Customizing Office 2007 UI

I missed this awhile back I think (it was actually about one year ago). Jensen Harris has a great post on customizing the Ribbon.

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It has some parts I find amusing:

There were downsides for normal users as well. When we go on site visits to watch people use Office 97-2003 in their place of business, we often find that Office has been ravaged by the effects of accidental customization.

*ET:* I do love the use of the word “ravaged.”

The accidental part is true enough. I see that too often and frequently have to explain how to move toolbars, how to turn toolbars on and off, and how to find buttons that are “missing.” The Reviewing toolbar and Header & Footer toolbars are the big ones.

* In fewer than 2% of sessions, the program was running with customized command bars.

* Of the 2% of sessions with customizations present, 85% included customization of four or fewer commands.

In my experience, 98% of law firms (at least those I visit) include customizations, and more than 85% include four or more customized commands. I’m excluding all third-party macro packages, of course.

They created the Quick Access Toolbar to make it easier for users to take advantage of customizing the Office applications.

The Quick Access Toolbar is designed to make it easy to add controls, galleries, and groups from anywhere in the Ribbon: just right-click the thing you want to add and choose “Add to Quick Access Toolbar” from the context menu…

We also paid close attention to common customizations in Office 2003, making sure that commands are organized together for maximum efficiency. This helps to further reduce the need for customization.

In the legal environment, that doesn’t help us. If anything, it makes our job of customizing Office that much more important. In addition to Word, we’ll need to tackle the other Office apps most likely.

Thankfully, we now have RibbonX.

That said, the last two items on the list will be of interest for expert users who are craving more control over customizing Ribbon content. RibbonX, which has been written about in this space many times, provides an XML interface for describing Ribbon content, including repurposing built-in controls and groups.

Additional resources:

* The Office UI Bible
* RibbonCustomizer
* Patrick Schmid’s blog, especially the RibonX Portal. (Patrick is a Microsoft MVP)

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