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In My Office Luddites for Progress Unite!
(Everything New Is Old Again)

by Shepard B. Gorman

 There are few things more frustrating to any presenter than having to edit a PowerPoint slideshow or a Word document for a handout just before the presentation begins and suddenly discovering that they donít know how to use what they think is the same software they have used in the past. Such is the case for many college professors and lots of business people with any of the Microsoft Office 2007 products 

 The new user interface ( the Ribbon),  (see below) was heralded at the Office 2007 roll-out as the result of lots of human engineering study hours. One of the claims was that it unified the Office product line, so that similar functions could be found in the same location for all products. This proved to be true only for a few products. Another claim was that the Ribbon would allow unprecedented access to

underutilized features. This may be true but simply begs
the questions of whether the access is worth the cost.  The oft-repeated rule that 80% of the users use only 20% of the features is still a good one. One has to ask if anyone, even office technology professionals, even know or can productively use all the commands in Word.

 Ask the really experienced, proficient users of Word and they will tell you that they still use keyboard shortcuts and their own custom hot-key combinations for oft-repeated commands. This leaves one to wonder how many of the Microsoft test panel participants had used the older products for years.  The new user interface ( the Ribbon) may be a boon to the new user, but it simply throws away much of the learning curve of the veteran user of MS Office products. Many users, including the author, (could you guess?) found that locating the same features was twice as frustrating and significantly slowed throughput.

 Frustration relief and productivity increase for the veteran user has arrived. The folks at addintools.com have published Classic Menu for Office 2007  v3.8  for the lost souls among us who want to capitalize on what we already know. A small ( 3.8 Meg), almost instantly installed, and inexpensive add in to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access or Outlook, it gives you all the new features of Office 2007 programs with the older, Office 2003 menu interfaces.  For those of you using still older version of Office products,  rest assured that 2003 menus are very, substantially similar to those of Office XP and even earlier versions.


Consider this product the learning curve flattener. You can find commands in their old familiar (Office 2003) positions as below.

This example has all the Office 2007 menu items and a new optional menu tab called ďAllĒ that gives a horizontal presentation of the vertical menus, a sometimes handy way of locating features in an alternate manner. Classic Menu supports all the common MS languages and cost only $16 for any one product or $30 for new (old?) menus for Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Outlook. Setup is fast, with a small manager program that pops-up to ask how you want your Office 2007 product to modify. The manager can be easily used to re-configure the interface at any time. Removal is also quite easy if you decide the Ribbon wraps your package at some later date.  If you are still not convinced, why not download the full version for a free 15 day trial. The author did and it earned a permanent berth on his PC in less than a week.




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