:

    I agree with the above poster! The blue theme is mediocre. The black theme is beautiful, and should be default. It’s one of the best looking (and functional) UIs I’ve seen in ages.

    Makes me almost consider switching back from a Mac and Mac Office. Almost.

  10. jensenh says:

    By the way:

    The site is currently getting slammed, so if the thumbnails aren’t loading, you can probably still get to the bigger pictures.

  11. Tyler Reddun says:

    I like the blue theme, it’s subduded but still looks nice. The black is very sharp everywhere but in outlook (already got some bugs filed on that). Otherwise the refresh looks good.

  12. Boris Yankov says:

    It’s great that you can choose the color of the interface. I don’t like the default blue one.

  13. Abigail says:

    I’ve been to the site you linked to for signing up for Beta 2 several times, so that I could tell my friends how to sign up, and I can’t for the life of me figure out where to go to sign up for Beta 2. Do they have to sign up for the e-mail list to be considered for the beta?

  14. Aaron says:


    It would seem that the Register Now link on the Preview Page does not work. You might suggest to the appropriate party to verify it.

    I am extremely interested in signing up, however.



  15. Abigail says:

    You said, "In Office 2007, we’ve done something else that we’ve never done before: given you a choice of skins for the user interface." I suppose we’ve never had skins, but didn’t previous versions just automatically match your theming? If all my windows were orange, the Office windows would be, too.

  16. jensenh says:


    What I was told was to click on the Register Now link on http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/.

  17. William Gallagher says:

    It’s going to take me a while to get used to the Office button: I realise, looking at these shots, that I don’t automatically look above the main part of the ribbon, the area that says Write/Insert and so on.

    I wondered this before with the context tabs above the ribbon line but those at least looked like they were part of my document. I’m surprised to say I didn’t notice that button until I was hunting for the Save one!

    I’m sure it’ll be very obvious when it’s in front of me, but it looks like a logo at the moment.


  18. Sherrod Segraves says:

    I didn’t expect the chunk names on the bottom. But it does keep the chunk titles close to the document, and also puts the links to dialog boxes in a more logical place.

    Why make the blue the default theme? Black vs. blue is the worst color combination for legibility, and isn’t that pretty either.

    On the other hand, the black theme is attractive, and the chunks are easy to tell apart.

    It would be nice if you made the theme background and text colors directly changable, or at least easily hackable.

  19. ThomThom says:

    Will there be a skin like the style seen in the recent beta previews? I quite liked that look.

  20. I am glad to see some work done on the UI, particularly making the ‘expand’ buttons on the toolbar much, much clearer and neater.  However, being quite a fan of colour and design of Beta 1, I am not sure whether the colour changes is the right direction:

    – Why blue?  I think it shouldn’t default on the blue theme – Office 2003 had a similar colour under the default Windows XP theme, and frankly it looks rather dated.  And I guess it is the reason Office 2003 defaults to a much more neutral colour under the Energy Blue theme in Windows XP MCE 2005.  I think the dark neutral scheme is much nicer and fits better.  

    – Setting Defaults:  I am sure you would be in a much better position to comment on this with your feedback from the Customer Experience Improvement Programme, but I think it might be worth keeping in mind many users won’t bother (or know how to) change themes – using a more neutral colour makes documents more readable.

    – File menu:  I know you want to do away with menus completely, but a "File" menu makes MUCH more sense than a circular Office icon which would be meaningless to many people – and a pain for IT support to describe over the phone!  (E.g. the "Start" menu in XP is labeled "Start", which is easy to describe — but this Office icon wouldn’t be recognisable to many people at all.

    – Program icons?  Bring back the icons for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, etc – I presume the taskbar will use the existing (or an updated) icons; and it would make sense for the program window to feature the icon.

    Sorry I know this list is very long – and others will definitely have a different opinion, but hopefully you and the team might take some of these comments as a suggestion.  Regardless, I am very much looking forward to the release of Office 12!

  21. mintchocicecream says:

    By the way, I would love to try Beta 2, but I am having trouble signing up for the Office Preview.  Clicking "Register Now" brings up a passport login page, but upon login, I get a "We’re sorry, we were unable to service your request" page, http://www.microsoft.com/library/errorpages/smarterror.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/office/preview/thankyou.mspx

    The same thing happens on both Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 (?) and Mozilla Firefox

    I am located in the UK – would that be the problem?

  22. Check out the original post on Jensen Harris’ Blog.

    You can hit this site to sample the goodness, but…

  23. Le cycle de beta 1 approchant gentiment de la fin, Microsoft commence a publier sur la version bientot…

  24. jeolmeun says:

    Where’s the File tab or toolbars? I want one click saves!

  25. David van Leerdam says:

    Dear Jensen,

    The screenshots from this recent build look great, I love them!

    I have a few suggestions though:

    – The title for the ‘Find’ group in the Ribbon in all applications might better be renamed to ‘Find Text’. Since that is all it does.

    – I have some doubts about the Message tab for Word (editing an Outlook e-mail message). Although it’s handy to have the e-mail editing features in a separate Message tab, I would also expect some items in other tabs. The items in the Include group (Message tab) could also logically be found on the Insert tab.

    – Perhaps a better separation, or better use of screen space, can be implemented for the Access UI between the Ribbon and the other UI elements. When viewing a table like in your screenshot, the UI looks very crowded.

    The PowerPoint screenshots look more than great. They … my expectations, excellent work!

    Also, I really love the concept of the Office Button. This is how it should have been from the beginning!

    Keep up this good work!

    Kind regards,

  26. Alan De Smet says:

    On the whole I really like the new look.  And I appreciate the reasoning behind the Quick Access Toolbar.  But it would be nice for the Office team to stop rolling their own title bars.  MS Office has snubbed their noses at the standard title bars for a distressing long time.  It make Microsoft look internally disorganized.

  27. Are these screenshots scaled down? Everything is very crisp, but things seem a little too small (look at the mouse pointer). If so, can we please see original size screenshots?

    And yes, I like the black color scheme better, too.

  28. Zian says:


    The screnshots have blown my expectations to bits. 🙂

    I’m going to install it as soon as it’s released (with only 1 computer, I can’t afford to install beta software. But oh…how I wish!).

  29. Dissa says:


    The old beta look was more slick and professional looking. This new skin looks more cartoonish. I think the new skin is cirtainly a step back from the earlier beta(it like the new skin is XP and the old one is Vista).

    The previous skin was so beautiful and I’m so dissapointed that the interface has changed to this. I hope there will be more changes and that this isn’t the final interface.

    If the title bar part of the new UI could somehow get a change this could still be good.

  30. Only 1 word: Wow, I love the new interface. It’s slick and sexy, and the color scheme is perfect.



  31. Dan Dautrich says:

    Wow, amazing job, Jensen!  I can see why the team was so excited about finally being able to reveal this.  I have a few questions though:

    1. Will we see this new UI in the beta refresh coming next week?

    2. What happens if you have lots of QAT buttons with contextual tabs up?  Will the application title disappear underneath the clutter?  What if you overload the QAT so that it overlaps the contextual tabs?

    3. I still love the old beta 1 theme.  Will there eventually be a way to customize the themes to bring back the grey or change the coloring like Vista’s theming allows?

    4. Will we be getting a ribbon object for use in Visual Studio anytime soon?  If the ribbon is the future of the UI, we should be able to use it in our own apps as well.  (That should also be an indicator of how good I think it is.)

    Keep up the great work!!

  32. Hob Gadling says:


    Just a few thoughts…

    The new UI seems excellent BUT… All the rounded corners should have the same radius.

    This one of those visual harmony things which will affect a lot of people. People will tell you they don’t like it but will not be able to tell you why. The reason is the one rounded corner not having the same radius. It’s distracting.

    This is a bit similar to the Windows XP UI having 8pt Tahoma everywhere except the active title bar which for some reason is 10pt Trebuchet MS. Too many people don’t like the XP UI without knowing why. The reason is the visual disharmony caused by the 10pt Trebuchet MS. Try it. Set the Active Title Bar font to 8pt Tahoma, and set the Active Title Bar thickness to 20px. The XP UI will suddenly look better!

    Thanks for listening.

