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Excel 2007's Ribbon Hurts
Productivity, Survey Shows
Excel 2007's most significant change was to
replace menus with
the Ribbon. Our survey shows what business users of Excel think
about that change.
by Charley Kyd
Note: Also see the results of our poll, "The Excel 2007 Market Share?"
According to our survey of
intermediate and advanced
users have strong opinions about Excel 2007's new Ribbon interface.
They don't like it.
Month in and month out, the respondents said that Excel's Ribbon has reduced their
productivity by an average of about 20%. And users with a negative opinion of the
Ribbon estimate that it's reduced their productivity by about 35%.
You can read comments about the Ribbon, both good and bad, in
the columns at the right. Because I received many more negative comments
than positive ones, I included most positive comments and a lower
|Quotes From Our Survey
|I'm a highly experienced Excel user - I HATED office 2007
when it first arrived - and now almost a full year later I can
do 80% of the things I could do before (with more difficulty).
There are still things that I need to port to my laptop (office
98!!) because they simply cannot be done on 2007. The drawing
package is especially unusable.
I recently gave up with all this stress, and installed
Open Office and I am increasingly using that to edit complex
Excel documents (despite the compatibility risk). REALLY
SOMETHING STINKS WHEN AFTER A YEAR I AM STILL FORCED TO USE
OFFICE98 AND OPEN-OFFICE TO ACHIEVE TASKS THAT ARE IMPOSSIBLE IN
|Looks like you've got a few people making a lot of ruckus
over something that is striking at their pride of Excel power.
As the following figure illustrates, advanced users are somewhat more negative about the Ribbon than
are intermediate users. (Not enough
beginning users have responded to be relevant.)
|A larger proportion of advanced users had a negative
opinion of the Ribbon than did intermediate users.
Respondents' opinions about the Ribbon
are strongly influenced by
its effect on their productivity, as this table illustrates.
These results exclude dozens of surveys that showed losses in
productivity of more than 100%, and even more results where upset Excel
users tried to "stuff the ballot box" with multiple negative opinions. Although these scores reflect an
intensity of feeling about the Ribbon, they can't be used in our summary
Those who hate or merely
dislike the Ribbon felt that it reduced their
productivity significantly. Those who love or like the Ribbon feel that it
increased their productivity by a lesser amount. On average, all users who responded estimated
that the Ribbon has reduced their productivity.
The statistical accuracy
of this survey could be challenged because online
surveys don't produce a random sample of responses.
Even so, this chart shows that
the results have been relatively consistent month by month.
appears safe to say that the vast majority of experienced Excel users in
business dislike the Ribbon.
Excel developers have seen an opportunity in this response to the Ribbon. Search Google for the words
Excel 2003 2007 Ribbon menu and you'll find a selection of Excel
add-ins designed to bring Excel 2003-style menus to Excel 2007.
Unfortunately for businesses, those 3rd-party menu add-ins could make
Excel's Ribbon/menu problem even worse. This is because widespread use
of the competing menu solutions would create many unique versions of
Excel 2007...a Menu of Babel. The Ribbon may hurt productivity, but having no standard
interface -- that is, no standard version of Excel -- could hurt business productivity even more.
Why Does the Ribbon Hurt Productivity?
The most frequent complaint about the Ribbon is that it requires more
clicks and mouse movement than the menu does. But the problem goes deeper
1. The Ribbon eliminates built-in and custom toolbars, and also
tear-off menus, features that provide one-click access to commands in a context
that Classic Excel users could define for themselves. To illustrate, if
we were working with external data, both the data commands and the
formatting commands could be available immediately.
Instead, the Ribbon
enforces context generally defined by the active
object, which could have little relationship with the task we want to
perform. This forces a greater number of visual searches and
a greater number of clicks.
More searching and clicking means less productivity.
2. The Ribbon generally places Excel add-ins into their own tab, rather than allowing them to be
grouped by task within a menu structure. Out-of-context searching and
clicking means less productivity.
3. The Ribbon consists of a random collection of icons and text, arranged
horizontally. This is more difficult for humans to search than is a
contextually organized vertical list with no icons acting as speed bumps. More
spent searching means less productivity.
4. The Ribbon changes significantly with the width of Excel's
window. This means that there isn't just one Ribbon; there are at least 19 of them.
Therefore, users never truly will know the Ribbon, because there are
too many Ribbons to learn. Instead, users always are forced to
search the current version of the Ribbon for the commands they need. More
searching means less productivity.
5. The Ribbon's 19 versions slow the development of muscle memory.
Muscle memory allows us to choose the commands we want, virtually without
conscious thought. Reduced muscle memory means reduced productivity.
Though not directly related to the Ribbon, several users also mentioned Excel 2007's non-modal dialogs
as a productivity problem. These dialogs allow users
immediately to change cells, charts, and other objects as users change
dialog settings. In contrast, prior versions of Excel ask users to
adjust from one to many settings and then press OK.
The advantage to the Classic Excel approach is that we can choose some
other cell or chart or whatever, then press Ctrl+Y to apply all
the changes that we made in the dialog. But in New Excel, pressing Ctrl+Y applies only the one last change.
To illustrate the power of the earlier approach, in Excel 2003 I recently modified 30 charts in 30 quick clicks
of Ctrl+Y. Each Ctrl+Y click applied about ten changes with one command. But in Excel 2007 it
took several hours and many hundreds of clicks to change the equivalent
charts in that program.
Why Did Microsoft Create the Ribbon?
