Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I HATE Microsoft Excel And That Darn Ribbon!

Whew! There! I said it! I just had to get that off of my chest. I'm so sick of the ribbon that I could cry. I have long since abandoned Microsoft Office in favor of Open Office because of the ribbon and the decrease in productivity I had from having to search for things that were no longer where they should be. However, I'm currently working on a project with a company that uses Excel and I absolutely can't stand it! From a user perspective, why on EARTH would Microsoft think that it was a good idea to FORCE people to relearn how to use Excel, Word and all of the other Office items that now use the Ribbon WITHOUT PROVIDING A WAY TO SEE THINGS USING THE CLASSIC VIEW? The Office products are now such crap that I absolutely refuse to use them unless I'm forced to. I don't have the time to hunt and peck to find what I need. I don't have the time to click through mind numbing icons that don't mean crap to me when I need to go to File/Save. Why would ANYONE think that an icon based menu would be better than words? Why would ANYONE WHO ISN'T HIGH OR DRUNK think that removing ALL of the words in favor of pics would be OK with everyone. I can't stand it! I wish that I could get that ONE GUY or GIRL who came up with the ribbon idea and give that person a good thrashing!

Or.......maybe I'll quit my ranting and raving and just go develop a classic menu for Excel myself. Darn, if only I had the time! Microsoft, I'm really upset with you for this. Using MS Office used to be quick and efficient. Now, using it means hunting for the things I want to do and resting my mouse pointer over things to figure out if something is what I want. I spent 3 minutes trying to find the word count feature before I finally just went online to a word count website and used that tool instead! How is that better than what we had with the classic menu? You can't tell me that I'm alone here.

I KNOW I'm not alone. Productivity With MS Office - WAY DOWN! Frustration Level - WAY WAY UP!!!



Anonymous said...

I hate it too. It is so non-intuitive that I cannot function. Been an excel user since 1986 and now CANNOT STAND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How stupid is Microsoft. HATE HATE HATE HATE it. Just spent 10 minutes looking for the outline button and still can't find how to move the minus sign to the top of the bar. It used to be simple. What about the main menu titles? "Data" WTF? Everything I put in the sheet is data> What if I want to insert data? Do I go to Insert or Data? What happened to the drawing tools? Always a weak spot, but did they have to make it worse? I could go on for a day. Thanks for letting me rant though.

Kila Morton said...

OMG! You know I feel your pain! The worse thing is that Microsoft is starting to integrate the ribbon into everything! I absolutely cannot stand it!

Tudor Banea said...

I'm sorry but it isn't Microsoft fault if you cannot work your way around a program. If anything, I would blame Microsoft for making their amazingly powerful application so easily accessible to any user of any skill level. The moment an application has the ability to run a million-dollar company all on its own, I believe it should come with some training before you even open the program. It isn't your fault either if you find it frustration, but you must understand that the program is of a much higher caliber than other more user-friendly applications, and must therefore cater to a more knowledgeable user. It's not going to scale down its complexity to appeal to those at-home moms who just want to enter their recipes or how many times the twins have been fed. It must never make that compromise. You should rather take some basic intro classes on how to use it.

And to address your ribbon frustration, the new interactive and context-specific ribbon is simply following a web 2.0 trend and keeping up with the general status-quo of today's programming.

What the fellows at Microsoft could have done though, is moved toward this method much earlier (2003). It allowed users to get accustomed to a terrible layout that simply won't cut it anymore, and now these users aren't able to adapt. By the way, Excel is worshipped by some 95% of professionals using it. Worshipped, not just "liked". There must be a reason other than "massive domination" that every single business in the world uses it.

If you need help learning it, and finally transforming those headaches into smiles, simply let me know, I would gladly get you there.

(Now Access... That's another story!... feel free to hate that...)


Kila Morton said...

@Tudor, thank you for your passionate comment. First of all, the issue is NOT that I, or anyone else for that matter, don't know how or can't figure out how to use the software. The issue is that Microsoft had a VERY established user base BEFORE they changed the software! I'm a software engineer and, as any good software engineer will tell you, you don't radically change a user interface that people are familiar with and KNOW well without having a mighty good reason for it! Just so we are clear, I have a vast body of experience with the MS Office suite. My development experience includes designing entire applications for clients using VB Script and Excel, designing custom plug-ins for Office programs using VBScript and being a Microsoft certified MOUS (which is something that I stopped talking about after becoming an MCP :-) because the acronym is kind of just awful!).