    Hob Gadling

  33. Mike Dunn says:

    Time for all those control vendors to get to work! C’mon guys, chop chop, we need our own ribbon clones! 😉

    I’m pretty pleased overall with the ribbon appearance. Having the chunk names at the bottom looked a bit odd at first, but maybe having them there will make it easier to scan them (since there is less clutter there, compared to being sandwiched between the tab names and the chunks).

    I’d make the Office button have the app’s icon in it, not the generic Office logo. When I’m looking around my screen for a particular one, I naturally check the top-left of each window for its icon to tell which window is which. If all the Office apps have the same picture there, I have to start reading text.

    I was hoping I’d never have to see that awful "blue colors with orange highlights" scheme from Office 2K3 again. Ugh. I’d make the black color scheme the default. The beta 1 skin was pretty good too.

    This is more of a anal-retentive-UI-geek thing, but is there ever going to be consistency with 3D affordances again? Some things look like buttons, some don’t. Some things have bevelled edges, some don’t. Some buttons are rounded OSX-style buttons, some are flat Longhorn-glass-style buttons.

  34. Jibran Ilyas says:

    This does look cool indeed. The transparency, color combination and excel% feature are really appealing. Thumbs up for the UI.

  35. JW says:

    Nice work. Are these user-interface changes going to make their way into the rest of Windows?

  36. Ross says:


    Look at the top left of the screen shot, there is a save icon and undo/redo buttons, which would indicate one click saves

  37. Jon says:

    Nice! I’m very impressed and excited to try it out, the biggest change to office in its history perhaps!  Now, if only i could have more than 65500 rows in excel 😉

  38. Dave S. says:

    For such an important piece of UI collateral, the Ribbon sure is getting lost in the blue version. I suspect that’s why people are responding better to the darker grey version; it’s not necessarily more aesthetically pleasing, but the visual hierarchy sure makes a whole lot more sense with the two-tone greys.

  39. Jensen Harris (whose blog I have read religiously for months) has posted the first screenshots of the…

  40. Yowza! That’s one happy UI… keep up the amazing work. I’m most intruiged by the toolbars. Can’t wait to try them out.

  41. Damn, I took the select button for a real mouse pointer! So I see, these _are_ original size screenshots. On my wive’s laptop (1400×1000) you need sharp eyes and must not tremble when using the ribbon’s widgets.

    On my 12" 1024×786 notebook, everything looks decently sized.

    When will we see the Options/Preferences dialog? I’d bet that you’ll get rid of multi-row tabs, as well, will you?

  42. Chris Barrick says:

    It is a nice look — but I must admit, it looks like MS is borrowing from Apple again…

  43. poo says:

    so much uneccesary crap everwhere. takes up screen space. What the point?

    Hopefully it won’t have stupid special effects when you click on them.

    pretty much a useless GUI update.

  44. Alex says:


    This UI looks great. But why we have UI themes in Windows XP? I thought the program should follow them to have consistent look-n-feel… This was one of the greatest things on Windows: consistensy. Now Office breaks this rule.

  45. Bryan Pollack says:

    I think the new UI looks great but I agree with several other people on:

    1) I think the black UI looks much better than the blue one, but I also really liked the gray the is in Beta 1.

    2) I think the upper left icon should be specific to each application, not the generic office icon for application. The only trouble with this is since it is changing with each application, users might not realize it has any use besides showing which app. you’re in.

  46. Timothy Gray says:

    The problem MS has with its interface design is that it is too dominant.  The perfect interface wouldn’t be noticeable to the user.  Buttons would be where the user would the user would expect, but they wouldn’t even think about the fact that they are using the interface.  MS tries to advertise with their interfaces, forcing their logos and color schemes on the user without thought of actually making things easy to use.  When I saw these screenshots, my eye was drawn directly to the interface itself rather than the stage where the work is supposed to be done.  When will MS finally put the user first?

  47. Timothy Gray says:

    The problem MS has with its interface design is that it is too dominant.  The perfect interface wouldn’t be noticeable to the user.  Buttons would be where the user would the user would expect, but they wouldn’t even think about the fact that they are using the interface.  MS tries to advertise with their interfaces, forcing their logos and color schemes on the user without thought of actually making things easy to use.  When I saw these screenshots, my eye was drawn directly to the interface itself rather than the stage where the work is supposed to be done.  When will MS finally put the user first?

  48. Dan says:

    I thought it was okay till I saw the black powerpoint theme.  The black theme is just a rip off of the now famous iWork template – can’t Microsoft design anything original without having to bastardize what Apple has done?

  49. David van Leerdam says:

    After thinking somewhat longer about it, I would suggest researching whether or not the Insert tab(‘s) can be removed. It’s an ambigious name by defition I guess, because all applications -are- about insertions and edits.

    Don’t know what the tab contains though, so I can’t really further say anything useful about it.

  50. Patrick says:

    Wow… Microsoft has certainly ramped it up a bit in the UI department.

    That UI is fantastic, both in usability and in the aesthetic sense!

    And I disagree with a lot of the others on here.. I greatly prefer the blue default skin over the blank one.  But lucky for us… to each their own!

  51. Felipe says:

    I am wondering when this is going to be implemented in OpenOffice. I know this is MS Office, but I will like to see the OpenOffice version upgraded too.

  52. Orion Adrian says:

    These look great.

    Some thoughts: I don’t think it’s going to bother that many people that the rounded corners aren’t the same. The design is visually weighted, so they really shouldn’t be the same.

    Second, the blue could use more contrast, but is fine otherwise. Blue, as your statistics probably show is a very popular color.

    And lastly, a question, why is the first tab in Excel a couple of pixels to the left of the first tab in other programs?

    Note: You can have more than 65K rows in Excel 2007.

  53. Jade Ohlhauser says:

    I think the Office team just might become the reason for me not to switch to Mac OS.

  54. Sage says:

    Happy UI, what the? What is up what that huge office button. If you really want to do office users a favor don’t change portions of the ui that don’t need changing … especially when they are not consistent with the rest of windows!

    That isn’t helping.

    I understand that tabs have are a usability improvement, the huge office button … NOT.

    And the menu item when the office button is clicked … what is up with that? Please again, be consistent. Don’t change things for the sake of changing them.

    In the dark theme … the toolbar is still way to bright. stands out too much. in dark mode, the user area should have focus, the toolbar doesn’t.

  55. Daniel Schierbeck says:

    This definately is a look prettier than the old Office versions, but I’m afraid that the real problem with the Office user interface still remains: bloat. There’s just too many buttons.

  56. Angus says:

    What I *really* want is a way to turn the ribbon *off*. Or at least move it to the side. I use a tablet-convertible PC with a small screen, I cannot afford to lose the amount of vertical real estate that the ribbon uses when in notebook mode.

    *Please* make this possible, and easy to configure.

  57. Mike says:

    Looks GREAT.

  58. Jeff says:

    I’ve used the new beta and one thing that will keep me from upgrading is that the toolbars can’t float over the document. I’ve created lots of custom toolbars with macros to make document creation easier and in Word 12 they get stuck at the top of the ribbon. They’re much easier to use if they can float over the document – saves extra mouse trips to the top of the screen.

  59. Mike Maloney says:

    I must admit at first I was very doubtfull of the  idea of Office 2007 I thought that it would be just more of the same old. Clearly I was wrong. It is as though Microsoft office has been reinvented. Respect is paid when respect is due. Well done.

  60. Mario Goebbels says:

    <<What I *really* want is a way to turn the ribbon *off*. Or at least move it to the side. I use a tablet-convertible PC with a small screen, I cannot afford to lose the amount of vertical real estate that the ribbon uses when in notebook mode.>>


  61. Whats New says:

    Some sweet screen shots of the new Microsoft Office UI!

  62. Mario Goebbels says:

    Also, the new UI needs an option to make the top left corner look like all other three and turn the Office knob into the File menu known from beta 1. The big button is cheesy as hell.

  63. gbrugman says:

    Please add a default Format Message button to the Outlook Message Ribbon. So you can quickly decide to create or edit a message in HTML or in Plain text format.

