Office 2007 – at least three different looks?

Now we’ve been told about the fantastic Ribbon for so long… somehow I expected to find it everywhere (and I actually like it, but that’s a different topic). Outlook doesn’t have it though – are there not enough menu entries and toolbar buttons in Outlook to warrant the Ribbon? Then again, one look at the Outlook Options dialog tells me that the UI improvement team skipped this application… it’s as ugly and confusing as ever.

Outlook at least recognizes the theming setting I made in another Office application and comes up in sexy Vista grey, even though I’m on Windows XP. OneNote, on the other hand, doesn’t have a Ribbon either – although it’s got a menu bar, 9 toolbars with around 130 buttons in total – and it doesn’t even do theming. So we have at least (I’m sure I’m missing something) three different looks throughout Office 2007.

Onenote-window  Outlook-window  Word-window

If you ask me, this has always been one big problem for Office: the fact that the various components were so horribly different, in many ways. They looked different, they felt different… it’s always been like that, unless you stayed with Word and Excel. I think it would be a really good move for MS to work over the UIs of all the Office applications. I would assume that somewhere in a four year development cycle there should be room for this.

Update: Hehe… I hadn’t even noticed yet, but actually most of the windows in Outlook do have Ribbons – just the main window doesn’t. Now if that’s not intuitive 🙂

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