Office 15: Let the feature requests begin

Office 15: Let the feature requests begin

Summary: Planning is already underway for the next release of Microsoft's productivity suite,known as Office 15, as a December 3 blog post on the Microsoft Access Team Blog site makes clear. The Access database team is soliciting input regarding new kinds of SQL Server support that Access customers would like to see by the time the Office 15 release ships.


The same way that folks were champing at the bit for Windows 8 news even before Windows 7 was done, there's interest about what's coming next for Office 2010's successor, codenamed "Office 15."

Unsurprisingly, the planning is already underway for the next release of Microsoft's productivity suite, as a December 3 blog post on the Microsoft Access Team Blog site makes clear. The Access database team is soliciting input regarding new kinds of SQL Server support that Access customers would like to see by the time the Office 15 release ships.

From the post by Program Manager Greg Lindhorst:

"As Office 2010 nears shipping, we are starting to plan Office 15.  One area that we are considering improving is our SQL Server support.  Based on what I've heard from the community, that would be most welcome.  Note that we are very early in planning, and considering many possible areas of investment, I unfortunately can't commit to any actual improvements at this time."

Lindhorst requested feedback about specific SQL Server features Access users need to access (no pun intended). Lindhorst asked for more information on which features in Access that target SQL Server are falling short of users' needs today, as well as for input on which SQL Server features aren't currently exposed to Access users that would be useful.

Access is slated to be part of the Office 2010 Professional and Professional Plus releases.

Office 2010, codenamed "Office 14" will be available by June, Microsoft officials have acknowledged. Microsoft recently delivered a public beta of several Office 2010 SKUs, including the client version, SharePoint Server 2010, Office Web Apps and Office Mobile 2010. On December 3, Microsoft officials said that testers had downloaded 1 million copies of the Office 2010 public beta.

This latest mention of Office 15 is not the first. Blogger Stephen Chapman unearthed a mention from a Microsoft SharePoint blogger in September, which also noted that Office 15 would likely be a 2013 deliverable. (I'm betting that is a worst-case deadline and we might see Office 15 by the end of 2012, but who knows?)

Topics: Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Data Centers, Data Management, Microsoft, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Office will be rolled into Windows.

    And documents will be server based.
    • Wrong

      That will never happen
    • Wha... ???

      Have you been asleep whilst the EC went absolutely batshit over Internet Explorer being included in Windows?
      Hallowed are the Ori
      • No, they didn't.

        They went "batshit" over the [i]way[/i] Microsoft integrated IE into
        Windows in response to a complaint by Opera.
  • "Simplicity mode"

    A number of years ago Corel or Novell put out a stripped-down version of WordPerfect for home use, but it didn't catch on. One of the major problems with Office is "feature bloat". MS should offer a "simplicity mode" interface option with only the major features.

    For instance, the majority of Word users don't usually use more than justification, bold/italics/underline/normal, select front face and size, margins, page numbering, first-line indent and a handful of other features. Even power users don't routinely use all the bells and whistles.

    Related to that, put back the Classic Menus as an option. The problem with the "Office fluent" ribbon concept is that [b][i]nobody[/i][/b] routinely uses [b][i]all[/i][/b] the features. Having to hunt through a bunch of hieroglyphics is a pain in the butt. It's also a HUGE pain when trying to write out step-by-step instructions. (Luckily, we still use Office 2003 at work, so that hasn't been a problem there.)

    I know all the whiners about "people need to leave archaic interfaces". But that's just not realistic. Reality is that most companies--especially SMALL businesses--provide little or no training. And whether "techies" like it or not, employers don't want staff spending hours on company time exploring all the features. And they're just not gonna do it at home. What makes an interface obsolete is that it can't perform its function reasonably well, not whether it uses icons or ribbons or text or menus. Plenty of programs have used toolbars for over a decade. But they add them as options, not replacements for traditional menus.
    • It's called

      Home and Student Editions.

      You only need Word? Maybe just Excel? Buy only the versions you need. $108.99 each

      Or you could always used WordPad, which is way better in Windows 7.

      You could also get Standard for $339 Retail (209 for upgrade, which the majority of users out there qualify for). Since it takes 3-4 years per release, you're looking at about $9 a month for Office. That isn't too bad. Seeing as you write your term papers, create invoices, make powerpoint presentations, check your email, create appointments, balance your budget, and more.
      • Not the point

        The different versions of Office just have different members of the office family bundled together. Buy just Word does not get you a "simplicity mode" which would be a simple version of Word not Word bundled with fewer other products. That's the point.

        I think it was somewhere around Word 97 that it had every "feature" I would ever need.
        • That's office starter or office web nt

      • Win7 WordPad is a joke

        WordPad *used to be* a usable word processor
        substitute, and I would often use it to open
        documents that MS Word told me were corrupted
        or otherwise inaccessible, but now it's merely
        a juiced up version of Notepad. I feel cheated
        by Office 2007 because of all the great Office
        2003 features (e.g., the toolbar icon editor--
        only one of many, though) MS ripped untimely
        from the UI. I noticed that the price of MS
        Office 2007 did fall despite the serious
        reduction in features compared with Office
        2003. I wish these office suites were modular.
        I used to complain that MS Office was
        bloatware, but now I miss the bloat: there were
        some great options hidden amongst the garbage.
        • Huh?

          Wordpad was, is and always will be a very, very, VERY lightweight "wordprocessor". It's file format support was always limited to text, RTF, and, in the past, some Word 6.0 documents.