    Also look forward to the new Calendar view with Notes/Task per Day

  64. Ron says:

    Interesting looks…

  65. Ricky says:

    I think the look is great, but I have one question.  I’ve noticed that when programs in Windows XP render windows with their own theme (e.g., Office 2007, WMP10), the rounded corners are never anti-aliased.  Why is this?  Is it a limitation of theming or a limitation of Windows?  Is this limitation going to be rectified in Vista?  Just curious.  Mac OS X handles rounded corners quite gracefully, and I would like to see the same thing in Windows.

  66. MOGua says:

    Is that the new font they created for Office 2007 and Vista? Looks great!

  67. Mongrel says:

    Hmm, I’m not a fan of the skins at all – they look fine and all, but this is an office application and frankly it helps me be more productive when all my windows and titlebars have an equality. The excess, unessecary eye candy is a big part of what drew me AWAY from OS X. This will have the effect of a giant widget…

    I think a previous poster asked about a "classic" skin, which sounds great to me. Same window borders/title bar as everything else on the desktop (with the spiffy new ribbon layout of course)

  68. Klian says:

    Hey I like that screens!

    That version of Access looks great

  69. George says:

    Ricky, yes it’s a limitation of XP. You need a program like Windowblinds to get anti-aliased edges in XP.

    I say again: amazing!

  70. WLLD says:

    I am very impressed indeed 🙂

  71. Menu Groupie says:


    When people look for something, they want to do it linearly.  For example, I want to use the Word application so I look around my open windows for the one with "Word" as the title.  I want to do something with writing, so my eye travels down to the "Write" tab.  Then I want to change the fonts, so I look for the font menu on the next line.  Guess what?  It’s not there!  I have to jump over a jumble of icons to find the Font menu at the bottom of the ribbon (if I find it at all!).  This interrupts the natural downward flow of search, making the user jump back and forth on the screen.  I am not a UI expert, but making a user look all around the page for what should logically flow straight down bugs the heck out of me.  I know it will bug the heck out of many other people too.

  72. TechBlog says:

    Why do I get the feeling I’m watching the high-tech version of the classic Western High Noon, with Gary Cooper Google prepping for an epic showdown Ian MacDonald Microsoft. Google’s just bought Upstartle, the company that makes Writely, a very…

  73. Jote says:

    I don’t like the idea of the title bar text jumping back and forth whenever you activate a contextual tab (take a look at the screenshots, it centers between QAT and contextual tab). Also, what if one has lots of stuff on the QAT?

  74. C# Distilled says:

    Jensen Harris of the Microsoft Office 2007 team has posted some screen shots of the kind of user interfaces…

  75. excel user says:

    Wow. Looks nice.

    I am very glad as it looks as if the behavior of programs was finally standardized for all office apps. (whoever came up with the idea to have Excel close differently from all other office apps should be shot!)

  76. Tomo5k says:

    I really, really hate the physical size of the ‘ribbon’

    It’s so huge that it eats up a significant portion of the screen that would normally allow me to see more of my document at the same time.

    While the concept of ‘tabs’ on a toolbar seems like a very good idea – although it will take a lot of getting used to when moving from menus plus toolbar as used in everything that has gone before – the sheer size of it is very offputting.

    This is considerably more intrusive on widescreen monitors, which are becoming very popular on laptops.

  77. pf.org says:

    So, Microsoft has managed to go out and invent a entirely mostly new kind of UI for Office 2007. Um&amp;#8230;. about the only thing I can say is that it&amp;#8217;s different….

  78. Karl says:

    Well, I must say that is a very impressive UI. I’m certainly looking forward to it – smooth, yet bold, powerful and flexible.

    However, most users will be running this on Windows Vista when it RTMs (and possibly even by Beta 2). How will glass be used? Can we get a shot of that? The good thing is that the corners can be anti-aliased 🙂

  79. Ryan says:

    When I first saw it, I thought it was a step back from the original flat-gray-with-gradient look of Beta 1, which I thought was very slick.  The light blue seems almost on the pastel side or like the stereotypical baby boy color, which makes it feel a bit weak to me–almost as if I would expect it to be unresponsive (I guess that’s a color connotation thing, eh?).  

    The black is better, but… I miss the look that I saw in the original beta 1–the flat gray with the gradient.  I think it looks slick, and I kept thinking that it should really look great with a drop shadow, especially with those rounded edges.  I also miss the highlight of the tab–sort of matches the mouse-over effect for toolbar buttons in Vista.  With the tabs, though, I can understand the desire to make it look connected to the relevant UI.  

    One other thought–the "jaggies" are quite apparent on the rounded corners of the window, but most of the interface is nicely anti-aliased.  Any chance those rounded corners will be smoothed out?

  80. Matt says:

    I am concerned by the lack of UI consistency within the Windows experience that people will see with this new Office UI. Sure we’ve always had low consistency with Office, which always seems to have its own style of menu and/or toolbars, but this is much, much stronger.

    And also, as a friend of mine pointed out – what is wrong with the font rendering within the spreadsheet in the black theme screenshot? It’s absolutely frightful.

    There are some other problems evident in these screenshots – one of which is spacing within the chunks. There are places where labels are running into each other, so that people might read the two labels as one and become extremely confused.

    And I also feel, as do many others, that the enormous Office icon button is a bad move. As is the weeny little help button which has no caption.

  81. macewan says:

    even though I originally found the new word image distasteful, these aren’t so bad. and i dislike everything microsoft –

  82. Ben R. says:

    I love the black appearance, but I have one major concern: a new user will NOT recognize the Office logo as an actual button, and will therefore have no way to create a new file!

    Please add a New Document button to the default Quick Access Toolbar. That would solve that problem.

    There’s so much to say, but I’ll leave it at that. Congratulations on the new look!

  83. Nick Lamb says:

    I can’t believe that after all this time Microsoft hasn’t learned how to render fonts nicely. They use horrible fonts in these display’s and they are terribly anti-aliased and the overall experience is terrible on the eyes.

    Not to mention the fact that the ribbon takes up like 3/4 of the screen and the buttons seem badly placed.

    I’d rather use word pad.

  84. happy beta user says:

    It seems like there are a lot of newbies on the blog today.  You might want to look at some of the other blog entries before you make up your mind over a few new pictures.  Jensen and the team have really thought this one through and as a beta user, I am thrilled with these changes. Keep up the great work!

    Here is one that might be of particular interest since it it address the size of the ribbon (which is not overly big at all). Get the facts!  


  85. Paul Greatbatch says:

    Why does MS insist on thinking that ‘feature-rich’ is synonomous with clutter?

    What a mess!!

  86. Nick Stiles says:

    Looks nice, but I’d rather use office on the mac to write my star gossip columns.

    Nick Stiles



  87. jensenh says:

    Wow, there are a lot of comments today.

    On some of the ones directly above this:

    Nick, sorry you don’t like ClearType which is turned on in the picture.  Years were spent developing Segoe UI, the UI font for Office and Windows Vista, and you can read about and contact the team who works on font rendering and the fonts themselves here: http://blogs.msdn.com/fontblog/

    As for the size issue, the Ribbon is about as large as having two toolbars up in a previous version of Office.  And it never grows longer or requires you to open a bunch more toolbars to access functionality, giving you overall much more of your screen to work on the document.

    I suggest if you’re interested in learning about the UI that you start in the "Ribbon" category on the left side of the blog and the "Why the UI?" category as well to see how and why the design evolved.

  88. jt says:

    I wish there were some menus… we’ve been using standard menus since they were invented (somewhere else), and there’s no reason to change them.  Oh well, I’m sure everybody who uses Office will be perfectly happy to relearn navigation for a suite they use every day.  What, exactly, was so wrong with the current interface that it had to be completely redesigned.

    (Disclaimer: I use Word on a Mac, and I know its interface is vastly superior to the Windows version, due partly to the greater usability of OS X, so perhaps this is a great improvement over the Windows version of Office.  If so, feel free to ignore my comments.  Except about the File menu.  How dare you take away my File menue?)

  89. Brian says:


    First thing I noticed was the quality of the content looks considerably nicer than what is output current version of Office.


    To cartoony. Are they placeholders?


    The black theme is very nice. As a poster noted above, the contrast really helps. I have to say the overall GUI look is a bit to blantant in borrowing from Mac OS X. There are other options out there. I realize this is driven by Vista.