When they introduced the Ribbon, Microsoft introduced a change that
many experienced Excel users have said they don't like. Microsoft
appears to have made a
particularly strange decision when we consider that experienced users --
who include many company presidents and most Chief Financial Officers -- have a significant influence on
the version of Excel that their company uses.
Why would Microsoft make a decision that's so unpopular with its most
A speculative answer is that Microsoft didn't realize how
unpopular the Ribbon would be. A better answer is that Microsoft had
at least three reasons for introducing the Ribbon.
First, the Excel team added many new
features to Excel 2007. They added so many features that the Excel 2003
menu was going to have to be changed in any case. Using the Ribbon made
it easier for the programmers to provide access to Excel 2007's new features.
Second, Microsoft apparently introduce the Ribbon to Office 2007 as a branding
device. More new features were added to Office 2007 than ever had been
added before. To emphasize these improvements, Microsoft wanted the
product to look and feel different from previous versions.
Third, and most significantly, Excel users have been requesting features for
years, features that already existed in Excel. This created
significant frustration on Microsoft's Excel team. They had worked very
hard to create useful features that many users never had discovered.
Therefore, the overriding idea that guided the creation of Excel's Ribbon
was discoverability. Microsoft wanted an interface that would
make it easy for users to discover Excel's hidden features. Merely by
allowing users to discover those features, Microsoft expected to
enhance the value of Excel significantly.
However, Microsoft apparently failed to consider that by improving
discoverability in the way they did could hurt user productivity. They
also failed to consider that most Excel users -- and their
employers -- care passionately about productivity and care nothing about discoverability.
When Will Excel Menus Return?
Microsoft has said that the Ribbon is here to stay. Not only does
this mean that the Ribbon won't go away, it means that Microsoft does
not intend to offer a Classic Excel alternative to the Ribbon.
In short, discoverability will continue
to trump productivity.
One day, perhaps, far in the future, a senior Microsoft manager will have a
Brilliant Idea. She'll decide that Microsoft should deliver a feature
that its users care passionately about. She'll decide to concentrate on Excel
When she does, Excel users will stampede to the
stores to buy that enhanced version of Excel.
But until that version arrives, be sure to keep Classic Excel installed
if you do decide to buy New Excel.
About the Ribbon
|"I've used Office 2007 for several months now and while
some of the new features (1,048,576 rows!), I still hate the
Ribbon. I disliked it from the start and like it less now. I've gotten
used to it, but still think it is far less effective than the old menu
|"Possibly the most idiotic menu UI I have ever encountered. I'm an
Excel workbook developer and Excel 2007's Ribbon continually slowed me
down and confounded me.
"I eventually reverted back to Excel 2003 and
will remain on that version until (or if) Microsoft grows its brains
back and redevelops this monstrosity into something useful. Sun's Open
Office is looking better by the day (too bad about the primitive
|"Bad move guys. We all hate to admit that we made a mistake but this
Ribbon is really a mistake on a grand scale."
|"Google Sheets looks more and more like a viable option the more MS
continues to take steps backwards."
|"Basically I have to throw away years and untold hours of familiarity
with Windows and Office applications in general, and Excel in
particular, and re-learn some foreign interface. I think transitioning
from a PC to Mac OSX was easier!"
"Everything takes longer. It's most unintuitive. I'm the network
admin here. I don't like it. And my users don't like it either."
|"I use, teach, and develop in Excel. Everyone knows the old
interface; why does MSFT think everyone will be willing to learn a new
one? Sounds like a "New Coke" fiasco to me."
"After a year, I still waste time figuring out how to do something
that I used to do quickly."
|"The way Excel functions were laid out was awful. Even with consistent
use for the past 4 months I still find myself hunting for things. I am
consistently taking four clicks to get to something that used to take
"Also, banishing Add-Ins to their own tab was awful. Now many of those
that I rely on every day are a couple of clicks away."
|"When companies are continually working at the cutting edge and
always trying to be first to create next generation best practice by
leading and not following, then they are going to get it wrong some of
"With this Ribbon they got it wrong, seriously wrong."
|"It's more gimmick than substance. Dump it!"
|"Is Microsoft really trying to promote and advertise Open Office? The
|"The Ribbon is so bad that I don't use it, I have uninstalled the
software and am looking to sell it."
|"I have seen many experienced users ask for the "Classic" UI to
replace the Ribbon, since it is a productivity killer, illogical and
|"Loathe the new ribbon interface. Ended up
uninstalling Office 2007 and installing a seven year old version
of Office instead."
|"I spend *so* much time futzing with the interface; I'm more
concerned with how I'm doing things instead of the things I'm doing.
giant step backwards."
"PLEASE, can we go BACK???
"I like new things like any other person but.. they need to
not overly complicate life in the process."
"The Ribbon UI by itself is ridiculous enough. The decision
NOT to provide a classic UI alternative smacks of arrogance and
"I bought Office 2007 with my new personal laptop thinking it
would be a nice upgrade and am hoping with all my might that my
employer does not upgrade to office 2007. If I was using office
2007 every day, I would expect not to be getting a raise for the
next several years, because of the huge drop in my
|"There are some great new features in Excel 2007, but the
Ribbon isn't one of them."
"Extremely bad interface. I can see conversion to Office 2007
having a negative impact on a company's bottom line."
"The ribbon is the tool that have killed Microsoft Excel.
I have used Excel 2007 for 6 months and came back with pleasure
to Excel 2003.
The decrease in productivity with the ribbon is very very very
The learning curve is very high. I can't forget many years using
toolbars in a few weeks. My customers still use Excel 2003. It is a
nightmare mix both systems.
