Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Office 2007 and "personalised" menus

Just when you thought the Office interface overhaul was making sense, with incredible attention paid to simple details, here's a reminder of why we need it. To find commands in an application, they need to be arranged logically and consistently. They need to be in the same place on the menu every day for muscle memory to get you there quickly. They need to always be in the same place on every PC so you can easily give directions to people. That's why personalized menus in Office are so annoying, as I was reminded just now when i installed OneNote 2007 beta 1 on a Tablet PC and saw far less on the menus than I was expecting. Personalized menus might work if they turned on after six months, when the application could really know what features you use, but by then you'd know where to look for things without feeling that the other options were in the way anyway. or they'd work if the PC was psychic. Or if you were the mythical 'standard user'. As it is, they're confusing for novices, irritating for power users and on the way out in 2007 Office. They don't apply for apps with the ribbon interface; the question is will they still be on by default in the other applications like OneNote and Outlook, or will they finally vanish into the oblivion they deserve?

And it's Tools > Customize > Options> Always show full menus to get rid of the irritation.
Tags: design, interface, office, office 12, office 2007, personalized menus, rant, technology

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