    ** I’m not sure how I feel about stacks of items in the toolbar, a menu and one row, from a usability standpoint, is enough. That said, given the volume of features this is proably the best solution.


  90. William Gallagher says:


    When you wrote the other week about the amount of space the ribbon takes up versus the old toolbar, did you include the room used by the new Office button?

    It’s strange to say it, but that button makes a huge difference to me. I mentioned earlier that I’d thought it was a logo but, reading my comment again, I realise the bigger issue is over my second part: "I didn’t notice that button until I was hunting for the Save one!"

    I really did have to hunt. Why did I hunt now when I presumably didn’t think to look for Save in the beta screenshots? Did the beta hide the Save button too? I think the new Office has some superb design effort yet even with all that, the Office button feels heavy and the Save one looks like it’s been wedged up there because it had nowhere else to go.

    I’m sure I saw undo and redo somewhere else on the ribbon in the beta shots: am I wrong or have they been moved?

    As I think you’ve said before, redo isn’t vital to many people but Save and Undo could not be more so and that means to me that the Office button overhead rather undermines a lot of your work.

    Ben R. is absolutely right about new users not recognising the Office logo as a button, too. If the Ribbon holds the most commonly used commands, what’s really more common than Open, New and Save?


  91. Jensen Harris, the lead Program Manager of Microsoft’s Office user experience team, has released some very nice looking screenshots of the re-designed user interface for Microsoft Office 2007.

    The new look is certainly very visually attractive with

  92. Jensen Harris sul suo blog rivela l’interfaccia del nuovo Office 2007. Ad un primo impatto, anche se…

  93. jccodez says:

    This is the most but ugly yahoo looking interface I have ever laid my eyes on. All I can say is I am confused. It looks like yahoos home page.

    Folks, how about one gui for all office applications, with a task bar for each item you are working on.

    This is very very uglisimo. But , keep patting yourself on the back, groupthink is a great thing I hear.

  94. jccodez says:

    Oh yea… hypothetical, I am a fortune 500, I want to pay for an upgrade "WHYYY", "WHYYY", "WHYYY". You want me to what, retrain my average iq workers so they can now use your fancy eye candy?

    How is this good for anyone but microsoft and its shareholders?

  95. Yojimbo says:

    The black is clearly the better looking skin, but i’m worried about what it will look like against the black backdrop of the Vista toolbar etc.. will make for a very dark desktop experience.

  96. Classic says:

    _I’d like to see the Filebar embedded into the almost blank Top Titlebar row as a further means to uncluttering.  Right now, (per Excel) I still see about five screen filling rows across the top.

    _Who cares about different "skins" (unless each Office app is individually set), I’ve had the ability to change general program settings incl. colours etc., for the past 15 years.  As with the ‘application specfic colours’ see <a href="http://classicquarters.blogspot.com/2005/11/nested-tasktabs_12.html">here</a&gt; for an illustration of better enhanced nested TaskTabs/Buttons on the 95-XP StartBar (note the standardized spacings).

  97. Hey Jensen,

    My brother just sent me this link. The screenshots look amazing and it looks like you guys have come a long way! Can’t wait to try the real thing.

    – Eric

  98. Rosewood says:

    I am excited because I am a huge fan of Outlook.  Every new version of outlook since 97 has brought great excitement for me and this is no different.  

    So this is what I beg — please don’t make outlook suck.


  99. Bryan Pollack says:

    I was just comparing the screenshots with Beta 1 and noticed there is a new "View" tab… what does this new tab have?

  100. I tried the last beta and don’t like it.  I didn’t see any real new features that were truly useful and the giant buttons take up too much screen space while the menus just aren’t intuitive.

    Derek Hampton



  101. A.A. says:

    I’m loving the new Office 2007 UI a lot-the black skin looks quite complementing.

  102. Mabsterama says:

    Jensen Harris has released a bunch of screenshots of the official UI for Office 2007.

    I think the final…

  103. Jensen Harris has uploaded some juicy new shots of Office 2007 and I have to admit this is insanely good…

  104. Marcus Anderson says:

    Impressive. Very impressive. I like both skins. Wish the Office team could design the Vista UI aswell.

    I also like the Office button. Your approach to the Recent Documents list is way better than what everybody else is doing.

  105. Amazing GUI!

    I’m looking forward for release.

  106. Tim says:

    Jensen – Re: your entry a while ago about relative size of the ribbon and previous UI designs – I just ran Word 2000 and adjusted the window to show as much of the document (vertically) as is in the screenshot of Word 2007.

    Then I turned off the ruler (as the Word 2007 screenshot is not displaying it, so it seemed fair).

    The result is that the Word 2007 UI takes up extra space vertically over Word 2000 – almost the whole height of the Word 12 title bar – roughly 26 pixels.

    Yet the figures you gave in your ‘we’re saving you space with the ribbon’ piece claim that Word 2007 uses 8 pixels less vertically than Word 2000 for UI.  So in total we’re about 34 pixels amiss somewhere.  That’s quite a lot.

    Has something drastic changed in Word 2007 since you measured, or were you trying to fool us?

  107. Jensen

    Harris created a gallery of full-size screenshots of the Office 2007 UI. The

    next version…

  108. Wil says:

    Just as we figured out where all the buttons were, they’ve been moved. Great. Now it’ll take another long while to develop new habits. "It if ain’t broke, don’t fix it."

  109. John says:

    Looking forward to getting my hands on this when released but please don’t use phrases like "The team is beyond excited", it lacks sincerity & makes you sound like a dumb teenager.

  110. 同樂 says:


  111. Random CS student says:

    I’m sorry, but the new, final UI looks like crap.

    I actually really like the preliminary UI from previous screenshots. It looke stylish, refined, like (may I say it?) something you would find on a Mac.

    The new look just replicates the XP Fisher price-toy / just-plain-ugly / our-designers-went-overboard,-and-arent-really-good-anyway look.

    Overall, though, I still really like the new interface; reading your blog really did away with initial scepticism, now I can’t wait to use it.

    But can we *please* have a graphic design that doesn’t look like a 7-year-old designed it?

  112. daguuy says:

    it’s hideus! i’m sticking with openoffice, i can’t stand microsoft. all it is is eye candy

  113. Bombippy says:

    Jensen Harris’ blog has quite a few screenshots of the upcoming Office 2007 user interface. There are also a few screenshots at Microsoft’s website. I don’t know. I’m not crazy about the design at all. I just find that it…

  114. Nidonocu says:

    I have to agree with most people here in saying that the black looks nicer. 😉 And while I do like the Start Menu-esq Office button, I do feel that it might not be ‘buttony’ enough to make new users realise it is the new ‘file menu’. Plus the lack of the program/filetype icon anywhere (even up on the title bar) is a little disconcerting when the Taskbar button will of course feature it. I await to here what user tests have shown for this design in future posts and if there will be any further tweaks before release (pst: black by default). 🙂

    Nidonocu C:>

  115. P says:

    In essence; you have expanded the menus and put them on the tool bar and made them context sensitive.  New users will find more features easily; however, the expense of screen real estate is a heavy price.  It could be workable.

    However, the background (like image 1) with multi colored background.  When reading large documents having a 2 / 3 tone backgound could get distracting.  

    Give an option for smaller icons as well as flat backgound for viewing.  Just my .02 cents.

  116. df0notfound says:

    Microsoft Office for preschool is it then?

  117. Jack says:

    I think this looks pretty good compare to Office XP.  The menu structures are grouped together and easy to look at.  But more work, I think needs to be done to simplify the menu structures (declutter).  There is too much stuff happening at the top of the screen, is this absolutely necessary to display a gazillion different icons up there, I know you guys have a very large ribbon to fill, but this is borderline "overkill".  Remember: "Simplicity Rules!"

  118. Mockba says:

    Please, please, please — bring the former Office 12 UI back! For once, it was an example of a Windows application that actually created a more justified, professional, and attractive look than the Classic theme.

  119. Wendy says:

    Will this play nice with WindowBlinds, or will it be yet another program I have to exclude? I bought WB to make all my programs have a similar feel – programs that hijack the skinning perogative defeat the purpose. Please let us turn off the fancy skins!

