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Tabs in Microsoft Word?

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Posted

You don't need tabs. The OS manages switching between instances of documents just fine with the aero popups.

Nonsense. Browsing websites would be horrible if you had to rely on the superbar to change between webpages and that's the experience people have to put up with for Explorer and Office. There really is no decent reason not to have tabs in Explorer or Office - people wouldn't have to use them but it would greatly benefit those who do. The superbar is very poor when it comes to multitasking.

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Posted

The usage of a web browser and a word processor are vastly different from the physical interaction through to the use case. Comparing apples and oranges doesn't help anyone.

I'm not against the use of tabs for those who would rather interact that way, but any argument that "One office app has it why don't they all" (which is what the OP wrongfully asserted is what I'm picking up on here.

Moreover, the Windows interface is obviously aware of multiple instances of one application, so whether tabs or any other mechanism, this should be a Windows feature and not an app-specific feature.

Well that's kind of nitpicking really, don't you think? Excel kind of has something that works a bit like tabs, but that isn't really tabs in the true sense of the word. I had that in mind, but it was just a very thumbnail example of where something similar kind of exists and that people in general don't hate. But I didn't feel like being that pedantic about it.

I tried the app that was pointed to by Link6155 above - and I have to say that it works rather well - and works throughout the OS like some of the guys here are saying they would prefer. I'm not sure if it's the last word on a tabbed user interface design or if it couldn't be improved, but I sure do still wish that MS would pick up the ball and make it a default feature - and implement it in a way that would make even the doubters here happy. I'm sure it could be done if they tried.

It would at least be a nod in the right direction for the many people among us for whom multitasking is a fact of life. A fact that as has been pointed out, MS has rather neglected recently.

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Posted

Well that's kind of nitpicking really, don't you think? Excel kind of has something that works a bit like tabs, but that isn't really tabs in the true sense of the word.

Absolutely not. The tabs do not represent different instances, they are to different pages in a worksheet. Wholly different.

I multitask all the time, and I do agree a more unified approach is necessary. Some apps use tabs, some still use multiple taskbar entries, some use window managers of their own.

I just tend to use CTRL+Tab

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Posted

I don't think you can really compare a content creation application like Word with a content consumption application like a browser because people use them differently. Tabs might be useful in Word sometimes but there are other times where they would be a real pain. For instance, I often have multiple documents open side by side so I can easily cut and paste from one document to another using ALT+TAB to switch back and forth between documents. This would be difficult to do without using your mouse if all documents opened as tabs in a single instance of Word. Excel behaves in this way (without tabs - it acts as a sort of MDI interface) and it always annoys me.

yea, i don't get why excel only lets you see one window at a time, when people have multiple widescreen monitors to tile windows on. it's super limiting. fortunately, i don't deal with excel that much.

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Posted

Well I'll give you all another reason why a tabbed interface in Office (and perhaps in Windows at large) would be a compelling advance on the current state of affairs, although this one I'm afraid is officially copyrighted. I had a little think about how far a paradigm like this could be pushed - and eventually I resolved on the idea of office 'workbooks'. In this case rather than just being able to open several word documents in tabs, there would in theory be nothing to prevent one from being able to open any office document in a tab alongside any other document. Therefore you could have a word document open, a PowerPoint Presentation and an Excel spreadsheet showing a chart or a graph, or any number of combination of these together all side by side in tabs. In order to save these you would then go to a traditional type 'file menu' (or equivalent) and select to either save the current in view document as a single file, or to save all of the open documents in your tabbed view 'as a workbook'.

Now the advantages of this to me are immediate and obvious. For example how many companies have files for clients scattered around several locations on their internal systems? How many college students have papers from different sources on the same subject, jumbled up in a folder? How many people working on a myriad of projects, find it difficult to keep track of all of their source material? Workbooks with a tabbed interface immediately solves all of these problems. Of course you can still have folders - and you can click on each file individually and try to keep track of everything that way, but with a tabbed workbook - everything you need to manage and complete a project could be at your fingertips instantly.

People of course might still like to do things the old school way, but I'm certain that an idea like this would enable those who used it to beat the old timers hands down in terms of productivity and overall time saved.

This idea was born out of a similar desire to be able to save individual multi-tabbed web browsing sessions, so that I could return to these and review them at a later date. But heck if it makes sense for a web browser, why not extend a similar principle to Office? You could even throw a web browsing session, or an explorer session running a traditional windows app on to one of the tabs in your workbook and use a pages type feature similar to the one in Excel to switch between different web pages/browser tabs and explorer windows. This might/might not be pushing the idea too far, but certainly having a multi-tabbed, single integrated office interface, instead of the several separate non-integrated apps that exist now, would almost certainly be a significant step forward.

Also I think I should drive home the point I made previously, in that when multi-tasking it can be very difficult to keep track of everything via the Superbar, as this still requires that I remember everything that I was doing. perhaps some several moments (or minutes ago). A typical useage scenario in this case would be that I am writing a scientific review of several papers on a specific topic. My memory isn't as great as it once was, so to keep track of everything I'm doing at any given point of time via the superbar is not as easy or as simple as it seems. With clearly labelled tabs however, I can see at a single glance exactly what I have opened and this serves as a visual aid regarding where I am supposed to be at any given point. I am less likely to forget a paper containing a quote, or a set of statistics I meant to include if it is sitting right there in front of me.

As previously, a lot depends on how these things are executed. But it is notable I think that we haven't really had any significant advances in interface design for some considerable time. There are of course touch screen interfaces, but in terms of productivity, if anything they are a step backwards - and not very helpful at all to the majority of non-home users, or users in business or academic environments. The question here is 'how do you increase productivity?' and this is a question I feel despite all of the new bells and whistles it keeps adding with each iteration of Office, that MS has not addressed for some considerable time.

PS

If anyone out there thinks this is as neat an idea as do and they either have some graphic design skills that could enable them to do a basic mock-up of the idea or if they have some contacts within MS who they think might be interested, feel free to drop me a note. There are many areas of Windows I feel that could benefit from similar improvements.

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Posted

yea, i don't get why excel only lets you see one window at a time, when people have multiple widescreen monitors to tile windows on. it's super limiting. fortunately, i don't deal with excel that much.

In that case you could just do what you can already do with most modern web browsers and split out a tab to a separate window, or a separate instance or both.

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Posted

well, Ribbon is Tabbed, perhaps MS re-imagine the users would be confused if there also extra tabs appears.

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Posted

well, Ribbon is Tabbed, perhaps MS re-imagine the users would be confused if there also extra tabs appears.

I'm quite sure that's something that can rather easily be overcome with a little bit of intelligent design.

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Posted

A tabbed interface similar to what Adobe has done with the CS series would be nice. Also using the superbar as tabs works, but not everyone works that way, look at IE you have tabs on the superbar as well as in the program

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Posted

The superbar is fine for home users and for bedroom only IT experts etc, of which I suspect quite a few have commented on this thread. But for power users, it is of limited effectiveness. Most people here will probably never encounter the kind of usage scenarios that are extremely common for me and to many others who require fast, regular and easy to manage access to large amounts of data, and hence no doubt why they might struggle to see a way it might be useful to them.

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Posted

It turns out a tabbed user interface might not be such an insane idea after all ... http://www.extremete...d-faster-safari

There might be hope it could happen for Windows and office users too I guess, as, as I said, MS tend to wait and see what others do before copying it and implementing their own interpretation of it.

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