Softies launch virtual suggestion box for improving Microsoft Office

Softies launch virtual suggestion box for improving Microsoft Office

Summary: A Microsoft product planner on the Office team has created a new Web site, MakeOfficeBetter.com, which allows any person to submit a suggested fix or feature for Office.

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Every week, I get at least a couple of e-mail messages asking me to "tell Microsoft" to add Fix X or Feature Y to Windows, Office or another of its products. (Mostly, the requests are about Windows and Office.)

I hate to admit it, but I don't have any more pull with Microsoft's development and planning teams than you, readers. (And if you work for a big Microsoft shop, your feedback and input has a lot more weight than mine.)

That said, frustrated users, take heart. Microsoft product planner on the Office team has created a new Web site, MakeOfficeBetter.com, which allows any person to submit a suggested fix or feature for Office. Registered visitors can add and vote for features that they'd like to see added to some future rendition of the product.

Product planner Steve Zaske and his cohort, coder Luke Foust, set expectations right off the bat about what feedback submitted there will and won't do:

"We're two Microsoft employee's looking to collect customer ideas on how to improve Microsoft Office. If you've got a new feature idea or an idea on how to improve Microsoft Office, please share it here...and vote on other ideas you agree with. Through the magic of crowd-sourcing the best ideas should rise to the top.

"Although we are employed by Microsoft, this is not an official Microsoft website. You should not expect an official response from Microsoft by posting an idea here, but we'll do our best to get the ideas posted here in front of the right people within the Office development team."

There are a few suggestions on the site already, ranging from improving the RSS Reader in Outlook (I'd vote for that), to making Excel documents work like Word documents. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly, given Zaske is a member of the Office team), I don't see any suggestions for allowing users to circumvent the Office Ribbon.

Even though Microsoft has yet to deliver the first widescale test build of Office Web Apps or the first public beta of Office 2010, I'd be surprised if any of these suggestions make it into Office 2010. The Office team's philosophy, for quite some time now, has been to lock down the bulk of Office before testers get their hands on it... But maybe you'll have luck with Office 2012+.

(Thanks to Softie Scott Hanselman for the tip about the new site.)

Topics: Software, CXO, Collaboration, Microsoft

About

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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11 comments
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  • Office Word

    My suggestion: Lose the lame ribbon.
    ITOdeed
    • Make it open standards compliant.

      They should also make it work with open standards.

      The other thing to do would be make it compatible with international standards.

      What? Oh, they're not listening ...
      fr0thy2
    • No thanks

      I like the ribbon. It took me a couple of days to get use to it and then a couple more to get to like it. After a few weeks, it was starting to annoy me that I had to switch back to the 2003 version of Word on my home computer. I liked the ribbon so much that I went and bought Office for my home computer so that I'd have the ribbon there as well.

      I wouldn't go back.
      JessMeats
  • Haha. Love the pic.

    Looks like you're trying to type a reply. Would you like help?

    - Yes. I would like help.
    - No. Just continue with the reply.

    - Do not show again.

    Seriously though, a little piece of me misses that little guy. Nice to see the him somewhat hidden in the pic. Who says MS doesn't have a sense of humor?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • MaryJo, it's there now

    [i]Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly, given Zaske is a member of the Office team), I don?t see any suggestions for allowing users to circumvent the Office Ribbon.[/i]

    http://makeofficebetter.com/Office/12

    Allow users to choose the 2003 menu instead of the "Ribbon". Yes, there are many new features in Office 2007/2010, however they could easily be included in the original menu structure. This provides an alternative for those who don't want to spend hours and days learning and customizing the Ribbon...


    I didn't post that, but I had every intention of posting that same idea if it wasn't there already.
    mgp3
    • Luddites, I say!

      Luddites, everyone of you Ribbon naysayers!

      ;)
      Confused by religion
    • I was wondering if the "Kill the Ribbon" option might get a mention

      Yes, there it is. Thanks for letting me know. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Lots of them

        If you type "ribbon" in the search field on the site you'll see many duplicate submissions as well.
        jlongino@...
      • I wish I understood

        The hate towards the Ribbon. I personally love it and since using it, discovered things I never even knew Office was capable of doing.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Softies launch virtual suggestion box for improving Microsoft Office

    Anybody who suggests No Ribbon is wrong. Everyone that I have met that hated the ribbon took a while sometimes months to like the new Ribbon style but now they like it so much better than the menu system. And Microsoft made it even better in the next version - now you can alter the ribbon and create your own ribbon tabs.
    Djblois
  • I will fire them...

    A "Google" logo in the login page??? OMG If I were Steve Ballmer, those guys will be dismissed the day after.
    disparates