My favorite new feature is the Ribbon. Features that used to be hidden in a series of multi-step menus are now visible and organized by Tabs, which are easy-to-understand categories. Within each Tab are Group divisions to further organize features. Popular functions are represented by big icons, and features that used to be challenging are now ever so easy with things like one-click options. Let me highlight a few options:
- The task formatting you do every day, such as bold anditalics, is on the left side where it’s easy to access.
- Decide if you’re planning the schedule or just thinking with the easy to choose task mode icons Manually Scheduled and Auto Scheduled (which are grayed out in the image above).
- Quickly get more choices with the down arrow on an icon or the dialog box launcher, tucked into the lower right corner of some groups.
- Notice the context-sensitive Format tab displays features relevant to what you’re doing.
- Turn on the CriticalTasks with one-click instead of spending time in a multi-step wizard.
- Turn on the Project Summary Task and instantly know the overall project details.
- Turn on Late Tasks so you can take immediate action.
If you’re new to the Ribbon, you’re probably thinking how stressful this environment will be to learn. Not to panic! Microsoft now gives out a free game called Ribbon Hero to help you boost your skills and knowledge. After all, the Ribbon is also used in Office 2007 and Office 2010 products. So learning the Ribbon in just one program will help you use the Ribbon somewhere else. Based on my experience, you’ll go from frustrated and wasting lots of time to saving time and working faster in just a few weeks of everyday use doing your normal work. Just to make you appreciate my struggles in learning the Ribbon, I’ll add that I resorted to using keyboard commands for all the functions that I could remember instead of spending time looking for the new function on the Ribbon. Gradually I transitioned off the keyboard to the Ribbon and I’m now much faster than before.
The Ribbon uncovers what you need to make quick business decisions and communicate effectively. This is why I love the Ribbon.