January 15, 2007
Finding the Electronic Furniture in Office 2007
As anyone who starts using Office 2007 likely knows, one of the more dramatic changes is the elimination of traditional menus and toolbars. These have been replaced with what Office calls the Ribbon. The short explanation of this new user interface is that more commands are displayed at a time without having to hunt through various submenus, dialogs and toolbars.
While the Office team has done work to try and support Office 2003 hotkeys through a method that let's you type those keys and have them still work, commands themselves have been completely rearranged. For example if I remember that in Office 2003 the hotkey sequence to bring up the Paragraph Format dialog was alt+o,p, I can still press this sequence. However if I only remember that a particular feature I use was located on a certain menu, then it is a bit of an exploration expedition to find the new location.
The Office Online pages have some very handy documents to assist with this challenge. For each Office 2007 application that had an Office 2003 equivalent, there is an article explaining the new UI. Better yet each article has a link to an Excel workbook that lists each menu and toolbar from the Office 2003 version of the program and explains where to find the equivalent command in Office 2007. My Paragraph Format command for example can now be found on the ribbon under Home | Paragraph | Dialog Box Launcher.
Here are links to the articles and the Excel workbooks for the three Office programs I use the most, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
January 7, 2007
Accessible Currency Update
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, at least one U.S. court has said that our currency needs to be made more accessible. Since that time things have heated up a bit.
The treasury department has appealed the court decision largely on what the treasury department sees as the cost of making currency accessible.
But in their petition to the appeals court, government lawyers argued that varying the size of denominations could cause significant burdens on the vending machine industry and cost the Bureau of Engraving and Printing an initial investment of $178 million and $37 million to $50 million in new printing plates.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has sided with the government in the appeal of the court ruling on accessible currency. The NFB's position is outlined in an editorial that ran in the New York Times.