Not liking the user interface to a piece of software and not wanting to take the time to figure out the new ribbon is a very big difference from not being ABLE to understand it. I can understand it, but I, ALONG WITH MANY OTHER PEOPLE, don't want to! I simply don't want to invest the time in learning where everything is on the ribbon. I consider it unnecessary and a wasteful use of my screen real estate - ESPECIALLY given the fact that Open Office hasn't changed its interface and Google docs hasn't changed theirs. Familiarity breeds love and many people are more familiar with the classic view (File/Edit/....). The user-base for Office extends far beyond Mom's trying to enter their recipes. I don't even think I know stay at home Mom's who use Office for their recipes. Word was the program of choice for a lot of businesses because it was so clear anyone could use it. Adding in all of the pictures and removing the clear menu structure sent a lot of people to Google Docs AND Open Office. There was a plug in that could switch a user back to the classic menu, but that plug in was discontinued. If you do a search on the Ribbon and people's feelings about it, you will see what I mean. Tudor it isn't just me. MANY people don't and didn't like the change.

So Tudor, I understand that you love Microsoft products. I do too, however, their decision to radically change the product to ONLY use the ribbon and NOT include a classic view was a flawed decision. I personally know of several companies that were on the brink of using Google docs for business before the ribbon and then the ribbon pushed them over the edge. I personally now use Google docs and Open Office. There are times when I do still use Word if I get a document in Word whose formatting is off when I open it in Open Office, but I simply don't like the layout. Microsoft is ALSO enforcing this layout in other programs. I don't like that either. The Ribbon is a waste of space in my opinion. Give me clear, concise WORDS and that would make me happy. Get rid of all the stupid pictures that I don't mentally associate with anything and give me back the WORDS! There was NOTHING wrong with File/Edit/ etc! It was to the point and concise. The Ribbon simply isn't. Pictures, in this case, are not a good substitute for words.

Microsoft wasn't keeping up with something new with that Ribbon. They were reinventing the wheel. They didn't do a very good job. Excel is used by a lot of people. However, it was used by even more prior to the switch over to the Ribbon. The reason it was used by so many was and is because it is a good program. I would NEVER say it wasn't. However, the Ribbon itself is a different story. It is and was simply a poorly designed item, in my opinion, and it does NOTHING to add to the usefulness of the program. It is distracting, too big, not pretty and not helpful. It also is NOT as friendly to people with disabilities as the old menu!

Kila Morton said...

Those are my feelings Tudor. The beautiful thing is that we are ALL entitled to our opinions. I wish you the best with Office. I love Google docs now and I love Open office. I still use Excel if I have some crazy complex spreadsheet. However, those other programs have stolen my heart. Maybe Microsoft will try to win my heart back. Maybe not. Either way, I now have great free programs that allow me to take my documents from my home, to my office, to my tablet, to my laptops and on to my phone! LIFE is grand! Microsoft still has the bulk of my heart with SQL Server and Visual Studio.

Anonymous said...

I just hate ribbons. That's it. Hate it.

Anonymous said...

Ribbons ... the worst decision Microsoft ever made. What where they thinking? Here's what they got ... a formerly loyal, MS Office-loving user base looking for alternatives! Shame on you Microsoft ... you should have known your customers better!

Anonymous said...

DETEST the ribbon. What an amazing waste of my time.

Anonymous said...

The concept ofn the ribbon is good. It is the fact that each workbook has its own ribbon that I find screamingly annoying. If you only need to see 3 columns on your workbook, you still have to expand it to full screen size to see ALL the basic things under the Home tab. I often work between two spreadsheets at the same time, and to have an individual ribbon for each one just makes me nuts, I have to make the one workbook full-size to see all I need on the ribbon, then have to shrink it to work on the second one, etc. Why can't they just have ONE ribbon at the top so when you switch between workbooks you can just have the one, full-screen width ribbon

Anonymous said...

I hate the ribbon, but I hate more that I see NO benefit in the changes Excel 2010 brought for what I need. I suspect Microsoft created this glitch only to have buyers (actually victims) look forward to the NEXT upgrade, ensuring further sales.