Screenshots of Office 12 Hint at Radical Interface Revamp

    September 17, 2005

ZDNet has some tantalizing screenshots of the radically improved user interface in the next release of Microsoft Office.

Apparently version 12 won’t be delivered for a few more years yet, so there’s a good chance the new interface isn’t locked in.

Still, it’s exciting to see MS totally rethink the same old “File | Edit | View” menu nonsense that has infected all Windows applications for the past 20 years.

The new interface will not be as common across Office apps as all current and previous versions were. Instead, they will be task-oriented and specific to each Office app. In other words, the interface for Word will be much more tailored to a word-processing program, and Excel’s interface will be geared toward spreadsheet tasks.

Let’s hope when Vista is finally delivered next year, it will mark a new era in usable interfaces. Microsoft has a chance to get it right at last and at the same time influence a new generation of apps designed for end users and not software developers.

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Cory Kleinschmidt is co-founder of, which offers a unique analysis of search engine and eBusiness trends. As Webmaster of Traffick, he designed the site, and continues to maintains it and contributes informative articles for webmasters and internet professionals.