  120. Steve Lin says:

    i much prefer the layout from beta 1:


    the labels for the ribbon functions should have stayed up top and not moved to the bottom.  I didn’t even realize there were labels for a while.  i doubt i’m the only one since most people read top to bottom.  plus what’s with that awful upper left corner??  the enigmatic office logo which people might not even realize is a button and the disappointing aliased edge 🙁

  121. Ema Zee says:

    It reminds me of how Abi Word looks

    Not that this is bad.

  122. BB says:

    First of all, they look superb.

    My only criticism is the lack of contrast between the buttons and background in Word.  Either there needs to be more color contrast or  more of a bevel like with the buttons in WMP 10.

    Nevertheless, the look and feel along with the clustering of functions is a huge improvement.

  123. LesC says:

    Wow as a regular reader, can I second "what a lot of posts". I hope all the new readers take some time reading back through to find out about the history.

    Here is my take: I find the thing a bit ugly – I second those who say the asymetrical curves are distracting. More to the point, that "office button" is TERRIBLE:

    (a) I doubt if there is anyone outside Microsoft marketing who recognises the 4-boxes as meaning "MS Office", so

    (b) how on earth is tech support (which means friends most of the time, remember) going to explain it to someone, and

    (c) it looks ugly and unbalanced, with the ribbon below not really fitting in and having to start with the first tab in second place.

    My opinion is that the first tab should be the ‘office’ tab which will then contain the required document managment tools. It should be a tab too, not just some slightly wonkily placed box, which is what it is at the moment. (if needed, it can be bigger)

    Please don’t drop the ball so close to the goal 🙂


  124. Steve Lin says:

    I’d like to see this running on an actual computer and not these isolated window screenshots.  Since that upper left corner is rounded doesn’t that mean that there will be some empty gaps in that area where whatever is under the current window will show through?

  125. Aaron says:

    Tim says: "Yet the figures you gave in your ‘we’re saving you space with the ribbon’ piece claim that Word 2007 uses 8 pixels less vertically than Word 2000 for UI.  So in total we’re about 34 pixels amiss somewhere.  That’s quite a lot.

    Has something drastic changed in Word 2007 since you measured, or were you trying to fool us?"

    >>> In response, I would point out that in the ~34 pixels that you’re saving, you are losing quick, simple access to the functionality that the ribbon is bringing to focus. 34 pixels is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things unless you’re still unfortunate enough to have a low-resolution display at say 800*600 (regardless of reason). When I looked at the screen shots full-screen on a 1024*768 I didn’t really feel like I was losing anything at all, and above that at 1280*1024 that I natively use, I could barely even notice a problem.

    That being said, as a non-Microsoft source, I’m not going to suggest that Office 2007 is for everyone… if what you have with Office 2003 makes you happy, then by all means use it… or find a product that makes you happy. On the other hand, I’m not going to complain about 34 pixels when my overall user experience is improved by actually being able to use more functionality of the products.

  126. Ben says:

    Excellent work – a fantastic advert for Apple and OS X!

    Microsoft provides yet another great reason to dump Windows and switch to a plarform with an interface that appeals to poeple *over* the age of five. The whole thing is a monstrous usability nightmare! The blue version is just dreadful, and the black shiny thing looks like every website of two years ago!

    Way to go Office team, the Crayola-wielding demographic will almost certainly love it

  127. Alright, the link below includes shots of the new office 2007 New user interface.&#160; Now is it just me, or is baby blue, just the wrong color for a UI? Jensen Harris: An Office User Interface Blog : Picture…

  128. Extremely impressive pictures I must admit. The UI is top-class and quite attractive.. However what about the features?? Hope you haven’t compromised on the features, the speed and the price (the reverse way) and this is one software that I am looking forward too.

  129. Mike Dammann says:

    … when and where you’ve gotten those pics? 😉

  130. gkumar says:

    Cool looking UI, great job 🙂

  131. Ozo says:

    Ok, cool new UI. But honestly, I would expect more than just UI rework from a new Office version.  Are there some new features worth the upgrade?  Better image editing, better tables, better equation editor, etc?


  132. – Google/Writely points to online/offline future (Phil Sim is putting out some excellent analysis these days, especially on the topic of Web Office. In this post he convincingly makes the case for an offline/online amalgam Office.) – Directory of New..

  133. Foolan says:

    I think the look just like netscape 8.0

    here the screenshot


  134. Sherrod Segraves says:

    One of the reasons people complain about the look of rounded corners and the Office-logo button is that the button clashes with the nearest rounded corner.

    The space between the round button and the edge of the form is uneven. It’s thin on top, thicker diagonally, and not quite right on the left. The circular button and the arc of the upper-left corner should be concentric.

  135. Jensen Harris, a Microsoft employee, had revealed the screenshots of the upcoming Microsoft Office 2007…

  136. .bering says:

    Simpelt og stilrent, f&#230;rre knapper og ikoner. Se det syntes jeg er god usability!

    L&#230;s og se mere her…

  137. That’s F*cking Bullsh*t!!!

    Microsoft Windows & Office Must Die!!!

    ReactOS – Forever!!!

  138. David says:

    So, my mother opens the new Word and wants to print. She is NEVER going to find out how to do that, because 1) she has no idea what the Office Button is, 2) she never clicked the application icon in the left top corner, and if she ever did remembers that only non important commands were there, 3) she might remember that print was in the file menu, but there is no file menu any more. Have you tested that in your usability groups?!? I can’t imagine that this (without ANY instruction from you) can work at all. And if users struggle to find print in Word as their first experience, they will hate the new Office from day 1….

  139. DrunkCod says:

    Why oh why!! Why can’t the office team learn to use normal widgets like the rest of the world?

    If I spend time theming my OS why do you insist on telling me im wrong and starting to custom paint every damn control you use?

    This is just plain stupid.

    Yes, it looks good in isolation but it all falls apart the second I want to run anything besides office.

    This is exactly the reason I don’t use Windows Media Player and instead use FooBar2000, It’s why I not like running MSN Messenger and go with OSS offerings that arent skinned.


  140. Vasil Dinkov says:

    You say you have taken into account many usability studies when creating the new Office UI. I believe none of them is stating that it is a good step to replace the "File" menu with a logo button, which is not even easily recognizable as a button.

    So please do reconsider the "Office Button."

  141. Frans Bouma says:

    What I wonder is: how will this look on XP with the Windows XP classic theme? (win2k/95 look). I have the bad feeling this complete UI is going to be displayed INSIDE a standard border, am I correct? (like mediaplayer). Or will it look ok?

    I also second the critizism that beta1 looked better: more logical, clearer grouping of what is where etc.

    And drop the office button, I took it for a logo until I saw the screenshot for the menu that’s behind it. Why do I have to click a couple of times before I can print… ?

  142. Interesting mix of content tonight plus some discussion on me calling people out when they need to be. Not that I am outspoken now 🙂 [Save 10% on any order at GoDaddy.com!] Show us where you listen to the show!…

  143. .net says:

    Woah, all them haters and this post didn’t even made it to the Slashdot yet. Jensen, don’t forget to wear your flamesuit to work tomorrow!

  144. Adam Young says:

    Office 2007 looks great! I know from bitter experience that all devs have strong opinions about UI – "ugh, don’t like that", "change this, centre that text, I want a button there," and yet the paradox is that most devs, especially the ones with the strong opinions, are actually incapable of producing a decent user interface to save their lives.

    Hence some of the negative comments above – I wonder how many of them have actually *used* Office 2007? Guys, best to wait till you get your mitts on it before passing judgement.

    Jensen: by the looks of these screen shots, and from your (excellent) blog posts, it looks like you & your team have done a fantastic job on Office. I can’t wait!

  145. The Buzz says:

    Jensen Harris: An Office User Interface Blog&amp;nbsp;provides us with screenshots of the new Office 2007…

  146. Rod Shuffler says:

    It looks like someone applied a Windowblinds theme. The GUI looks no more usable than Word 6.0 to me. What’s this "ribbon" thing? I am an artist, I demand a palette and a canvas! That’s what Apple provide.

    It does look as though Office2007 will be capable of producing some high quality output, in the end the GUI it was created with is irrelevant to the end viewer (unless it has embedded win32 code of course, that’s why I use PDF).