Stupid, stupid move. I love Excel and Microsoft totally wrecked the
experience for me. If everyone in our office is forced to relearn excel,
we might as well learn Open Office instead. Paying $$$ for a spreadsheet
app that decreases your productivity and frustrates you with a new
interface is idiocy!
The keyboard accelerators are not intuitive letters. I need more
keystrokes &/or mouse clicks to get at what I need. I can't customize
toolbars. It eats up a lot of room, and minimizing it just makes it
harder to work with. It's like the cutesy-tootesy office assistant
(which they've finally killed off), nobody but beginners like it. It's
moronic that they don't allow us the option to use toolbars. After all
these years Excel still offers help for Lotus 123 users, and the option
for R1C1, yet they can't find it in their heart to give us this option.
It's not as if we're asking for them to develop something new. They
still allow (somewhat) us to use the old shortcuts, so clearly they have
the ability to throw in a toolbar option.
I can see very few improvements with the Ribbon whatsoever. Almost
everything takes longer, especially if we add the effect of non-modal
dialogues. I fail to understand why it is not easily-customizable. Why
MS waste so much time and space on design themes and 3-D.
I hate it with a passion. All the years of investment in the old menu
bar are lost. Thanks Microsoft. Not only is it disrespectful but it
appears that Microsoft don't care about it's clients any more. Most
products have a classic or new menu setting - Excel should have this.
My company uses a set of custom toolbars, with in-house macros on excel
every day. We have NO IDEA how to do it in 2007, and don't have the
desire, bandwidth, or resources to migrate our existing 2003 toolset to
the 2007 ribbon standard. Thank God we all still have 2003 available,
but I fear the day that we can't do it anymore.
All of my YEARS of training in Excel now amount to nothing! I can't find
anything-can't use my most used shortcuts. I have been demoted from an
advanced user to a novice. SHAME on you Microsoft! Since my company
upgraded, I must now send my sheets home to work on so that I don't
waste hours at work.
Before upgrading to Excel 2007 I could touch-type my way through menus
and selections, and it was rare I needed the mouse at all. The Ribbon
has robbed me of the ability to use Excel primarily from the keyboard. I
now must move my hand to and from the mouse, even for very common tasks,
more than I have since I was a novice computer user. Like most other
Microsoft user interfaces, the Ribbon is a poor implementation of what
could have been a good user interface. It looks nice but does not add to
Microsoft gave us a dumbed-down user interface. It may be useful to a
novice user who likes icons but it is not efficient for a keyboard user.
It takes up too much space on the screen and features have been moved
for no apparent reason. I wouldn't mind so much if it let me revert to
the 2003 UI.
Too many unneccesary bells and whistles. Using the analogy of a catalog,
the previous version had all the essetial information on a single page
where with the Ribbon you have to flip pages back and forth.
I can't stand the ribbon. It takes power away from those that USE Excel
and caters to those who TINKER with Excel. I can't stand all the
clicking. I am 23 and already suffer occasionally from RSI, so I am a
HEAVY keyboard shortcut user. Yes, (most) of the shortcuts work in Excel
2007, but they are NOT AS FAST. Time it and see. Another issue is screen
space. Need I really say more?
received MS training during our company wide conversion. Trainer
indicated that the "new" style was great for newcomers but poor for the
more experienced user. It took me months to work smoothly with the new
Excel and I still am not back to my old levels. Charts are a disaster,
simple xy charts crashed Excel every time (anything over 10000 data
points). MS was too interested in fluff (shadows and 3d shading - who
uses that crap?) than making a useable system."
|"Why force us? Make both old and new available. Maybe new
way works for the new users, but it is a whole new learning
curve for many existing users. We went back to 2003, after
buying only one 2007. Sorry MS, we have work to get done."
|"The brand logo graphic, it should have
been a lemon, and a half rotten one at that. Excel is a business
tool first and foremost and productivity is king."
|we spend years developing custom menus and toolbars to
enable very fast spreadsheet functioning, now, we have to go
back to ancient history. one of the things that made excel so
powerful in business was the ability to do code, macros quickly,
customize toolbars, customize menus, etc., etc., plus edit what
we had done. this is typical MS, to take away features and then
give them back in later versions. the learning curve is steep
enough to get up to some speed with excel's functions and
capabilities; now, we'll just mix up all the menus and toolbars,
hide things so well we don't even know they're not there
anymore, and make everything have extra keystrokes (which was
why a lot of customizing takes place- to eliminate keystrokes
and automate tasks). sometimes I think MS developers live in a
different galaxy... if people didn't want or need that stuff, it
never would have been there in the first place. at our company,
we don't have extra time or extra people to muddle through what
MS determines is 'best for us'; we need to get things done,
yesterday. i think MS develops all new updates with newbies in
mind, and forgets about who is really using excel, and what it
is being used for...
|The ribbon is just pointless, shuffling all commands to
disorientate experienced users is downright commercial suicide
for MS. I found it completely unusable. I now mainly use
OpenOffice, its a much easier move from 2003.
|The new 'ribbon' interface is nothing short of terrible. An
ergonomic disaster zone. The one-line-only 'quick access
toolbar' which, ludicrously, competes for space with the
document title looks like an afterthought or perhaps an exercise
in mocking long-time users of the product.
I use Excel at work every day - like hundreds of thousands of
people in fact. To take away a perfectly useable, compact,
easily-customizable menu/toolbar interface and to enforce an
oversized, inflexible new one is an act of such irresponsible
arrogance and stupidity it takes the breath away.
|The Ribbon is completely frustrating. I installed MS Office
2007 and after a month reinstalled the 2003 version. I won't use
the 2007 software because of the Ribbon. I resent having to
search help to figure out how to do what I used to do quickly. I
am much too busy to waste time learning this tool and feel that
if I didn't adjust to the Ribbon after a month's use then the
software isn't worth further time/effort investment on my part.
