Things of Beauty

One of our goals for the Office 2007 user interface was to make it easier to create beautiful output. In many circumstances, you are judged by the quality of the output you create. And software that helps you create beautiful output makes you look smart and feel good. Many of the features of the new…

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Recently Used Documents

One of the efficiency affordances added to Office over a decade ago is the Recent Documents list. At the bottom of the File menu in Office 2003, you’ll see your four most recently-opened documents listed; you can click one of them to open the file directly. Looking at customer data from Office 2003, it becomes…

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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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Double Feature

Today I wanted to mention two cool Office 2007 features that you might not have heard much about. SmartArt The first one is called SmartArt. Think of it as a way to represent information graphically with about as much work as typing a simple bulleted list. More than a simple diagramming tool or organizational chart…

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It's Gonna Be A Hot Summer

I spend a lot of time here writing about the new Office 12 UI. And why not–it’s the project I work on and I’m proud of the work our team is doing. But in reality, the purpose of any UI framework is to support the programs using it–and ultimately to enable them to provide awesome…

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Drop Me A Line (Office 12 Coolness, Part 6)

Another in my series of posts on personal favorite improvements in Office 12… Did you know there are a variety of underline styles available in Word?  Ever want to double underline some text?  Or put a dotted underline under certain words?  Or a wavy underline?  All of these styles are frequently used within certain types…

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Improve Your Outlook

Because Office 12 represents the first time we’ve ever introduced a new user interface for Office, it is understandably garnering a lot of attention.  Add to that the powerful new open XML file formats for Office 12 documents, and it’s tempting to focus the discussion of Office 12 on just those areas. However, without resorting…

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Symbolism (Office 12 Coolness, Part 5)

In every phase of my life in which I’ve been required to create documents, a different set of symbols has been important to me. For instance, in high school, I studied Spanish, which meant figuring out how to type ñ and ¿.  In college, as I repeatedly flirted with flunking German, I inserted a lot…

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Math On Demand (Office 12 Coolness, Part 4)

Here’s a neat time-saver in Excel 12.  Let’s say that you have some numbers somewhere in the Excel grid, in this case monthly sales figures for the branches of a store: Sales data in the Excel grid Now, let’s say I wanted to quickly find out the average or total sales for some or all…

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Know Your ABC's (Office 12 Coolness, Part 3)

One of the features I always wished Word had was the ability to alphabetize a list of words.  I always copied my words into Excel, fixed them up one per row, sorted them there, and then pasted back into Word.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Word has had this feature since version 2.0!…

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