Dec 16, 2011

Back to 2003!

Like many people, I am deeply unhappy with the changes that Microsoft made to its Office Suite in the 2007 and 2010 versions. Since I upgraded from Office 2003 about a year ago, I have been unable to find many functions I used for decades. I find the "ribbon" paradigm used in the current interface appalling. Icons have been carried much too far in interfaces. We need words to figure out where things are in most cases. Or I do at least.

This topic has been raised several times on the private translators' forum Stridonium in which I participate, but until recently I managed to overlook the solution suggested there. One colleague suggested the commercial solution from Addintools. When I mention this at last night's translators' social evening in Hohen Neuendorf near Berlin, one person there thought I was referring to a macro solution from Switzerland, which I was not. This morning he sent me a link to UBit's pages with their interesting solution:

The macro from UBit adds a "Menu" menu to the MS Office 2007 or 2010 menu bar (how's that for redundancy in wording?). When selected, it displays a strip of dropdown menus corresponding to the structure of the MS Word 2003 menus. The product was developed to make the transition to the awful new interface less painful. So far it looks promising. There's a little info video, which is short on information but has a nice music track:


  1. I agree that the 2007 interface takes some getting used to, although I definitely prefer it now. When I upgraded, I often used the MS interactive guide, where you can click on an "old item" and it will show you where it is on the new ribbon:

  2. Thanks - I've put off this for a long time, but five years late, in 2012, I'm finally going to make the leap to Office 2007 (!) so this will help me a lot!

    Interestingly, in all these years I've only once had a problem caused by my use of such "old" software - a very complicated Office 2007-document from the client with things embedded in footnotes and such, which didn't remain completely intact through Microsoft's own conversion utility to open it in my Word 2003.

  3. @Craig - upgrade to 2010 you mean? It's got a lot of bugfixes for problems in 2007 I'm told.

    After a year I have largely adapted to the horrible new interface, but there are still certain commands that I simply can't find in the new interface, and the hours spent searching for this information is a huge waste of my productivity. I resent the arrogance of Microsoft in making major changes like that without offering solutions to avoid destroying user productivity until a new steep learning curve has been overcome. Unfortunately, I've noticed that some functions in certain TEnT tools I use are more stable when I run Office 2010, so conversion solutions running on an older version are really not an option any more.

  4. Good thing I'm on a Mac. In Office 2011 we got to keep the old style menus along with the dreaded ribbons.

  5. I have used UBitmenu since I first downupgraded from Office 2000 to 2007, and I also use it for the one machine that now has Office 2010. I still use it instead of the ribbon more than half of the time. A very valuable program.


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