If you notice in all the "positive" comments collected in this
survey, the users consistently indicate that they were
frustrated with the Ribbon and it took them a long while to
learn/adjust to it. Well, if you ask me this is backwards
mentality. Why should the users have to make such adjustments;
shouldn't it be the software that adjusts to users?
|I'm an Excel experienced trainer. It has been said over and
over and I will continue to say it in all my classes: Office
2007 will double the number of clicks required to do the same
thing. What happened to the saying "If it works why change it?"
Beginners like it because it's cool but in the office cool is
not synonym of productivity. If 50 employees loose, say, 10%
productivity (which cannot ever be recovered) then it may cost
many thousands of dollars to the employer. My moto for Office
2007 is "Keyboard shortcuts will save your sanity".
Plus I hate losing features when I upgrade. In each application
I can say that I lost four of five of my favorites features ...
Gone completely. In two words Office 2007 is "Eye Candy".
|I feel Microsoft is attempting to tap a "NEW" Market with
the ribbon. They have basically abandoned those of us who have
used excel for many years, in hopes of luring more of the
attracting novice users to their product. I purchased Office
2007 Ultimate Suite and have since uninstalled and shelved it in
favor of productivity, rather than the pretty interface. I'm
sure I will have to find something else to use in the future, or
maybe someone will find a way to get the functionality back in
excel. Maybe even microsoft will eventually offer a choice of
|MS introduced many changes in Office 2007 claiming that had
'listened' to users requests for improvements. Typical MS
gobbledegoook. The beta version testing group told them the
ribbon was a disaster and they are still hearing the same story
from Moscow to Beijing and everywhere in between. The ribbon is
a major disincentive to 2007 migration and productivity
reduction is huge. Does anybody in MS understand that business
users have a job to do and very often, very little time to do
I am an IT administrator and I advise all my clients not to
upgrade to Office 2007 purely because of the ribbon.
|Making changes based on a dubious feedback tool like the
Office Improvement program that most corporate networks don't
allow access to is just bad business. Any application is most
useful to its user population when it can be customized for the
user's (not developer's) productivity needs. The ribbon needs to
be customizable - period.
|I HATE the fact the menu system is completely gone. It
is patently STUPID that to get to the DATA ribbon you have to
hit Alt-A. What the hell is wrong with Alt-D for Data anyway?
Menus were great for learning. I can read faster than I can
guess what those stupid fat buttons mean. Having to mouse over
them to get a description is a f*ing waste of my time.
|If I want to insert a column, I click the Insert tab,
right? No. There is no option to insert a column there. There
are many more examples; it is just impossible to arrange
hundreds of possibilities in a way that is logical to all users.
[An Excel MVP]
|Can't add or subtract directly to the ribbon, only the
Quick Access toolbar, which is insufficient. The reformatting
depending on the width of the worksheet is annoying as features
disappear. And I don't want to swap between menus (which are
inconsistent) when I am doing a task that requires more than one
of them, like when trying to manage a pivot table format.
Incidentally, the new Conditional Formatting is terrible and
|It would be OK if the commands were in similar/logical
places. For example, inserting a pivot table should be under the
Data tab. It also takes up too much room.
Also I had my other tool bars customized so that I could click
once on commands I frequently use. I'm now finding myself
clicking about 4 to 1 to get a command performed.
|I can't find anything. An example would be pivot tables.
In the past I could create a pivot table, and v-lookup table in
about 3 minutes. Now it takes me at least three times as long. I
am so FRUSTRATED with it.
|Although Excel 2007 contains so many features that I have
eagerly been waiting for, I have just switched back to 2003
after several weeks of trying to accustom myself to the ribbons.
|I've been using Excel since version 1. I've customized my
interface such that virtually anything I need is immediately at
hand - one click. This thing takes at least two steps NO MATTER
WHAT IT IS!! The most simple operation now takes twice the time.
Not only that, it's also reorganized - much less intuitively.
I'm going back to 2003!
|Between constant hunting for common features and the loss
of some features in 2007, it forces me to use things like
Ribbonizer to get some - but not all - capabilities back and get
things done faster.
|The new interface is terrible and Microsoft had to remove
past capabilities to get this UI nightmare working. For example,
the new chart is a total lemon. I can't believe I'm saying this
in 2008 but my company is looking for alternatives. So the goal
was to "Focus on discovery". Microsoft still does not get it --
Google showed how to do this years ago... Search!! You know, a
little box that gives one full text help documentation search.
What a bonehead business decision.
|Difficult to pick up for new users and experienced users
alike, throwing away years of excellent subtle improvements to
what was already a great product. The Ribbon also goes against
the grain of the fundamentals of 'windows' user ineterface
design, making the excel interface too different to the rest of
Microsofts products that come with excel, which was at one time
|Using it for more than a year -- a very few things are
easier -- I more often find I have to stop what I'm doing
(interrupt train of thought) and go find something -- e.g. today
I wanted a trendline on a chart -- had to go to help to even
find the thing....this is typical for those functions or things
I use less often. I am getting used to it, but in my opinion the
ribbon bar is a dud.
|It goes far beyond lost productivity. All the VBA
programming done to create custom applications on Excel 2003 is
now worthless. Can you imagine how much that is going to cost
companies? Why do they treat loyal customers so shabbily?
|I haven't got time to learn a new UI every time MSFT
comes out with a new version. This seems like change for
change's sake and I think it is intended to make it look "not
like a Mac." This is very like the auto industry changing the
look of automobiles every year, just to keep buyers interested
in the latest. Well, MSFT, this is an Edsel.
|There should be two options - one for the ribbon and one
for the normal style, similar to the themes you can set for
windows. Everything takes me longer to find with the ribbons.
