Hitting the Office Links

No, I'm not talking about a swing around the wing. Over the past several weeks, a handful of Office 12 related blogs have started up. While these are dedicated to the work that's happening in Windows Office, I expect quite a few people who read my blog will be interested in at least some of the subjects discussed there.

The top of the list would be Brian Jones' discussion of Office 12 XML formats, and Brian's discussion of the file formats has a direct impact on Mac Office 12.

The next item on the list would be Jensen Harris' blog about the Win Office 12 UI. While we aren't going to mimic this design in Mac Office 12, we are going to implement some of the ideas in a way that more closely resembles that of a standard Macintosh application. In his latest post, Jensen points out that he was in Junior High School when we shipped Win Word 2.0, which wasn't long after we shipped Mac Word 5.0. What is the penchant that Microsoft program managers have for making a guy like me feel old?

Perhaps the least interesting to readers of my blog would be the new Win Excel Blog.

Lastly, for a more high-level view of what's going on in Win Office, take a gander at Steven Sinofsky's blog. Steven is the Senior Vice President in charge of Office. You won't read much about Office per se on Steven's blog, but you'll get a pretty good picture of how Office is run as a business.

If you head over to the home pages of these blogs, you might find a few other links to new MSDN blogs worth exploring.



Currently playing in iTunes: The Chain by Fleetwood Mac

Comments (9)

  1. R. Mansfield says:

    Rick, thanks for the links. I’d been reading Jensen’s blog already; I’ll check out the others.

    Now that it’s all out in the open about Office 12 for Windows, you know what we want…info on Office 12 for the Mac. C’mon…spill the beans.

    You could start with what you mean by "we are going to implement some of the ideas in a way that more closely resembles that of a standard Macintosh application."

    Thanks in advance.


  2. Rick Schaut says:


    If I spend too much time writing about what we’re doing, I won’t have enough time to actually do it.

  3. Aldo says:

    Hi Rick.

    You state:

    "we are going to implement some of the ideas in a way that more closely resembles that of a standard Macintosh application."

    My concern about this is that the Office 12 UI (especially the ribbon) appears to be a complete, integrated system. So, for instance, if the Mac version only shows the ribbon for some functions, or tries to replace it with something else, it may just not work as well. This is one of those situations where I would easily sacrifice being "Mac-like" to get an innovative UI. I’m really excited about the Office 12 UI, and I’d hate to see it adopted in a piece-mail fashion on the Mac.

  4. Rick Schaut says:


    Yes, the Win Office 12 ribbon is a complete, integrated system. It is, however, just one way to actually implement the ideas behind it. Read through Jensen Harris’ blog for some of the thinking behind the ribbon, then think about other ways you might want to implement those ideas.

    It’s worth noting that, on the Mac, we can’t completely adopt the ribbon as a replacement for standard menus. We have a system-wide menu bar that we can’t simply do away with.

    We can, however, supplement the system-wide menu with a ribbon-like set of custom controls that provide much the same context-sensitive, task-based set of options to the user.

    As I said, we’re going to implement the same ideas, but stay within the bounds that define a standard Mac application. I know that’s horribly short on detail, but it is as precise as I can get at this time.

    I will say that I think we’re doing the right thing. We’ll see.

  5. Might I also suggest putting links to all MacBU related blogs (few that there are) in one place, such as the main Mactopia page?

  6. By the way, all the little WMV files on Jensen Harris’ blog will not play on my Mac. Windows Media Player opens and then closes (by itself) without ever playing the file.

  7. Rick Schaut says:


    We’re considering a number of ways to make Mactopia more dynamic, and more interactive. One idea we’re kicking around is to actually aggregate some Mac BU blogs on the front page itself.

    To view the WMV files, Ctrl-Click on the link in the browser, and select "Download linked file." When I do that, I get the download window, and I can double-click on the downloaded file in the download window to start up Windows Media Player.

  8. Josh Kagan says:

    Integrating some of the Mac BU blogs onto the Mactopia home page sounds like a great idea. It seems like the more I learn about the Mac BU, the more I see the kind of dedication that goes into Microsoft products for the Mac.

    Since you seem open to the idea of making Office for Mac work more like other popular Macintosh applications, have you ever considered replacing the transparent toolboxes in Word with a slideout tray like the one in Nisus Writer Express? I realize that Nisus codes much of their application using Cocoa APIs so there might be differences in what you are able to accomplish, but that might be a good way to more closely align the Office suite with other well-regarded Mac-"native" applications that seem to be moving toward a more integrated single-window document view experience (specifically I’m thinking of applications like Transmit, AcquisitionX, NewsFire, MSN Messenger for Mac 5.0, and Microsoft Entourage 2004)?

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