    Nice work, good to see Office taking its looks seriously.

  147. laurent says:

    A miracle ! Microsoft re-invents lotus infoboxes !

    M$ customers understand that they’ve been waiting for these without even thinking of it.

    Lotus users laugh ! How long before next re-evolution ?

  148. Jote says:

    Here’s how it looks:

    – Microsoft wants to have the ribbon group titles (Clipboard, Font, Paragraph) on the bottom

    – Users want them on top and will have to live with titles of bottom

    Doesn’t look to good, does it? So, a piece of advice, Jensen, a kind of a compromise – make it user-customizable!

  149. KJK::Hyperion says:

    So… blue. And what’s that splotch of color in the top left corner?

  150. Lex says:

    I like it. Teaching people which menu to use was a pain and I always though File > Exit was worse than the old Start > Shutdown chestnut.

    As for people won’t know where to click – well there aren’t many options are there that’s the point one splash screen/look at help and you’ve pretty much sorted it.

    But yeah the black theme is better – reminds me a bit of encarta. Any chance of a silver/gray version as well? I laughed when I read that post about it looking like iWork – has Apple patented black now? It’s interesting to see such hostile comments coming through from some people (especially those plugging their own fave software) – it’s probably a good sign that you’re on the right track.

    Good stuff.

  151. Sebhelyesfarku says:

    I’m tired from the aqua colors and backgrounds, why everybody mimicing the OS X background colors? The gray version is OK minus the black plastic title bar. Dark gray please without plastic higlights.

  152. Mario Goebbels says:

    Supporting the notion of offering the old Beta 1 theme as option in Beta 2 and RTM!

  153. Centaur says:

    So, Office 2000 was the last version with usable interface. XP brought task panes, and 2003 brought gradient toolbars, and now this. Oh horror. Skins, heh. Glass, heh. A jedi craves NOT these things! Give us back our gray, flat, rectangular UI. Please!

  154. Max Howell says:

    Bad decision on the blue. In the excel screens especially I found it hard to really distinguish between the content and the UI. The black skin should be default, I think you know this, you can’t have spent so long on the UI and not see the lack of distinction. Don’t let them ruin the product! But I expect it is too late now marketing is on the go.

  155. Gareth Jones says:

    Reading the older posts on this blog, it appears that many users do not know how to do stuff that is obvious to some – there was a post about users with every toolbar imaginable open because they didn’t know how to get rid of them for example.

    These people will not get the ‘click on the "weird ugly thing" in the top left hand corner’ thing. Therefore a solution other than "weird ugly thing" should be considered as the start point. Perhaps having a "File" button as the start point would be a good idea. This would make life easier for migrating users and could be stuck on the left hand side (before "Write" for Word etc) without taking up any more space than the "weird ugly thing". Then you could also have separate icons for each application too.

    Personally, I think that if you are going to have a ‘Save’ button in the title bar you should have buttons for other really common stuff too, such as ‘Open’ and ‘Print’. Surely these are used far more often than ‘Redo’.

    I also don’t understand why we need to show names for the toolbars – surely people can tell that the font buttons relate to fonts and alignment buttons relate to alignment. All the current toolbars have names and nobody seems to have any usability problems about their names not showing.

    Having just read the above before posting I think it sounds a bit negative – that was not my intention at all. I’m quite happy that you are looking at the user interface and have no problems about relearning some things to make the overall usefulness of the applications better.

    I am rather worried that your "weird ugly thing" may be the next "effing paperclip thing" though.


  156. Gareth Jones says:

    And John, the silly teenager thing – couldn’t agree more but it could be worse – there is one bloke writing about the file formats and he says that he finds that exciting too.


  157. Diego says:

    Will Office 2007 have an XAML interface to support the features of WPF like graphics hardware optimization?

  158. Phylyp says:


    Can we add additional buttons on the title bar (i.e. next to save, undo & redo)?

    Reason – in some apps, esp Excel and Word, I often create a temporary file for calculations, holding text, etc. It would be good if I could add the New button up there (2 clicks thru the office button is one too many 🙂

    Yes, I know we can use a shortcut key for new files, but my using it depends on whether my right hand is on my mouse or KB.

    PS: I second the numerous votes – the black skin looks way cool. Wicked.

  159. goap says:


    Looks awesome.  3 comments:

    1) In the word screenshot, just above the vertical scrollbar is something that looks like the old margins toolbar, just super compressed.  What is that?

    2) I’m inclined to agree with the postes who think the Office button is a little overbearing.  When I look at the screen my eyes are just drawn to it.  Also, when the window is maximized, if i run the mouse pointer right into the corner, will I hit the button?  don’t want to mkae the Win 95 start button mistake again….

    (If you do keep the curve top left, at least anti-alias it 🙂 )

    3) The ribbon makes sense on all the apps, but on an individual email?  I think thats a bit much.  Its the one place where you are using more space than before.  Can we just leave it on the mail outlook window? (and can we have a screenshot of that?).

    I’m very excited about this new release.  It just looks so nice.

  160. George says:

    To all the people complaining, can you *please* look at the rest of this blog before saying any more?

    The stupidity and ignorance of some of the people talking on the Neowin forums made me want to blow my head off 🙁

    Also, saying that no-one will ‘get’ the office icon in the top left corner thus making it useless makes no sense. You click it once. You see what it does. Are you suddenly going to forget 10 minutes later?

    Anyways, I do have to say I prefer the black design. I’m not sure the blue design was the best set of screenshots to give out, as you’ve probably noticed 🙂


  161. mnerec says:

    Jensen, I think these questions went unanswered above:

    * Is there going to be a "classic" theme, where it looks like a regular application, themed after Windows?

    * How will it look using the Windows XP Classic theme?

  162. Anonymous says:

    來自Jensen Harris的網誌,這是位於德國的CeBIT大會所洩漏出來的幾張Office 2007新截圖。左上角的Windows圖示感覺有點像Netscape..

  163. Robin Corps says:

    Why is it that you have to make Office so different from everything else on Windows?

    Looks funky though!

  164. aidan_walsh says:

    Interesting and brave idea, moving the File menu to a design similar to the new Start Menu (anyone who claims that the new button is inconsistant mustn’t have been following the Aero screenies). I do wonder if it will still be present on non-Aero UIs? I am also wondering how it would work to port to other applications, both those that incorporate the ribbon idea, and the more traditional menu based ones. Will this be considered as a standard UI component for Vista?

    I also have slight resrevations about tabs bleeding into the title bar, especially with long title names. How are you going to ensure that a long title with only minor differences, such as a date appended on at the end, be differenciable when multiple documents are open?

  165. Ilya Birman says:

    Oh boy how bad it is compared to previous screenshots… Is there gonna be a way to disable all the sugar and select something like "classic view"?.. Do "skins" only change color or can you also get rid of this Office button and replace it back with "File" label?..

    Can you please include that "temporary" skin, which pleased our eyes all this time, with the 2007 Office? That would be great…

  166. Joe says:

    I’ve previously read every post on this blog, the Excel blog and some of the other Office 2007 blogs and was sold – hook, line, and sinker – on the Ribbon concept. I think it’s a great idea, the functionality looks good, I like the grouping, the tabs, everything.

    But as melodramatic as this sounds, my heart sank when I saw that hideous Office Button up in the upper left next to those lonely Save, Undo and Redo buttons. You’ve made it sound like you’ve spent so much time (and I believe you have) deciding where to group things, making sure every button, function, etc has a proper home, and making sure people can access all the functions. Then you end up with a bunch of functionality that’s common to almost all Office apps (save, open, close, recent, exit) and you generate a giant, unlabeled BUTTON to put them under? WTH? Then you decide to pull out the save icon and undo/redo, but nothing else, onto the upper toolbar?

    ….. Seriously, i’m baffelled. I know you haven’t written about the Button yet, and I’m sure you have some good reasons behind it, but it seems like a step back for an otherwise beautiful and superbly designed interface. I really like the idea as several people have mentioned, of an "Office" tab that sits over on the left side of the Ribbon and is common to all Office apps. It can house all the Page Setup, file setup, save, Preferences, close, exit, etc. And you have the whole length of the ribbon to play with so you can add much more functioanlity, rather than yet another menu that requires you to dig down into submenus, will surely get longer, etc.

