Office 14 Alpha screenshots leak

Russian site Wzor has leaked some screenshots of the Office 14 alpha build that was handed out to select testers this week.

The build is pictured below installed onto Windows 7 and it doesn't appear like the UI has been overhauled yet and remains very similar to Office 2007.

We revealed a possible Office 14 concept screenshot earlier this week before alpha testers received the official build. According to Alpha testers Microsoft is targeting a 2009 release and Office 14 could still be named Office System 2009.

Below you can see Word 14 in the first screenshot (click to expand):

Excel 14 (click to expand):

About Office 14 (click to expand):

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What's to figure out? The ribbon is a bunch of tabs with buttons on it. It's no more complicated than the previous drop-down menus. In fact, it operates under the same principal as a drop-down menu. You click the menu (tab) and your options are listed below.

I actually find it easier since I can switch tabs and have the options stay on my toolbar. Helps when you're doing a bunch of formatting changes and instead of clicking the menu, then clicking the option and repeating, you change the tab and now you can just work with the options in that menu in a one click operation.

Oh no no no no no.

They're moving further away from the standard windows theme. Bad move. There's no need for them to reinvent the buttons at the top right. It makes the app look bad.

hardgiant said,
The Ribbon is just tabs.


People have to stop pretending it's a huge change.

lol, your are right.

And everybody is screaming for a tapped windows explorer

Seems interesting. Like others, I'm sad that Microsoft is pulling away from the original Orb menu button. It was pretty nice and big to click on, and it soft of extended the Ribbon into the title bar to help connect the Quick Access Toolbar. Like a connecting link. Now the QAT sits by itself next to the program icon, and it looks kinda stupid. Why is the QAT stuck by itself on a title bar? At least the Orb connected the two.

I also liked the old way the groups and buttons were done. Though I guess I'm fine with the groups gone, I really thought the buttons that surrounded each icon was much better presented than no borders around each individual icon.

I hope by the time the release it, they've fixed up the interface a bit. Some of the icons I noticed are very pixeled and could use some work. I also hope there's more color choices than plain white. The last screenshot has a pretty neat color scheme with the dark blue and a light effect on it.

It'd be nice if they made a better Find command. I just want a simple dynamic search box built right into the Ribbon, so I can easily start typing in something, and the program automatically bounces around the document highlighting whatever I'm typing in and showing the # of matches. Also, a better Office Mobile would be nice.

Typical Microsoft products, they make some minor tweaks/bug fixes so they can charge you an insane full price again a year later.

TC17 said,
Typical Microsoft products, they make some minor tweaks/bug fixes so they can charge you an insane full price again a year later.

Does Apple do any better with every new edition of OSX? No.

I just hope they update the "other" applications to these new theme, as in Office 2007 you have Publisher and InfoPath using a completely different theme - it looks really unprofessional. I like the colour scheme in the screenshots, though the layout of the top left corner looks a mess from a usability perspective.

I don't know why, but I still think this GUI is "dirty".

I like the ribbon interface though, but there's a couple of tweaks to do. Also, the top left of Office 14 apps is plain ugly.

But other than the GUI, which we always see first, is there anything new? New templates? Less bugs than Office 12 RTM? New features? ...

PsykX said,
I don't know why, but I still think this GUI is "dirty".

I like the ribbon interface though, but there's a couple of tweaks to do. Also, the top left of Office 14 apps is plain ugly.

But other than the GUI, which we always see first, is there anything new? New templates? Less bugs than Office 12 RTM? New features? ...

Note "Create Mobile Office Device" in the last screenshot.

g33kb0y said,
Looks to me like screenies 1, 3, & 4 were taken on Server 2008 R2 Beta. Neato.

Doubtful, just 7 with theme off. They won't put the new taskbar into an R2 update of Server 2008.

Edit: Wow, I stand corrected. I hadn't seen the screenshots yet, but what's the deal with that? R2 is basically an entire upgrade to 7. That's crazy, but interesting, haha. I guess I'm the only one who didn't know that yet. I'll just go get back under my rock now.

Am I the only person who LIKES the new throbber design?

I love the ribbon of Office 2007, but the whole UI has a slightly 'bulky' feel to it... the new throbber kinda helps with aesthetics a lot IMHO... and has a nicer more professional feel to it too.

Also, the left side menu on the last screenshot is GREAT (in terms of colouring and look)... if they can update the ribbon to give it a nice smoother look, then that would be great... it would be nice to kinda see MS products getting a single design philosophy makeover to something that feels a little 'smoother' while still being accessible and professional looking... to me the final screenshot menu on the left (albeit quite bland) has a good feel to it... maybe that plus a little more excitement = win?

dewaaz said,
Am I the only person who LIKES the new throbber design

I hope so ;-)
The "Orb"/"Office Button"/ "Jewel"/"throbber" or whatever you wanted to call it was designed to compliment Fitts Law. There is a great MSDN article all about it here http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2006/08/22/711808.aspx

To move it away from the top-right corner is a complete u-turn.
I know it can look a bit out of place or cheesey but it mirrored the Start Orb which I thought made sense. To have that tiny app icon on the top right is stupid - who uses that? Certainly not the millions of Office 2007 users.