Contrary to what Microsoft says I do not find them intuitive and
can never find what I want.
|I tried the trial version and uninstalled it after trying
Excel 2007 for a few weeks. My only fear is that there is some
residue left of that crappy program left on my PC after the
uninstall. There is no reason it should take me 2 hours to do
something that used to take 15 minutes.
|I have talked to the Microsoft People, they laugh at me
when I commented this Situation. It is Incredible that Macros is
on "View".. and Pivot tables on "insert" , and , when you want
to design a new Pivot Table Data Base Range, you have to call
Obama to do it
|I have to learn Excel all over again - with *nothing* to
show for it, no new features or capabilities. Things I have been
doing with ease for years now take 30 minutes of research and/or
trial and error to complete.
|I wouldn't use Excel 2007 if I had a choice, but my employer
has decided to force Office 2007 on the whole corporation. The
options on the Ribbon are incoherent, the commands I frequently
use have been hidden God knows where... I'm trying to put on the
Quick Access Toolbar as many vital commands I can.
|what a step backwards. the Ribbon takes up valuable space,
and some operations now require more mouse clicks - which can
lead to Carpal Tunnel problems. with the traditional menues, at
least you can hover until you find the command you want. Not
true with the Ribbon - you must click, and click, and click.
|Simple Fact: More steps required to reach the same menu
items with the ribbon compared to the old drop down listings.
Additionally, the ribbon has inevitably lost some of the
"cluster logic" (Items of similar Functionality Grouped
together) as they moved to the Icon driven ribbon. I am visual
and love the concept, but needs John Maeda(MIT) to simplify and
|I hate not only the ribbon but also the way graphs etc
are handled now by all kinds of automatic functions that
seldomly do what I want them to. Afterwards there come a million
clicks more than before to get it the way I want.
|I spend a lot of time trying to find shortcuts and menu
options that I quickly find on classic Excel. I also noticed
decrease on my PC performance trying to open or close the
|The ribbon requires extreme mouse movements and double
clicks where one used to suffice. I like words, not icons. Icons
are for school children (and increase illiteracy, thank you). I
need to be productive. I could almost live with it if, at least,
when I floated my cursor over the header items, the icons
changed. I would still hate it, just not as much.
|I'm an advanced user. I use many macro buttons in my
sheets and i can't believe that i can't customize the ribbon
like the old toolbar. I'm thinking about migrating my work. I'm
not natural english speaker, sorry about muy poor expression.
|I use short cut keys almost exclusively. Most still work
in Excel 2007. If it weren't for the fact that I know all of
these shortcuts, I would have abandoned Excel 2007 and gone back
to Excel 2003. I'm the power user in my HR group and love to
play with Excel. But I still struggle after more than a year to
find things on the "ribbon".
|Stupid. Idiotic. Dumb. Did they do this just to keep the
programmers employed? I think the auto companies used to do the
same thing - change for its own sake; style over functionality.
And look where it got them! Excel 2007 is the new Hummer!
|Experienced users just have so much to unlearn, new users
can enjoy the so-called discovery aspect, but eventually this
All users will need at some time a modification to the toolbar
that was possible with earlier versions, that is NOT possible
If the only change Microsoft was to make, was to make it
possible to toggle the Ribbon between current or previous
versions of XL, then their current financial woes would vanish!
The Ribbon is NOT the main reason we hate X12, we hate the fact
that it is being FORCED down our throats! ....err, and we do
I've tried it for 3 months now, and it doesn't get any more
lovable. It takes longer to do basic commands. I still find
myself searching for where commands are. And I can't see any
It's added confusion to what was previously very easy to work
with. I believe I'm not as quick as before, although they have
added some functionality.
No matter how proficient I become on Excel 2007, will I EVER
be able to navigate it as quickly as I do 2003? I very much
doubt it. I can sum up my opinion of the ribbon in one word: "Aaaaaaaaaargh!"
|The biggest productivity kiler yet invented. Everything
is faster and easier in 2003. Oddly enough MS expects people to
pay for a rubbish ribbon which was designed for monkeys. They
should have handed out peanuts instead.
|I use a lot of keyboard commands and the alt key to
access the menu with the keyboard. The command keys work fine
but I am forced to take my hands off the keyboard and use the
mouse. Plus I have to spend several minutes looking for the
feature I want to use. The Ribbon is a huge mistake.
|I can't understand how MS believes that they could juts
pull people along as they developed their ribbon. People are not
|Whatever moron signed off on this should be taken out the
back, shot, set on fire, put out, set on fire again and shot
some more...they are amongst the worlds worst application
architects with no f----g clue as to how to design something
that is actually easy for the end user to use...
The number of ordinary users I have had complaining about this
bollocksed interface is beyond measure - the only ones who like
it are the simpletons and the dumbarses who don't actually work
with the product on a day to day basis...
|A wonderful example of reverse Darwinism. Fortunately the
creators and marketers of this "Ribbon" are not in charge of our
medical facilities (yet).
|1) It represents yet more dumbing down from MS. What
about expert users?