    This sounds like a pretty firm interface decision, but I truely hope you’re up to making some more changes considering your feedback before final release. I imagine there’s pressure from the Vista group or from somewhere, or marketing people trying to "create a Brand" by splashing the logo/Office Button where ever possible. I hope you are able to resist all that and make functionality and good design prevail.

  167. Kevin Eshbach says:

    That new user interface looks very nice and a lot easier to use than the current user interface.  The wheels are turning in my head that it might be time to upgrade my version of Office that I use at home.  Since from initially appearances this upgrade might actually provide me with some useful benefits.

  168. Dan Matthews says:

    Is it just me, or does this look very ‘motif’? 😀

    90’s Unix UI’s ftw!

  169. Shawn says:

    How does full-screen mode work?

  170. Tim says:


    "34 pixels is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things unless you’re still unfortunate enough to have a low-resolution display at say 800*600 (regardless of reason). When I looked at the screen shots full-screen on a 1024*768 I didn’t really feel like I was losing anything at all, and above that at 1280*1024 that I natively use, I could barely even notice a problem."

    I’m not saying that I personally have a problem with the real estate/my screen (I’ve read this blog from early on, and like most of the things I see), but if Jensen is going to do ‘objective’ measurements of pixels to ‘prove’ that the ribbon is more efficient, then they ought to reflect reality, no?

    For the record, the figures for UI were around the 100 pixels mark, so being 34 pixels out is a large margin of error.

  171. I think that this interface is exactly what we need. Finally some big progress with Office. Keep it up, Microsoft.

  172. Today I present guest writer Brad Weed, Product Design Manager of the Office Design Group. He leads the…

  173. desynch says:

    oh, still using the floppy-icon for the save function? is that 2007ish? 🙂

    well, i think this interface could be easy for the average user. but hiding functionality is just stupid. this new interface sucks. or maybe im getting old.

  174. Fin says:

    Nice work on the new UI. There are a couple of little things that bother me though.

    One is the frame around each group of tools in the ribbon. That seems to cause a bunch of uneeded noise. Might I suggest a single etched line between each group?

    Also the lack of text for the Save, Undo and Redo buttons (maybe that’s configurable) seems a bit out of place. Having text makes it more obvious what those buttons do, not to mention it makes them easier to click because of the increased button size.

    An example of these improvements can be seen here: ttp://img220.imageshack.us/my.php?image=excelinblack16ry.png

    Keep up the good work!

  175. Jensen overall I like what you and your team have done since beta 1.  Keep up the great work!  The labels on bottom thing is going to take some getting used to as is Office button which doesn’t appear to change in appearance from one application to the next.

    I do have one thing that I’d like to mention.  I noticed that the save button (in the title bar) when editing an email in Outlook becomes a send button.  Please consider the following scenario:  I am really pissed with my boss and I write a nasty response to an email he’s sent me.  I really lay into him.  After writing the email, I find that I’m feeling a lot better just having expressed myself and decide to think about the email more before sending it.  Instinctively, I reach for the save button (as in, Save as Draft) and suddenly the rant that I hadn’t really decided to send is sent.  I’d be mighty unhappy (not to mention probably unemployed).

  176. The V says:

    Amazing how much this looks like aqua/carbon. Microsoft still catching up to Apple as always.

  177. LDR says:

    I like many things about the new interface, but here are a few gripes that I agree with others on.

    1. Chunk titles should be on top, not the bottom of the chunk.

    2. Rounded edges should at least match.

    3. The black theme is better because it not only contrast better, it also doesn’t distract from the document.

    4. Why have themes at all?  The OS already handles themes.  Should I really have to setup a theme in every application I use?

    5. There’s no one click print, open, or new document functionality.  

    6. The office button should have the document icon.

    7. The ribbon takes up more space than my current toolbars.  Yes, I’ve read the earlier articles, but compared to my custom toolbar it takes up more space.  I’ll have to wait until I can use the product before I’ll be able to judge whether the additional space is worth it or not.

    Here’s my 2 cents.  Why not center the tabs and use the new space on the left for a file menu and the buttons new, open, and print?  This would also allow the title to stay on the left like every other windows application and give space for the group labels above the tabs.

    All in all I think the recent changes to the Office 2007 interface took two steps forward and one step back.  There still time though, so maybe they’ll fix some of these issues before the release.

  178. John M says:

    I can’t thank you enough for the black scheme. I am so TIRED of baby blue. nice job guys.

    now, how about sprucing up Outlook? it looks just the same.

  179. Lex says:

    I like Fin’s look for etched line between each group – it does look cleaner. More I see the Office Icon the more I like it – it makes more sense than a lone file menu.

    I find it amusing people are still doing the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it when you’ve spent months describing how the previous model couldn’t cope and was broken 🙂

  180. Mike Dunn says:

    Here’s an idea – have the Alt key bring up the old menu bar, like IE 7 does!

    I keed, I keed…

  181. Eli says:


    Keep in mind that…

    1. The chunk titles used to be at the top, which usability tests probably said was a bad decision.

    2. It’s beta 1 still.

    3. Black theme = Vista upgrade incentive

    4. The OS doesn’t draw Ribbon controls, you do it yourself

    5. Why should there be? You use print/open/new really infrequently.

    6. Document icons are not very good branding.

    7. You can hide the whole thing easily.

  182. Tim A says:

    It looks pretty and geared entirely towards the novice.  The problem with that is, for the novice, this is yet another user interface style to learn and get used to.  

    For the advanced user, I think the new Office will be a serious handicap.

  183. Microsoft’s Jensen Harris yesterday posted numerous screenshots (which were also shown at CeBIT) to demonstrate the changes

  184. LDR says:


    Thanks for your interesting reply.  Here’s my response.

    1. Yes, I know the chunk names used to be on the top.  While usability has been used significantly in the design, I doubt this particular decision had a significant amount of testing that said the bottom was a superior location.  Either way I personally don’t like it, hence my gripe.

    2. Beta yes, that’s why I list my issues now while theres still time for them to be fixed.

    3. Wow, I hadn’t thought of the Vista incentive angle.  Even more reason for it to be the default. (Though not necessarily from the users usability perspective.)

    4. Yes, the controls are part of the application, but windows provides numerous color settings for Menus, Scrollbars, Tooltips, Message Boxes, etc.  Why not use these various shades of these colors at least as an optional theme? By changing these settings the users could create an almost infinite variety of themes.

    5. I’ll grant you infrequently compared to certain other controls.  My point was that the omission is unecessary.  If the file button were a file menu there would be plenty of space for those three little buttons.

    6. As others have mentioned, a window with an Excel icon can be found much more quickly than a window with an office icon when several office applications are open.

    7. Even if a hidden ribbon rolls out like the start bar can, it sill requires moving the cursor there before you can start scanning for the item you want.  It also removes any feedback the ribbon provides such as current state and context.  Depending on the implementation it would either cover part of your document while you use it or cause your document to move vertically (very disconcerting).  

    Any additional thoughts?

  185. Bronwyn Boltwood says:

    After looking at the screenshots and the comments, here’s my thoughts.

    The black version does look better, because:

    – The contrast is stronger, so it’s easier to see which tab you’re on, and read the chunk labels.

    – The neutral colours distract and influence me less than the blue does.  That’s a big advantage.  The blue’s very pretty…and overwhelmingly *there*.

    – The ribbon icons in the black screenshot happen to all be the same size, unlike most of the blue shots.  The visual consistency it lends is appealing.  Maybe we could see a pair of identical-except-for-colour shots where the ribbon has multiple sized buttons?

    I too would like Office to use my Windows theme, or at least my colours.  I like both schemes better than the beta 1 look — I’m tired of brushed metal.  More and more I’m tending towards neutral skins, which are either flat or only subtly 3D, and which have no shiny glass effects that make it hard to read labels and controls. Office XP’s look was great that way — it used your colours and got the hell out of the way of your work.