          Wordpad had enormous problems correctly rendering Word 6.0 docs and generally caused more bother than it was worth because it confused users into thinking that there was something wrong with the doc when it was actually Wordpad that was unable to render the doc correctly.

          If you want to view Word docs, you should be using the free Word document viewer anyhow.

          In exchange for dropping WordPad's poor support for old Word 6.0 docs, in Win7's Wordpad, MS added support for ODF and OpenXML docs. This, to me, more than makes up for dropping support for an old doc format for which I need to use a separate viewer anyhow.

          To your other point:

          Care to share with us what multitude of features MS cut from Office 2007 that you're heavily dependent on?

          If the extent of your displeasure is that they removed an Icon editor, one might think that perhaps you're being a little silly - there are FAR better icon editors out there.
    • Maybe it's called...

      Open Office.

      Alright, alright, let's just calm down everybody.

      My point is it has a simple to use interface, even for the uninitiated. And if we forget, for the moment, the argument of weather or not it is mature/stable, it has a nice feature set with a clean layout.

      Oh yeah, it's free.

      Just thought I'd stir the pot a bit.
      • ... and it regularly corrupts presentations ...

        ... and it isn't fully compatible with Word
        ... and it isn't fully compatible with Excel
        ... and it isn't fully compatible with Access

        OO is an okay product. However, it's future looks pretty bleak with Sun imploding as they are. Not sure Larry is goign to continue to foot the bill to find HIS developers working on a product that Oracle doesn't earn money from.
    • Office interface - The Ribbon is good!

      Previous post said:
      The problem with the "Office fluent" ribbon concept is that nobody routinely uses all the features. Having to hunt through a bunch of hieroglyphics is a pain in the butt.

      I disagree. I didn't like the Ribbon at first either, until circumstances forced me to use it.
      Guess what? It took about 15 minutes to watch a tutorial that explains the overall concept. It took about 30 minutes of frustration until I got used to it.
      I would now be unwilling to go back to the old menu sytem. As far as how to write instructions, just read a couple of help files from MicroSoft. The examples will show you how.
  • RE: Office 15: Let the feature requests begin

    I want facial recognition!

  • RE: Office 15: Let the feature requests begin

    As it stands Office is brilliant! The way the UI is developing is
    pleasing. The only thing that needs fixing is Excels accuracy.
    It's useless for any meaningful application of statistical
    analysis, and has been since at least Excel 97.
  • Extra line breaks in this message were removed

    Outlook has this feature where I open up an e-mail and it helpfully states that "Extra line breaks from this message were removed" and the e-mail is displayed as a jumbled mess.

    I really wish I could make this feature go away since it doesn't work. At least make it an option in Office 15!
  • RE: Office 15: Let the feature requests begin

    My 2 cents worth....

    It seems that the discussion on this topic is directed to the corporate and or business user that require the functionality of the latest and greatest release of the MS Office suite. What we seem to forget is that the general population... ?The Home User? ? does not need all the bells and whistles. Not to mention the knowledge to utilize them. Most are happy just to know how to turn on a computer. In addition most home users cannot afford the hefty price of a full version copy of MS Office...never mind the price of the 60 day trial-ware that comes bundled. I do not think an average housewife that wants to write out a shopping list, or author a recipe to share will justify the cost associated with even the less expensive versions of office.

    My point is there are free versions of ?office Suites? that will do more than what an average user will utilize. Not to mention they are compatible with Word, Excel, etc. But with that said if the average user wants to get all the bells and whistles they have the option to purchase MS Office. And I agree...MS should create a no-cost version of Word & Excel that will do everything that a Free office suite can do.
    Oops my bad they already do, but it's not free!

    By the way I typed this out in ?OpenOffice Writer? and yes it spell checked everything, allowed me to justify left, let me find and replace text, checked my punctuation, change the font and size (but you will not see that in this post) and allowed me to save this in a WORD compatible format, and OpenOffice is FREE!

  • VBA and Access: Make them user friendly

    Some of us need customized apps/programming/functions.

    VBA is just so so difficult (yea, i'm not a programmer; i'm just an intense computer user; and yes, i'm trying to learn and use VBA--total pain).

    How about provide a way to do VBA using standard menu commands (plus vba specific programming but making those easier to use). The program would do the vba programming based on this. Long ago--Word had a programmer that matched what you did to the menus. Bring it back.
  • My Requests.......

    Office 2007 and from what I have seen of Office 2010 they STINK.
    I would like to see a move back to the "CLASSIC" menue's as they are in Office 2003, which we use.
    If MS want to retain their client base the they must start listening to the users/clients both home and large (small business and corporate).
    WIN7 suffers from the same problem NO "CLASSIC".

    They should at least be an OPTION to allow those what have set their business to standard "CLASSIC".
    • Quite the opposite

      For users that agree to share their usage information, Microsoft gathers a lot of telemetry about which Office features are used. They have also performed inumerable live usability tests with people who have no/little experience of Office, experience of Office prior to 2007 and "pro" users of Office prior to 2007.

      Their numbers clearly illustrate that the VAST majority of users use FAR more of Office's features in Office 2007 than users of previous versions do, they find the features quicker and find them FAR more intuitively than digging into several menu trees and dialogs.

      For me, hover-over formatting preview alone is a massive time-saver.

      Part of the reason for this is that Office 2007's features are FAR more discoverable via the new menuing system vs. trying to find features hidden in dialogs buried under collapsing menus.

      YOU may not like Office 2007's new menu system, but MOST Office 2007 users do.