Saturday, September 17, 2011


Microsoft Office Metro-style

Last week Microsoft showed us all kinds of color and movement and flexibility as they demonstrated the new "metro-style" look for Windows 8. Similar to the touch functionality on the Windows Phone 7, you will soon be able to choose, rearrange, pane, and snap your apps (notice they aren't called "windows" anymore) the way you want them to appear. Steve Ballmer said "You ought to expect that we are rethinking and working hard on what it would mean to do Office Metro style," when he was asked what's coming for Office.

Back in July, Ballmer gave a presentation at the Worldwide Partner Conference in LA which included some of the visuals (which included a PowerPoint live tile) that will reportedly be shared among multiple Windows spheres: the PC, phone, Xbox 360, and Office. Here's a write-up from Winrumors about that presentation, along with a short video showing off the developing style.

Windows 8 will have lots of touch and movement, but Microsoft says they aren't abandoning the mouse and keyboard, so we'll have to see how gracefully it all works together. I love the touch on my phone, but I rarely use it to do more than call family,  check and return email, and tweet (well, and play a game of Fruit Ninga occasionally). Working with documents still feels too limited to me, and I avoid it when I can. Before I'll love touch in Office 15, I'm going to have to see real practical benefits with solid and fast functionality. A pretty look and fun movement won't mean much to me when there's a big deadline looming.

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