Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006


I am in the habit of working from Windows Explorer, right-clicking on a document and sending it to an application, in this case WinWord.

I’m using this rather than double-clicking on the document because I want to open the specific document in Word2000 rather than Word2007.

When I double-click on a file it now opens the document in Word2007. I find this a positive step, as it drags me kicking and screaming into making use of the new user interface. However, part of the hijack mechanism seems to include losing the target of the Send To shortcut, for the first Send To after running Word2007 sends Windows scurrying for the shortcut – which it finds, always, after a search of five seconds or so.

I’m puzzled that the hijack hasn’t completely hijacked. It hasn’t taken over the Send To shortcut, just orphaned it. And Windows always recovers to point to Word2000, which is what I want.


I am amazed.

For ten years now Microsoft has trumpeted the web-based thinking of documents. Six years ago I found the Web toolbar in Word so obnoxiously in-you-face that I wrote a macro to hide the darn thing whenever Word was loaded. I maintained the Back button on the toolbar.

Here I am in Word2007. Beta, still, admittedly, and I have fired up a main document, clicked on a hyperlink, worked in the secondary document, and would like to return to the main document.

In previous versions of Word I would click the green back button. Can’t find it in any ribbon in Word2007.

Use Help, that’s what I’ll do. Help says in part “The Web toolbar is not available in Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, Microsoft Office Word 2007, or Microsoft Office Excel 2007. You can add the Back, Forward, and Refresh buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar, which is available under All Commands or Commands Not in the Ribbon. Click the Microsoft Office Button , click Prepare, and then click Properties”.

Except that I can’t recall ever seeing “Prepare” in Word2007. It’s been a couple of weeks, so I am still a novice.

I try Options, Customization, which is where I think they want me to be. I have scoured the list, All Commands yet, looking for anything that resembled Back, Forward or Refresh, and can not see any thing remotely useful. I have looked both for those texts and for any icon that resembles a backward-pointing arrow.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

What is going on here? Why should it be so difficult to use hyperlinked documents? And why isn’t something as useful as hyperlinked documents available prominently in a ribbon, somewhere?


Style Area Width and the Help files

I am accustomed to working with a one-inch wide style area on the left-hand side of my screen. (Tools, Options, View, style area width”, but you must be in Normal view for this)

Of course I’d like to use the feature in Word2007.

You might think “pearl” and then options, hunt around for a minute – after all, it can’t hurt to become familiar with the new interface for options – but then shrug and try the Help system

In the Help box I type “style area width” without the quotes, and am rewarded with this:

Not a trace of Style Area Width in any of the first ten articles.

I try again with the quotes, as in “style area width”, perhaps I ought to be more explicit. No. Nothing. (See “Nada. Zilch” above!)

Here is the puzzling thing about this:

I will learn to live with/without the style area.

If it exists I will find it, by luck or my reading a forum.

But by all that is holy, why not load the entire vocabulary of office 2003 into the Office 2007 help files, index the lot, and assign a small team of young technical writers to flesh out every entry, even if the entry says “Sorry, we didn’t implement that”, so that every migrating user would get, at the least, acknowledgement of the search. Either as a mild rebuff, or as a pointer to the new terminology.

For example, asking for help on “View Normal” should produce a simple text See “View, Draft”.

And in my case asking for help on “style area width” should produce either “We don’t do that any more” or “here is what we called it in 2007”.

But not nothing.

Not silence.


I knew that this would happen. I found it. “Style Area Pane”. I knew I’d seen it before, but didn’t like to say so in my earlier posting, for I was not absolutely certain.

Naturally, once I have set my Pane (Hooray!), I wonder what might be new about it in Word2007.

I use Help and key in the correct terminology.

Guess what:

Nothing about it at all, as far as I can see.


Spell check this time.

I hope this is just a Beta aberration.

Word 2000 recognizes and attempts to correct “ascii”:

Word 2007 doesn’t:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I miss my handy Alt-Tab.

It is still there, but the new Access 2007 interface seems to have taken over more of my real estate and forced me to do more through the keyboard/mouse. I don’t see this as being any benefit to a user.

I will explain.