2) It's not clearer than the old menus IMHO - there's still a
mix of nouns (e.g. Data, Formulas) and verbs (e.g. Insert) and
it takes up valuable space. So I have minimized it and built my
3) Keyboard shortcuts are no longer shown, you have to know what
|I am so disappointed that I am contemplating going to a
different program, I use ribbon customizer to try to get back to
the drop down menus and get back productivity. Office 2007 is
definitely a giant step backwards.
|Major waste of my time. I appreciate the new features but
Microsoft should be shot for abandoning its users that have
spent years mastering Excel's interface. Frankly, I don't think
the ribbon is any more intuitive. Example: Why have an insert
option on the Home tab AND have an Insert tab? Why is Switch
Windows such a pain to find? The old interface (and
customization options) should have been retained as an option. I
am VERY disappointed with the lack of concern for power users.
|chart functionality has been destroyed. esp those of us
who painstakingly build complex charts in excel and bring them
over to analytical written reports using word.
|We stayed away from Office 2007 because of the
Ribbon's and the learning curve that our end users would be
required to deal with in adapting to them.
|In my company, we use Excel as a meeting facilitation tool,
and have built a customized workbook complete with templates we
use while conducting workshops. This allows us to conduct very
fluid workshops with real-time on-screen data capture, and to
provide our customers with Excel-based workshop deliverables
within minutes of closing our workshop. In order to minimize the
'behind the curtain' processes that would normally require
multiple clicks, we have built a set of about 50 specific
macro-enabled toolbar buttons to automate our tasks. This allows
us to drive the workshop rather than drive our spreadsheets. In
Excel 2003, we completely hide the standard and formatting
toolbars, and instead use two custom-built bars.
There is nothing in the Ribbon that empowers us in the way that
our one-click toolbars do. Our workshop participants rarely see
the machinations of what we're doing, because we have refined
and automated our process well. We facilitate workshops for a
living - 52 weeks a year. Upgrading to Office 2007 has destroyed
our ability to use our #1 toolset, and eliminates the
competitive advantage that we built for ourselves. I simply want
to build my own toolbars and have the interface that I want, and
I want to eliminate the Ribbon altogether.
|I hate the inflexibility of it (QAT aside), the arrogance of
the complete dump of the classic command bar, and the annoyance
of porting an add-in (about 85 home-grown functions, tools, and
shortcuts) to a new version. All the more so since the interface
is now defined, not in the project module itself, but in
handwritten XML in buggy CustomUIEditor.
|Shockingly painful to use. Amazingly disruptive to have
to stop work and search the internet for what use to be the most
trivial of operations. Gave it a go until the trial period
expired and then it was out the door. For the first time I am
glad I work for a company that is slow to transition to new
applications - I would really hate to be forced to use this. I
find Open Office to be a much easier transition from Excel 2003.
I see that there are 3rd party applications cropping up that
give Excel 2007 a more standard look and feel, but I can't see
paying a 3rd party to make a microsoft product usable.
|I am sure the Geeks that designed it love it. As a long
time power user of Exel, I find it a disaster. Why would anyone
scramble and hide user interface features that people spent
years getting used to unless it lead to a revolutionary new
product, which Excel 2007 sure isn't.
|The Ribbon was a horrible upgrade, right up there with
the annoying paperclip helper--but WORSE! So many users have
complained that someone has made a classic 2003 menu add-in for
Excel 2007. What a #@$*&@% relief!
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More Negative Opinions
About the Ribbon
|Trying Excel 07 is seriously a complete waste of time, as is
the times I tried Word 07. I will continue to use 97 and 2003. I
will never purchase another office suite until I can actually
use it to do work.
|my carpel tunnel issues have come back
because you have to click so many extras times to do what could
be done before in one click.
|Too much extra clicking, big goofy icons that waste work
space. It's a big unfortunate step backwards. What the hell were
|Intuitive ? - Definitely Not
Productive ?- No
It's a white elephant. Dump It
|Who ever came up with the ribbon idea should have their
[body part] sewn closed.
After using Excel 2007 for 15 months I can easily say the ribbon is pure
|The learning curve is too steep for us old timers.
Microsoft showed no regard for the time investment required to be a
power user of their products - their attitude seems to have been "Just
learn it all again and reprogramme all those physical memories that your
fingers have". No, I intend to stick with Office 2003 until I retire.
|Definitely slows me down. Adds extra steps that are
unnecessary. Cumbersome and ridiculous.
|What I hate - the inability to customize
ribbon bars, the bars change on their own, so repeated steps
that should use the same bar need to first click back to the
|I see no benefit - it takes me longer to find the command
that I have been using happily now for years, and then - horror
of horrors - some of the new versions don't convert back when
colleagues with 2003 open them - for example, conditional
formatting entered in 2007 and, properly saved as a 2003 file, is
INVISIBLE when opened in 2003! Why??
|There are many options which do not appear
to be included in the ribbon interface and I have to add them to
the "Quick access toolbar" which by the time I'm done adding
them is no longer quick.
|I didn't upgrade, but my son is using the new version for
school. I can never find anything! And all the icons dumb it
|in big worksheets you have to move up to
ribbon many times, again and again....... i hate it.....
|The ribbon was created by a programmer that had never had to
work against a deadline. The ribbon will make sure the word
efficiency and Microsoft Office will never be used in the same
|My time is too valuable to spend
multiple-clicking when one click used to do.
I have hidden the ribbon and put as much on the Quick Access
Toolbar as I can but it is still so very far behind what I used
As soon as I can finish with the >65k line report, I will be
back to good old Excel 2003!