ThomMcK said,
To move it away from the top-right corner is a complete u-turn.
I know it can look a bit out of place or cheesey but it mirrored the Start Orb which I thought made sense.

Exactly. If defies logic. There's also the fact that changes shouldn't be made unless absolutely necessary or else it becomes more difficult for users to move between different versions. It's not like Office 2007 made any mistake in the UI department either - actually, it was an improvement in virtually every way.

I have used the new throbber design shown here in the Win7 version of Paint and I can tell you that it's really annoying in comparison to the Office Orb. I'm constantly misclicking. Horrible. Horrible.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Exactly. If defies logic. There's also the fact that changes shouldn't be made unless absolutely necessary or else it becomes more difficult for users to move between different versions. It's not like Office 2007 made any mistake in the UI department either - actually, it was an improvement in virtually every way.

I have used the new throbber design shown here in the Win7 version of Paint and I can tell you that it's really annoying in comparison to the Office Orb. I'm constantly misclicking. Horrible. Horrible.


So please send feedback for me... i'm not using Windows 7 but I agree with you.

They've got rid of the round Office logo and replaced it with a rectangular box? That's more like the UI in the Win7 version of Paint and I don't like it - it doesn't look as good and means you can't simply flick your mouse up to the top left corner to hit it. The changes in Office 2007 were for a good reason but must they really keep moving things around for the sake of it?

Office 2007 was already very good. I hated the ribbon at first but it's reeeeally an improvement over the toolbars. There are still some things I'd like to be grouped into the same tab (so that I dont have to switch between like 3 different tabs to edit a table).

I dont think either windows7 or office14 are going to be seen as MAJOR upgrades.. you know the whole "evolution not revolution". And microsoft only sells when they promise revolution.

Julius Caro said,
Office 2007 was already very good. I hated the ribbon at first but it's reeeeally an improvement over the toolbars. There are still some things I'd like to be grouped into the same tab (so that I dont have to switch between like 3 different tabs to edit a table).

I dont think either windows7 or office14 are going to be seen as MAJOR upgrades.. you know the whole "evolution not revolution". And microsoft only sells when they promise revolution.

I think perhaps allowing users to create custom tabs with quick buttons that they most commonly use, or even an autopopulating tab with the most commonly used buttons, that could be a major improvement.

They won't change it dramatically...the final will look a lot like Office 07 also. MS spent alot of time and money on the ribbon as well as taking a huge risk and they aren't going to throw it away after two years to create a new different interface.

Smigit said,
They won't change it dramatically...the final will look a lot like Office 07 also. MS spent alot of time and money on the ribbon as well as taking a huge risk and they aren't going to throw it away after two years to create a new different interface.

And rightfully so. It's the best piece of interface work they've done in a long long time.

i like that sidemenu in the about screen shot, the dark colour bar with the light blue looks nice and professional. They should implement that in Windows7. As nice as 7 is, i have this awful dread that they won't further the UI from what it is in beta1. IMHO this will be where MS fall short, they've never really got GUIs, they always get half way there and stop.

Anaron said,
It looks pretty much the same as Office '07 which makes sense. I'm sure the final product will be great.

that argument doesnt really hold anymore. that's what people said about windows7 and it still looks like vista, and apparently that's how it's going to be. not that I care, the thing is like vista done right.

Julius Caro said,
that argument doesnt really hold anymore. that's what people said about windows7 and it still looks like vista, and apparently that's how it's going to be. not that I care, the thing is like vista done right.

And according to all accounts Windows 7 is great so how does his argument 'not hold'

Julius Caro said,
that argument doesnt really hold anymore.

How is it time-based, and what does it have to do with Windows 7/Vista?

I'm glad they have not changed it into that rounded cyan atrocity that someone proffered in an earlier screenshot.

I don't like how they've changed the office "throbber" i.e the thing in the top left where you access open/save/print etc.
The create mobile device thing in the about page looks interesting...

I agree. Moving the Office orb menu down to the ribbon tabs do not make sense. It is inconsistent behavior: Users would expect clicking the tabs will open a menu, but it will not. And since the Office menu is not a tab, why is it aligned with the tabs - and looks like a tab? That is as clumsy as the same implementation in IE. I hope they won't add a toolbar in Office like they did in IE8 just to wreck a clean UI up.

I don't usually comment on Neowin, but I have to speak up on this.

kidlola said,
I agree. Moving the Office orb menu down to the ribbon tabs do not make sense. It is inconsistent behavior: Users would expect clicking the tabs will open a menu, but it will not. And since the Office menu is not a tab, why is it aligned with the tabs - and looks like a tab? That is as clumsy as the same implementation in IE. I hope they won't add a toolbar in Office like they did in IE8 just to wreck a clean UI up.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Win7wordpad.png ... it's the updated standard.

