Friday, October 07, 2005

Office 12's MinBar

Office 12 is undergoing a major face-lift in it’s next release.  Due out next year, Office 12 will look a lot different from the Office you’re used to.  Word, for example, has over 1200 user commands available.  But the limits of the “traditional” menubar/dropdown limits user commands to about 120.  Microsoft is trying to deliver more power with less effort, few key strokes and less mouse travel. In this post below, one of my favorite bloggers, Marc Orchant, points this out.

Office 12 MiniBarJensen Harris posts today about the Office 12 MiniBar - an in context formatting toolbar in the new version of Office. This looks like a terrific innovation in user interface and should svae miles of mouse travel to make a quick format change to a selection. Jensen writes:

“When you select text in Office 12, the MiniBar appears “ghosted” above the text you selected.  If you move closer to the MiniBar, it fades in and becomes a miniature toolbar you can use to apply Bold, Italic, Font Size, Color, etc.  As you move the pointer away from the edge of the MiniBar, it fades away to nothing.  So, if you don’t want to use the MiniBar on selection, just move your cursor a few pixels away and it dismisses.”

There’s a small (under 1 MB) movie linked from Jensen’s post that shows the MiniBar in action.

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