The worst thing is that some keyboard shortcuts don't work
The new ribbon creates additional steps you must take in order
to do the same things that simple menus and toolbars allowed
in previous versions.
One of the lousiest ideas to ever come from Microsoft!
|When a company makes a drastic change to a
program's user interface they are forcing users to become less
productive; what business wants to do that.
We always appreciated the improved features of the latest
version of Excel. But now we are staying with Excel 2003.
It takes more time to do the same things than before
|"I wish Microsoft had an option that
allowed users to select the "Classic" menu bar instead of the
|"Have invested years in becoming quite proficient with
Excel / PPT, etc. Now I have to click and explore like a newbie
to do the things I can already do in my sleep. Doesn't make
sense. I bought Office 2003 and will stay with it until the
Classic UI returns."
I'm with those who are asking for the option of the old
menus, bring them back.
It took a while to get my head around it, and with nearly 1,000
users in this business, we are reviewing whether to even roll it
out. Office 2003 is more than sufficient for most users and the
lost productivity would cost $ Millions.
The toolbar-customization allowed in previous versions was a
much better model with which to enhance personal productivity.
The ribbon is the reason I stay with version 2003 despite the
improvements!!!!! I'm much more productive with Office 2003.
This appears to be a case of "change for sake of change" that
adds no benefit to using Excel. There wasn't anything wrong with
the old system that warranted such a drastic change.
It would have been nice to turn on a "Classic" look.
It impedes my ability to accomplish my job.
Large learning curve relative to the Classic menu. Too many
clicks to get where I need to go! And finally, it takes up too
much space and requires more time to do things. Who thought
these were GOOD ideas?
More clicking, more mouse movement.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
It may be good for new users but still I find that not all
options are adequately grouped and many things that the
customization features of the original toolbars are diminished.
Without ribbon: Copy and paste.
With ribbon: [Home], then Copy and Paste.
Ribbons force me to memorize the icons a lot, and many icons
are not easily recognizable, and it use more desktop space. I
really hate it !
Big changes like this to fundamental functionality should
come with an option to use the old version. It should be a
Change for the sake of change. Office 2007 apps have some
good new features that should have been implemented without a
change to the basic interface.
I'm missing custom toolbars.
Changing back to 2003, and staying there until I get my menus
Get rid of this f...ing thing I can't stand it!!!!!
Biggest dis-improvement which is a shame considering some of
the other improvements such as countifs
Hopefully they'll return to good old fashioned menus as quickly
I am absolutely livid.
Half the time I can't find anything. There are a number of
products out there to "fix" the interface by replacing the
ribbon with the old and more acceptable menus.
It's the single most useless "enhancement" since WIndows Me
I hate anything that takes away screen real-estate without
providing any real benefit.
Stupid ribbon. What was Microsoft thinking? At least offer a
Huge regression for experts which are lost. Maybe good for
It doesn't matter how many times you use the ribbon you can't
remember where functions are at from time to time. The layout it
I like some of the other improvements but the ribbon leaves me
After giving it chance I still feel strongly that the new UI is
a backward step.
I don't understand Microsoft strategy for advanced users,
this new ribbon is really bad for my productivity
I may just go 100% Linux now.
It is much too difficult to find what you need in the new
I used to use muscle memory to run commands. I didn't even
have to think where a command was. Now I can't find anything and
I have to relearn all of these shortcuts.
I hide it. I prefer the old style.
Counter-intuitive, confusing, illogical.
Removing toolbars was a huge mistake. I have ended up with a
lengthy Quick Access Toolbar.
We have an add in that replicates the old menu and it still
The ribbon is the biggest disincentive to using Excel 2007
They should provide an option to use the old menus if you
"Visually it is a blur with too much information.
Functionally it is too many mouse clicks to a command. Botom
line - JUNK!"
"A terrible change in Excel!!"
All my previous knowledge of time saving shortcuts to access
menu are now gone.
Show me a power user who likes the ribbon and I'll show you a
Are you kidding me, no option to use the old format. How dumb!
this sucks. I have to tabs 10 times every couple minutes.
Just want to keep doing my job, not goofing around with this
weird and cluttered GUI.
We have an office full of expert users and every one of us hates
the 2007 version.
It breaks Microsoft's own design guidelines for the Windows
interface ! What were they thinking ???
Idiotic, stupid, without any redeeming quality.
As usual, when they start messing around with a good product,
they change a simple task into a complex one
We have stayed away from Office 2007 because of the Ribbon's and
the learning curve that our end users would be required to deal
with in adapting to them.
I yet to find a person that works in the corporate arena
that likes the product.
Maybe MS can make a free plugin to remove the ribbon and use the
old menu system.
This is a major productivity killer.
Why should I have to relearn how to use a spreadsheet program?
I used to be able to access all my commands with one click as I
put all my common commands on screen - the ribbon has hidden
MS puts marketing ahead of productivity. Not a good choice. if I
had the option I would stick with 2003.
Excel 2007 is a total waste of time and productivity drainer.
Using the mouse too much is going to lead to carpal tunnel
About the Ribbon
|"Excel dinosaurs should just get over it and move forward
to Excel 2007. This is not like New Coke where the Coca Cola
company went back to the old recipe. You cannot protest your way
back to the old menuing system."
|"I absolutely love it... especially for charts. Having all the
options on screen at my fingertips is invaluable."
|"Once I took the time to work out how the Ribbon works across Office
2007, I found the Ribbon more intuitive to use and would hate to go back
|"All is well"
|"It does become easier with time."