Under previous versions of Access I would open up the data base and be at a navigation screen:

From which I could Alt-Tab and back to my data screen – table, query, form or report:

As far as I have been able to determine, Access2007 implements this with a run-time switch through the Options pages (Pearl, Access options, Current database, Navigation) which forces me through a series of taps or clicks to achieve what used to be a simple Alt-Tab.

And yes, I’m whining again, but not just about change; I can’t see why this could be considered a forward step in any way.

Excel 2007

The new interface may make sense to new users, but I am not at all sure that it will make sense to anyone else. Not at first.

Here is how you insert a new sheet into a workbook.

You do it from the HOME ribbon:

Here is how you do not insert a new sheet into a workbook.

You do not do it from the INSERT ribbon:

Now my understanding was that the new interface would be intuitive, would guide the user, and for all that is holy, when I want to Insert something my eye is attracted to the Insert menu.

Maybe I am missing something here.

Maybe I am supposed to be thinking that Insertion is something I do all the time, so it ought to be in the Home ribbon. But that’s not what I think, and when my eye explores the user interface, a word like Insert is sure to leap out and attract my attention.

Excel 2007

I consider the interface for data Sort to be a retrograde step.

In the old Excel, Data Sort brought up a dialogue with, always, a spare key placed below the latest key:

In Excel2007, Data Sort brings up a dialogue with the requirement that I indulge in yet another tap/click to augment my set of keys. See that “Add level” button there? That is an extra step that appears needless to me.


Tables this time.

Once I am “in” a table, an extra ribbon tab appears at the right-hand side. Titled “Layout”, rather than the intuitive “Tables”. Intuitive to me, at any rate.

I can’t see anything but tables in there. Perhaps Microsoft has grand plans for Office 13. Sorry. 14.

I feel as if I have done little else but whine the past few days. It may be the pain of changing from what I know to what I don’t know, but if so, Microsoft ought to know that they will have an awful lot of unhappy migrators out there.

It gets worse.

Having found my way to Layout, and being happily ensconced in a table, I select the table and tap the right-arrow key to place myself between two tables.

The Layout ribbon disappears.

I tap the delete key to remove the paragraph mark between the two tables, joining them and placing myself back in a table, but Word2007 sulks at Home.

It would have been nice to stay in Tables, sorry, Layout for one more keystroke.

If not, it would have been a nice touch for Word2007 to recognize that I had placed myself inside a table and activated the Layout ribbon.

Finally (we hope!) if I want to wander around the old Conversion (Table To Text, Text To Table), it won’t be found in the Layout ribbon, where is found stuff dealing with tables. It will be found in the Insert ribbon.

What to make of this?

I could believe that Microsoft was absolutely stupid and had drawn the ribbon and command sequence name and location assignments out of a hat.

Or I could believe that Microsoft had spent years and millions of dollars with focus groups seeing what made sense to users. And acted on it.

In which case I would have to believe that the average user is not intuitive at all.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I miss my handy Under-The-Hood tools.

I’m trying to use Ctrl-Shift-D which I had assigned to a macro in “TypeDateConstant ”.

In Office2007, Ctrl-Shift-D remains assigned to the default “Double-Underline” formatting.

It seems that Office2007 has not recognized my keyboard assignment in under The Hood.

Why can I say that?

(1) Because the macro is there, and runs in Office2007, delivering today’s date to me, as it should.

(2) Because I have Word2000 loaded and can show that the key assignment is functioning well in Word2000.


The MRU (Most recently Used) list is upgraded – sort of.

Remember the list at the foot of the old File menu? It showed the 4 most recently used files.

Through Tools, Options, General you could crank it up to a meager nine. An unreasonable limit (I have ten blogs, let alone my real work load!).

I wrote to overcome this difficulty.
Sets no limits

Sorts in any sequence


Jumps to location in document (no bookmarks up my sleeve, either!)

Absorbs Excel MRUse list (you should be able to open your budget from your memo, right?)

Maintains a stop-list of file extensions

Has a switchable memory.
The usual good stuff, right?

Here’s the good news: Word2007 permits more than 9 entries in the MRU list.

Here’s the bad news: Not more than 50.

And no real improvements to help the user, IMHO.