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(Tangentially, I'm pretty sure I'm the only reader of LWN who gets paid to use Word all day, so if you're going to respond to this comment telling me I'm wrong, you better bring the data. ;)
LibreOffice 4.0 released
Posted Feb 10, 2013 5:53 UTC (Sun) by rgmoore (subscriber, #75)
I think the ribbon is a genuine, major improvement, but that a lot of experienced users took a long time to warm up to it because it's such a big change. Once you get used to it, though, it's clearly better, especially if you're doing a whole series of operations that use the same class of commands (e.g. a whole bunch of formatting).
Posted Feb 11, 2013 12:12 UTC (Mon) by nye (guest, #51576)
I agree, but I think a large part of the problem is that it was released half-baked. In Office 2007 the ribbon was barely customisable, so you ended up with the worst of both worlds; in 2010 I think it's a great example of good UI design which is both relatively user-friendly and relatively powerful. It's not outstanding in either regard, but I think it *is* outstanding in how well it's made the trade-off.
Office 2010 is the first Microsoft product that to me feels like a real professional tool, despite its remaining flaws.
Posted Feb 10, 2013 16:38 UTC (Sun) by Del- (guest, #72641)
With respect to menus, just about any other software in the universe uses them. Hence, the data is overwhelming, we all know how to maneuver them. We all know how the shortcuts go.
As for most people MS Office is but a tool, my day is filled with other stuff too, so there is a limit to how much time I want to spend learning how to use ribbons effectively. After years with ribbons, I still prefer the traditional ui, and I am pretty sure I am more productive with it. On my laptop I avoid MS Office totally, it takes too much screen to be useful at all (I know I can hide all the functionality, but kind of defeats the purpose).
Posted Feb 10, 2013 20:16 UTC (Sun) by Kit (guest, #55925)
Having used Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and KOffice a decent chunk over the 2000s, of the three I preferred using KOffice the most (OO had an absurdly slow start time). And then I had to use Office 2007, which introduced the Ribbon. In no time at all, I already preferred the new interface, and was using features I didn't even know existed (such as managing citations). The Ribbon creates tiered, logical 2D groupings of controls. With a toolbar, you sort of have 1D groupings of icons... which is fine with a half dozen icons, but becomes worse and worse the more icons you introduce.
When I've talked to various technical people, they'll often bash the ribbon... but then they tend to always opt to use ribbon-based interfaces instead of non-ribbon. Based off the non-technical users I know... they tend to be able to do more with post-Ribbon versions of Office than pre-Ribbon versions (they'll use a wider feature set, instead of just basic font editing, like would happen before).
Posted Feb 10, 2013 21:13 UTC (Sun) by Del- (guest, #72641)
Maybe it is just me, but I find myself lost in the ribbons searching for basic functionality. Hence, my experience differ from yours here. When I ask my colleagues where to find said stuff, they more often than not do not know either.
> I preferred using KOffice the most
Nice to hear. Generally I love the KDE stack, so I am kind of waiting for Calligra to mature. I am planning on giving it a serious try when the developers claim it is ready.
> The Ribbon creates tiered, logical 2D groupings of controls. With a toolbar, you sort of have 1D groupings of icons... which is fine with a half dozen icons, but becomes worse and worse the more icons you introduce.
I think this is where we differ. I really want to keep it simple. 1D is simple. I hate when people start going overboard with the features in MS Office, it always leads to a terrible mess, where I (after having waisted three days with a well-meaning support person somewhere in Bangalore) need to copy and paste page by page into a fresh document, and hurry off to make a pdf of it before anybody mess up the formatting again. Citations, or more generally cross-referencing is one of the problem spots that have given me grief. Sometimes I wonder whether the proponents of MS Office ever have had any experience with serious documents. To me, a hundred pages was always a hard limit before everything went nuclear.
Actually, it has consistently been so bad that I have stayed away from large Word reports the last years. Instead, mediawiki has provided a much better way of communicating results, and preserving knowledge. The added value for the employer is just tremendous, I cannot imagine how ineffective the old word reports were at preserving knowledge. Preserving knowledge is the main challenge of technology companies today, and MS Office is not helping. Don't even get me started on Sharepoint.
Spreadsheets are if possible even worse. Seems some people try use them for developing full graphical applications, producing advanced reports, and doing complex calculations and data management. It is my firm belief that such endavours are best undertaken in more tailored environments.
Posted Feb 19, 2013 21:42 UTC (Tue) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106)
People needing to do "serious" work mostly don't use MS Word in any case due to its abysmal styling and layout controls.
Posted Feb 20, 2013 10:07 UTC (Wed) by renox (subscriber, #23785)
And with this comment, you've just shown that you're totally biased and not worth listening to, thanks.
Given that MS Word is the "de facto" standard, it is very much used to do serious work.
Posted Feb 20, 2013 12:38 UTC (Wed) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106)
There are a lot of people who don't have or don't know about better options, but nobody who has a choice uses Word for anything that requires sophisticated layout or styling. If some places require .doc submissions... so much the worse, they'll get poorly formatted input.
A word processor isn't a typesetting/page layout program and isn't supposed to be. Word compounds this by making even simple things harder than they have to be.
Posted Feb 20, 2013 12:46 UTC (Wed) by renox (subscriber, #23785)
Posted Feb 20, 2013 10:11 UTC (Wed) by spaetz (subscriber, #32870)
I keep hearing this, but that might only be true in your world. You'd be surprised how many e.g. academic journals in the social and management sciences accept *only* .doc[x] for submissions, for instance. (where often the backoffice converts the files to latex files as part of the typesetting).
But then, you'd probably not consider that as "serious work", so I'll stop here :-).
Posted Feb 15, 2013 8:41 UTC (Fri) by MortenSickel (guest, #3238)
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