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Posts Tagged ‘Ribbon’

Office 2010 Ribbon from the User’s Perspective

Introduced in some Office 2007 applications, the Fluent User Interface is Microsoft’s attempt to ‘expose’ (make more readily available) the commands used to work with an Office application. With Office 2010, all Office applications use this style of user interface. For the average user, the most visible aspect of the Fluent User Interface is the Ribbon, which replaced the menus and toolbar interface style of Office applications from ‘97 through to 2003.

On the positive side the Fluent User Interface does a creditable job of displaying, and making more easily available, the commands that serve the needs of the vast majority of users. In the menu/toolbar style that preceded the Fluent User Interface, some commands necessarily had to be buried in the menu structure. Only the most adventurous user stood any chance of accidentally discovering some of these commands.

The Ribbon, on the other hand makes it possible for the user to easily discover many more commands simply by exploring the contents of each tab. What users will encounter however, are differences in the appearance of the Ribbon depending on the current width of the Application window and the monitor’s resolution.

Notice the detail on the Home tab of the Excel 2010 Ribbon for example:

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This is a screenshot of the Ribbon as it is displayed in a very wide window. For display purposes here, the image had to be somewhat resized. Compare that image with this one, using a narrower window:

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In the first image, the Styles group has a rich assortment of buttons. In the second, the styles group has only three buttons. In to see the cell styles gallery, you have to click the Cell Styles button dropdown.

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With progressively narrower windows more and more groups are collapsed to a few essential buttons which you must click in order to see all the possibilities a group offers:

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Here the Styles group has been reduced to a single button:

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Here, the Number and Cells groups are also reduced to single buttons:

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When the window is extremely narrow, most groups are barely recognizable. Notice that none of the tabs can display their full name:

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It is even possible to reach a point where there is no longer enough screen with to display the full Ribbon:

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When that happens, ‘expander’ buttons appear, allowing you to navigate to hidden portions of the Ribbon.

Practically speaking, it is unlikely that you would ever use such an extremely narrow window as in the last graphic but keep in mind that screen resolution also affects how the Ribbon will display. The lower the resolution setting, the more likely it is that you will see a truncated view of the Ribbon.

Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering : Office 2010: Visuals and Branding

If you are interested in understanding a little bit of the rational behind the Fluent User (Ribbon) Interface that Microsoft introduced with Office 2007 and how the look and feel will be changing with Office 2010, have a look at this article Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering : Office 2010: Visuals and Branding.

I’m looking forward to spending quality time over the next few weeks with the Office 2010 Beta release. There are some pretty exciting features in the wind. Stay tuned for more.