Find Those Missing Office Features

Readers air their frustrations over the "Ribbon" interface -- and share how they fixed them.

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Find Those Missing Office Features
I've just read Patrick Meader's comments on the Office 2007 Ribbon and his frustration about being unable to find features (Editor's Note, "Microsoft Opens Up (Even More)," October 2008). I'm sorry he feels this way about the Office ribbon, but hey, not everyone accepts an interface change equally. I like it personally, but I remember that it did take a little getting used to at first.

Anyway, I just wanted to ask whether Meader has ever checked out the Search Command add-in for Office 2007. It's only a labs project, but I found the add-in useful in helping me find my favorite features and commands inside Office 2007. People have compared this to "what we did in Vista with the start button," and I love the analogy. I hope something like this will make it into Office officially one day, but I should note that I have no insider knowledge about this.

I should also note that I happen to work at Microsoft, but I don't represent the Office team; I'm e-mailing this to you as an individual, and my comments are my own.

Best of luck and keep it up with the great columns!

Dmitry Lyalin, received by e-mail

I enjoyed Patrick Meader's Editor's Note in the October 2008 issue. I share his feelings, in general, on both Windows Vista and Office 2007. I too love the Start Search feature of Vista, and I have a love/like/hate relationship with the ribbon interface of Office 2007. It might take some getting use to.

That said, I found a plug-in for Office 2007 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) that adds the functionality of the Start Search to the ribbon interface. You can use it to search for the command you're looking for. I found the add-in here. I believe this is a Microsoft Web site, but I make no claims or guarantees. However, the plug-in does seem to do what it is supposed to do.

Larry Lee, received by e-mail

How cool is that? I share a short rant, and readers write in to tell me how to minimize the frustration I feel. Perhaps I should post about my love/hate relationship with wireless technology next! In any case, thanks to you both for your comments about this. I can't say this makes me feel warmly about the ribbon, exactly; that will take a while yet, not least because I miss being able to access most critical features with a single click. That said, this tool is a big improvement; it helps me track down those missing features and cuts down on my frustration level significantly. -- P.M.

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This story was written or compiled based on feedback from the readers of Visual Studio Magazine.

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