"The Ribbon is like windows in the cabinet doors of your kitchen. So
much easier to see what is inside."
|"I think overall the Ribbon is better than menus and toolbars, particularly if you put all the commands you use more often on your
quick command menu and hide the Ribbon."
|"Its the same as any new version of
software , at the end of the day its a cosmetic change made by
the marketing dept at Microsoft. Keep using the ribbon &
it will soon become '2nd Nature'."
|"It is much more user friendly."
|"Most options are easier to find."
|"I agree that Excel 2007 takes some getting used to,
especially when you are very familiar with the 2003 menus. But
if you customize the "Quick Access Toolbar" at the top of the
page, it actually makes getting to menu items faster."
|"i did not like the ribbon much at
first because i was so used to the old menus. however, after
adjusting to the ribbon, i've found it to be far more effective.
it is now much easier to get to commonly used features and to
find less commonly used features that used to require a good
deal of menu browsing to find."
|"It took a little while to get used to, but now I really
|"Took me about 3 months to get used to
it, but now there is no going back!"
|"It took a little time to get used to the ribbon but now
I like it more, and with the quick access toolbar I can get to
things more quickly."
|It's easier for me to scroll to the command that I use. It
took me a little while to discover where all the commands were
carried off to. I wish I could add my own custom tabs to
organize things I like, but it seems impossible.
|its the best interface ever
|Took about a week to get used to the new ribbon, I find the
whole new interface a major improvement over the old one.
|It takes some getting used to but once you have trained
yourself how to use the ribbon it is really nice. I am surprised
that Microsoft did not give an option to select between tool
bars and the ribbon as an option though.
|The ribbon has made it much easier for me to find things. I
love it. The only bad part now is that if I have to help someone
who doesn't have office 2007 I have a hard time finding stuff on
|I think the ribbon is more intuitive. Everything is now a
short click away.
|The ribbon makes options visible that previously weren't
visible. Out of sight, out of mind. I find that I am now taking
advantage of more options and doing things faster than I had
|For someone who uses some tools (like Excel) only
periodically, the Ribbon is the greatest thing since sliced
bread - in most cases.
|Takes a little getting used to and for some things it's less
efficient but I find I use a lot more features of the product
with the Ribbon now that I can find them.
|Once I accepted that there was no going back and took the
time to learn where things were, it actually isn't that bad!
|Will take time to get used to, but should make me more
|Took some time getting used to it. Don't think it impacts
productivity much now.
|Ribbons are great for people just learning Excel. They put
advanced features in front of your face, so you are more aware
of them. But they should be user-modifiable. I remember the
first time I tried to insert a row with the mouse. I looked on
the insert ribbon, and couldn't find what I needed. That is very
Unfortunately, they've also made every Alt shortcut take more
keystrokes, which is very annoying. Alt + 3 keystrokes is the
max for easy memorization, I believe.
|Once you get over the initial shock, and find that you can
collapse the ribbon and put all your macros on the QAT, it's not
|I have both versions installed and for several months always
pulled up Classic unless I needed >65k rows. Now I always pull
up New and feel reasonably comfortable with it.
|The ribbon makes commands much easier to use. Especially the
Data Mining addin
|I like being able to have my tools a click away.
much more user friendly
Just had to go back to Office 2003. Yuck.
The ribbon has made much of my work in Excel smooth and easy.
Hopefully it's just a matter of getting used to it
Some options that I didn't have the idea how to use I found
out with the ribbon.
More functionality and great improvements
I customized the Quick Access Toolbar for 24 common tasks.
This was a great improvement in both saving time and a virtual
elimination of the learning curve. I am now exporting my quick
access menu to other users within the company.
ribbon is very good excle, i like it
I like the organization and that everything is group in
logical groupings. Plus you still have a toolbar which lets you
set up buttons manually, so what is the problem?
Very intuitive and easy to navigate.
|top of the world
Ribbon takes some getting used to -- maybe a week of looking up
stuff in help to find out where it went. Then it made sense. But
I love love LOVE the Quick Access Toolbar. I can now do most
tasks with a single click. So the first thing I do with anyone
who is frustrated with Excel 2007 is show them how to put there
favorites on the QAT and suddenly they are a happy camper.
For me the ribbon is a revolution
Going through a series of drop-down menus and pop-up windows
slows down productivity. Excel 2007 and the ribbon has increased
my productivty. Without question.
|The interface makes a previously clunky (albeit brilliant)
pecie of non-user friendly software much more in-line with it's
Mac OS GUI counterparts
|We have to assume that Microsoft will fix many of the
usability issues that people are complaining about in the next
version of Excel. Microsoft had no choice but to make a break
from the past because the menu system was fundamentally flawed
and could no longer scale.
|As a medium-high user of Excel, the Ribbon is great
because it reveals features that I didn't even know existed in
Excel. I would say that MS could have done longer-term users a
favor to allow them to choose the old format instead.
|IMHO the more you know about excel, the more likely you
are to use those "seldom used" items, and thus more likely to
have to hunt for them in 2k7. Even after getting used to it, I
still find myself hunting for this or that rare item.
|now that I've used it a couple years I really like it.
|Looks like you've got a few people making a lot of ruckus
over something that is striking at their pride of Excel power.
|I love the ribbon and being able to use the scroll wheel to
get to commands - or use short-cuts like in the old Excel - it's
like a new hybrid - great idea!
|Looks like you've got a few people making a lot of ruckus
over something that is striking at their pride of Excel power.
|I love the ribbon and being able to use the scroll wheel to
get to commands - or use short-cuts like in the old Excel - it's
like a new hybrid - great idea!
|It some getting used to, but once you do you will
never want to go back.