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What would you like to see in Microsoft Office 15?

Today brings the news that Microsoft Office 15 is now in Technical Preview (also known as private beta).

There is little news about what is in it other than this:

With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio.

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So what would you like to see in Office 15? Here are a few things on my wish list:

  1. Properly integrate SharePoint (and therefore Office 365) with Windows so that you can use it easily without ever opening a web browser. That might mean fixing SharePoint WorkSpace or doing something better, like Explorer integration without the various hassles associated with WebDAV.
  2. Fix Outlook, or better still replace it. I hear many complaints about Outlook, either concerning its performance, or else one of its many annoyances such as how hard it is to reply to an email while quoting sections of the original message – astonishing, when you consider the maturity of the product.
  3. Improve cross-platform support. Office on the Mac is poor compared to the Windows version, particularly in terms of performance. It is also time Microsoft came out with apps for iOS and Android for touch-friendly document editing.
  4. Update the user interface for touch control as far as possible. This will be critical for Windows 8 tablets, especially on ARM.
  5. Improve structured document editing in Word. Styles are hard to use, so are bullets and numbering. I tend not to use the paragraph numbering in Word because it is so fiddly and annoying.

The problem is that Office is a huge and intricate bag of legacy. The work Microsoft did in replacing the menus with ribbon toolbars was admirable in its way, and potentially more touch-friendly, but if you scratch the surface much is unchanged underneath. All the old commands remain.

Related posts:

  1. Linux users will need a Microsoft Office license to use Office Web Apps
  2. Microsoft financials: Office and server dominate as Windows falters
  3. Office Web Apps better then Open Office for .docx on Linux
  4. Microsoft warns against installing 64-bit Office 2010 unless you really need it
  5. Microsoft Office 365: the detail and the developer story

3 comments to What would you like to see in Microsoft Office 15?

  • Clyde Davies

    Amen to all of that. I’d also like to see some decent threaded conversation support in Outlook so I can see exactly who has said what and when.

  • Rohn

    – change the HTML rendering engine in Outlook. Right now it is effectively IE 6
    WORD 2007 HTML AND CSS RENDERING CAPABILITIES IN OUTLOOK 2007 – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa338201%28v=office.12%29.aspx

    – The text “Highlight” feature. Make it use the full color range that all other features have access to.

    – Options dialogs. Make all of the label text fully searchable. I know the options, I often don’t know exactly where it is so I have to play hide and seek.

    – provide FULL descriptions of functionality enabled by each OPTION. This could be provided online at MS website. IS doable for V15.

    In Word Options, there are several Option categories like “general”, “display”, “Proofing”. and then there is a catch-all category called “advanced”. Many of the categories have additional options under “Advanced”. Pull all of those options out of Advanced to the cateogories. Pull more of the large sub sections in “Advanced” out as separate categories. In particular the “Compatibility” / “Layout Options” sub section

    – Create a “2003 Menu” tab

    – make the compiled help file more complete and tune the search. Often the information is there, but does not appear when you search for it.

    – tune the web search for help. When the web search option is enabled the search often returns totally irrelevant results.

    – bundle the search tool with the default installation
    Search Command Addon – 2007 & 2010 http://www.officelabs.com/projects/searchcommands/Pages/default.aspx

  • Rohn

    If they make the mistake of making the UI touch enabled, MAKE SURE the menu/ribbon option is still available. Complete replacement of menu with ribbon gooey was a mistake I hope they won’t repeat. While the ribbon and touch may be more effective in specific situations, they are not necessarily the best for a desktop. So let us continue to use teh desktop as we have for years.

    The ribbon is the Transformer “Gooey” for the A.D.D generation!