Turning 30

Today is my 30th birthday. Ten years ago–with college to finish, legal drinking still in my future, and no idea what I was going to do with my life–30 seemed like a remote, hazy, unfathomably distant milestone. The whole world of possibilities was still ahead of me. If you had asked me on the eve…

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Let’s Talk About Customization

One topic that has come up frequently in our private beta newsgroups as well as here in blog comments from time to time is the issue of customization. As with every component of the Office 2007 user interface redesign, we put a lot of thought into how much customization to provide; today I’m going to…

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Where do the Smiles go?

Over the last month, you’ve sent us thousands and thousands of comments about Office 2007 Beta 2 using the Send a Smile tool. For taking the time to install our beta and writing down your thoughts (positive and negative) I am very grateful. A few bloggers have posited that “it’s not worth sending feedback because…

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Usability: Art and Science

Yesterday morning we were sitting in the office of one of our usability researchers watching some DVCAM tapes from tests conducted a few weeks ago. We had a discussion that got me thinking about a set of tests we ran several years ago to determine the discoverability characteristics of contextual tabs. At the time, contextual…

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Dipping Into the Well

Yesterday I talked about the command well which exposes all of the features in the Office 2007 programs. Today, a few tips and tricks for using the new command well. First, check out this picture of Word’s command well to give you some grounding in the details I’m going to be talking about (you can…

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Introducing the Command Well

There have always been certain commands in Office which aren’t available as part of the default user interface. Sometimes, these commands are seldom-used alternatives to features that are part of the common UI. For instance, there are many commands that can be used select cells or regions in Excel in slightly different ways. It turns…

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No Longer Spellbound

One last thought about spell checking. I mentioned a few days ago how much I depend on red-squiggle on-the-fly spelling and grammar checking, especially in Word. From time to time, though, I have to admit that I’ve typed a word I thought might be misspelled and then sat, waiting to see if the red squiggle was…

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The Spelling Check is Complete

Yesterday, I mentioned the new contextual spelling feature that is part of Office 2007. Writing the post reminded me of a story from years past… One of the things we’ve tried to do from time to time is reduce the number of modal alerts that pop up as part of working with Office. Most people…

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Every Which Way But Loose

One of the most amazingly useful features designed into Office is the red-squiggle underlined spell checking introduced in Word 95. Spell checking before that was a rather modal process: type some words, hit the spell check button, wait for a dialog box to open up to show the next spelling error, click one of the…

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You Windows 3.1 Lovers!

Earlier this week, I somewhat humorously referred to people who close windows on the left side as “Windows 3.1 lovers.” What did I mean by that? The now-ubiquitous close button in the upper-right hand corner of windows was only added to the operating system in Windows 95. Previously, as you can see in this picture of Word 6.0…

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