Office Pioneer

What it's really like to be working with the 2007 Microsoft Office System Beta 2


NOT missing in action... floating toolbars

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Working with Beta 2, all my attention tends to be focused on what's new and how it's changing - and usually improving - the way I work.

What's harder to spot is the stuff that's gone away, particularly when it's been seamlessly replaced with a new approach. And to my mind that's a good thing - it shows that the new approach has taken hold and that I'm not pining after old functions.

Today I came across a great example of this when I was reminded of floating toolbars. At the time (way back in 1996) they were a giant leap forward and an attempt to conquer the proliferation of functions and features, all looking for somewhere to hang out.

And as much as they brought some order to potential feature chaos, I will always remember them with a degree of hassle and frustration as they moved around the screen, disappeared when I didn't want them to and then kept popping up in strange places.

It took me a minute to link the unruliness of floating toolbars with the simplicity and clarity provided by the ribbon. I can hardly believe that they're essentially the same function, which speaks volumes for the improvements made by the new approach.

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