    I’m not sure what I think about the Office button and its special corner.  You see, I really like the menu it reveals, with things you can do on the left (though what’s "Finish"?), and lovely long list of recent files on the right.  It looks like you can even pin down certain recent files so they don’t go away!  But the button and its corner I don’t like so much, and no wonderful solution is jumping out and biting me.  The two best (so far, and in my opinion) are:

    1. Substitute a round-cornered square button (containing the program icon) that’s very obviously a button, keep the menu as-is, and ditch the special corner.

    2. Add an Office ribbon tab at the very left or very right, filled with the controls from the menu. One of its most prominent and recognizable controls should be "recent files", and when you hover over it, the list with pins appears.

    This still doesn’t solve the problem of where to put undo/redo.  Up on the titlebar is not so hot…but I’m not sure of a *better* place, without making some other items in the ribbon shove over.  They probably belong where most of the other edit commands went.

    It might also be good to bring back the little "type a question for help" box back, and place it to the left of the tiny help icon.

  186. Andy Lann says:

    Whoah! This looks like sh*t. Really. The first beta-look was much better. I was almost crying when I saw that you provide a much better black version. However, it’s still not good. Why? Oh why! Don’t you have designers?

    And what about that stupid Office-button.  I don’t want another Start-button! I already hate the one I must have.

    And finally, since I never understood this, can the ribbon be turned off? You say that it’s not taking up more space than usual, but I always close more or less all of the tabs and rely on key shortcuts. Especally in Word where I as a writer don’t want icons, tabs or whatnots distracting me from the text.

  187. Davy says:

    "Windows Live" team seems to have infiltrated the Office team…

  188. Pierce Glennie says:

    This is certainly a big improvement from the Office 2003 interface but what does Microsoft have against simplicity. Look at the majority of Mac applications – they look good, are simple and less daunting but have the same level or more functionality. Even Office 2004 for Mac has quite a good interface although it is a bit too cluttered. Anyway this would certainly not persuade me to switch back to windows. I don’t want to put up with crashes, inconsistencies (even apple has too many), over-complification, viruses, the lack of truly well designed applications for it, etc.

  189. dingsi says:

    i like everything *inside* the window very much. unfortunately, everything on the outside looks ugly: i HATE rounded corners, and this office button is simply the ugliest thing i ever saw in an UI.

    the funny thing is, the new design is very clean and simple, but this obtrusive office button destroys everything. i hope it can be switch off. i also hope that office will work well with custom visual style, like office 2003 does.

  190. Since Beta 1, the Office team has been hard at work refining the new UI. Yesterday they revealed the…

  191. Ola says:

    I’ve been looking forward a different UI

    I presume there are two user groups

    One where Easy is Small Icons (small, efficient)

    and one where Easy is Big Icons + Words (big, plush)

    I prefer small buttons = maximum working area, Quick commands + Shortcut keys.

    Don’t loose us.


    UI-A: Small screen UI = Laptop, PDA, Phone.

    UI-B: Big screen UI = Desktops, TV/Movie

  192. krasnoludek says:

    Ja pierdole ladne kurwa

  193. martin says:

    love the screenshots but i can`t help but think about plagarism as they are so similar to Faststone image viewer and browser

    look at http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm to see what i mean

  194. Abdul Aziz says:

    Wow, I am looking forward to the new Office UI along with small icons. The current ribbon toolbar looks great but takes up quite a bit of space.

  195. neofitogenio says:


  196. mentas says:

    The problem of this update is the flat and the very blue color.

    Need more shadows… The Beta1 gray/(blue dark), color gradient and shadows looks better.

    This update is too flat and bluly!

    See the difference:


  197. Dmitrii Dimandt aka Mamut says:

    Great but…

    As it was pointed out earlier, there is _no way_ of knowing that office logo gives you access to "system" functions. Why not place these functions on the ribbon?

    And recent documents menu… I want to know _where_ my documents reside, not simply the names for them

  198. booblik says:

    Where I can download such beauty office????

    Or more pictures of it!

    P.S. Visit my site http://www.booblik.tk/

    P.P.S. Excuse mу for my "good" English…

  199. In my opinion the Office Button is a mistake. I’m a programmer and I have made a similar thing with one of my applications. New users simply couldn’t figure out that there is supposed to be a menu hidden behind it. They saw the button as a picture, a logo that performed no function. Other comments here say it too.

    If you really want a logo, you should have the Word ot Excel, etc. logo, not the Office logo in all applications. This forces the user to spend more time figuring out which application he has switched to.

    Anyway, the size of the logo and it’s function as a button are strange to me. I think that a simple File menu would do the work more easily. And by the way… what is the shortcut for that menu… a new user or at least I can’t think of a sure way to access it from the keyboard.

  200. ROSS .NET says:

    Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 Includes:

    • Microsoft Office Excel&#174;…

  201. TC says:

    Looks good, especially in black. Will the Mac version of Office be updated with the new features at the same time?

  202. As was to be expected, the publishing of new Office 2007 screenshots last Thursday brought along a scary…

  203. Нет? Ничего, сейчас покажется 🙂

  204. genbeta says:

    La semana pasada fueron lanzadas diversas capturas de pantalla del futuro (se supone que saldr&#225; a finales de a&#241;o) Microsoft Office 2007, con bastantes cambios, sobre todo en los men&#250;s principales que han sido reemplazados por un gran icono

  205. Jensen Harris has taken the wraps off of the next generation user interface in Office 2007 (lots of screen…

  206. John says:


    Great post!

  207. Ania from Poland says:

    I like it very much, really

    Bardzo mi sie podoba, naprawde

  208. Now that Beta1 Technical Refresh (B1TR) has been released, so are many of the new pretty visuals. I thought…

  209. Marlett says:

    It’s beautiful. They’ve finally done it! I remember thinking that XP’s GUI was awesome when it came out, but Vista and Office 2007 just take the cake. Can you get any better than having skins for MS Word or Excel?

    I can’t wait for them to come out. It’s so cool.

  210. Antony says:

    Overall, the black skin looks really cool. The Office button in the top left corner is too big and distracting; please tone it down. Also, I agree with an earlier poster who suggested rounded corners should all have the same radius. Also, why aren’t these rounded corners antialiased? Take a look at the round corners in Mac OS X to see what I mean. If you can’t antialias then use square corners — we don’t want to see pixellation in this day and age.

  211. MK says:

    I agree with those who think the Office button in the corner is a bad idea. The menu behind it looks really neat though, but *the recent documents list must be one of the few things I’ve seen in an application recently that actually had me excited.* The ability to "pin" specific documents to the MRU menu has great promise! Also, please make the eyecandy configurable, at least as in possible to switch on and off! Some people like it, and others prefer a minimalistic approach for one reason or another.

    Someone else wanted to know where the documents in the MRU list are located… I’m sure that (and some other things such as document type and perhaps size?) could be shown in a tooltip when selecting (keyboard) or hovering over (mouse) an entry?

    I too like the Beta 1 look better than the blue b2.

  212. Whilst the public attention might have been on Mix 06 recently in Las Vegas, at the same time a smaller,…

  213. ITechTips says:

    Just saw this over at BlogJet Blog. Its hilarious.Let&amp;rsquo;s play the game called &amp;ldquo;How many toolbar button types and sizes are in 2007 Office?&amp;rdquo; See screenshots.Since there are many third-party programs that copy Office&amp;rsquo;s

  214. A couple of months ago, I posted screenshots of the visual appearance of the Office 2007 Beta 1 Technical…

  215. or, &quot;Everything you know about Word is wrong.&quot;

    With all the talk about the SharePoint 2007 beta, it…

  216. ITechTips says:

    There&amp;rsquo;s a whole bunch of screenshots of the Office 2007 User Interface here but this particular one catches my eye. The Office Button In the Office 2007 User Interface is sort of like the Start Button for Office 2007 and…

  217. Yesterday morning we were sitting in the office of one of our usability researchers watching some DVCAM…

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  219. Пользовательский интерфейс в Office 2007 . Особенно понравились Word, Excel и Outllok.

  220. Mabsterama says:

    Jensen Harris has released a bunch of screenshots of the official UI for Office 2007 . I think the final

  221. We are currently refactoring the NDepend UI and we hope to make it simpler. Everything started from a

  222. My post about our current work in enhancing the VisualNDepend UI with Ribbon Office 2007 style got a

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