I have been using the new Microsoft Office 12 for a few weeks now. It is the most amazing Office Suite that has been developed to date. Replacing the toolbars now are what’s called ribbons and it allows you to easily navigate what used to be the menus. Yes, that is right, no more menus (with the exception of the still existent file menu). There new user interface maximizes a user’s tasking abilities by displaying commands when you need them. An example of this is with the tables in Microsoft Word. After you insert a table from the Insert Ribbon toolbar, it will add a Table Ribbon that you can select and use. This Table Ribbon will allow you to perform all the functions that you would need to modify a table. Once you leave the table, then the Table Ribbon will disappear because you don’t need the table functions when you are not in the table. Creative huh? This can be viewed as acting the same way as Microsoft Word 2003 pops up with the Pictures Toolbar each time you select a picture but then it disappears immediately after you deselect the picture. The MiniBar is like a mini toolbar that appears alongside the right-click pop-up menu. It contains common commands you might want to apply to the selected item. Some of the options on this toolbar is bold, underline, italicize, adjusting the various alignments, font size, and font type. This is one of the most convenient things in the new Office because you no longer have to drag your mouse up to the top toolbar just to bold some text! A similar event to this can be found when you select text in Office 12, the MiniBar appears “ghosted” above the text you selected. If you move closer to the MiniBar, it fades in and becomes a miniature toolbar you can use. As you move the pointer away from the edge of the MiniBar, it fades away to nothing. So, if you don’t want to use the MiniBar on selection, just move your cursor a few pixels away and it dismisses. The complete MiniBar feature can be disabled if it annoys you, but give it a shot and you will realize life without it is difficult!

Microsoft Office 12 MiniBar

The new Microsoft Office 12 will have a higher learning curve than any previous version of Microsoft Office. Despite the similarities between the menus and the new “ribbons”, there are still many commands that have to be hunted down. I guess that getting there is half the fun! BUGS I HAVE FOUND:
  1. Microsoft Word has problems when printing some documents with pictures that are NOT aligned with the text. The pictures, despite Print Preview displaying it correctly, will be in what seems a random spot on the page. The first page that gets printed never seems to have this problem. This means that a possible, but tedious, solution could be to print each page separately!
  2. Microsoft Excel XY Scatter plots will not allow you to adjust the properties of the graph very much. It really throws a fit when you try to adjust the minimum and maximum values of either axis. There is no solution I have found for this myself other than to hope another chart will work with your data or that the default graph it generates is exactly what you want.