Have you noticed that the color of the throbber matches the application currently running, blue for word, green for Excel, and that the application icon is back at the top left?
I think that makes the top left corner too crowed: the application icon, the throbber, the quick save/undo/redo icon: that's a lot of things in 50 x 40 pixels.

Kirkburn said,
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Win7wordpad.png ... it's the updated standard.
Yes, I know that a long time ago. I am using Windows 7. I originally assumed that the Windows guys just want to do their own thing. Being up to date to a wrecked standard doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do.

Vykranth said,
Have you noticed that the color of the throbber matches the application currently running, blue for word, green for Excel, and that the application icon is back at the top left?
I think that makes the top left corner too crowed: the application icon, the throbber, the quick save/undo/redo icon: that's a lot of things in 50 x 40 pixels.

Exactly. It is too crowded. At least with the original size of the Office orb, users can differentiate between the different behaviors of these buttons.

Hmm... I dunno. I think the menu "throbber" button, as DrCheese put it, looks good in line with the tabs. It sort of keeps an old style menu look, but transitions it to the ribbon, while the far left is basically like a master button to show a menu for anything else needed.

What I do think looks bad, however, is the save, undo, and redo buttons up there. They are kind of just thrown onto the title bar area for no real reason. To say that they are commonly used could be one excuse, but tell me how many people here have even clicked those undo and redo buttons up there. Save is the only one that could really argue that. Why not just leave it in the menu like it's always been, or find another way to have a few static buttons that doesn't disrupt the flow so much.

Betaz said,
Hmm... I dunno. I think the menu "throbber" button, as DrCheese put it, looks good in line with the tabs. It sort of keeps an old style menu look, but transitions it to the ribbon, while the far left is basically like a master button to show a menu for anything else needed.

What I do think looks bad, however, is the save, undo, and redo buttons up there. They are kind of just thrown onto the title bar area for no real reason. To say that they are commonly used could be one excuse, but tell me how many people here have even clicked those undo and redo buttons up there. Save is the only one that could really argue that. Why not just leave it in the menu like it's always been, or find another way to have a few static buttons that doesn't disrupt the flow so much.


Everybody: It's called the the "Office Orb" or the "Office Button". In my tech class, it's called the Office Button, but I read on Jensen's blog that it was meant to be considered an Orb.

I just love pressing on the 'throbber' Too bad it looks like they're taking it away.

d3bruts1d said,
Looks like it... a few minor tweaks to the "ribbon" which I still cannot stand.

You're not alone.

I also don't get why the publish UI guidelines for developers to follow if they don't follow the same guidelines. Nothing they make is consistent.

And about to follow the guideline about UI, Visio 2007 and Project 2007 are still using the old-good menu system.

d3bruts1d said,

Thankfully notepad, so far, has been untouched by the ribbon. Paint wasn't so lucky.

Well, hopefully it will be soon. The ribbon is far superior to previous toolbars, and it needs to become the standard in Windows 7. They do, however, need to design some sort of mini ribbon. Apps like Paint and Notepad, hell, really even Wordpad, none of them even have enough buttons to fill out a ribbon to the point where it's useful how it was designed. And rather than having a fat ribbon bar, just for the sake of having a ribbon, they need to design a small single or double line version to save space.

d3bruts1d said,
Looks like it... a few minor tweaks to the "ribbon" which I still cannot stand.

Me either. I tried to get use to it and had it at the office and at home, but I find that it lags me in Word. I asked for a downgrade at work to Office 2003.

Oops! The ribbon is far superior to the dated drop-down menu system. You just have to be willing to spend 5 minutes learning how it makes your workflow faster and easier. I guess we don't all have 5 minutes to do that....;)

Betaz said,


Well, hopefully it will be soon. The ribbon is far superior to previous toolbars, and it needs to become the standard in Windows 7. They do, however, need to design some sort of mini ribbon. Apps like Paint and Notepad, hell, really even Wordpad, none of them even have enough buttons to fill out a ribbon to the point where it's useful how it was designed. And rather than having a fat ribbon bar, just for the sake of having a ribbon, they need to design a small single or double line version to save space.


Notepad doesn't need the Ribbon or even a Mini-Ribbon, the application is nothing more than a textbox with wordwrapping and print/save/etc.

All it needs is that horrifically ugly blue-ish topbar gradient to be changed to the new Windows 7 style, but so do alot of apps.

tiagosilva29 said,
Small example: Save context navigation

What? I'm not sure that makes sense to me. The save button is always at the very top in the title bar, as well as in the orb. So really, there is nothing context about saving. Not sure what you're getting at.

Athernar said,

Notepad doesn't need the Ribbon or even a Mini-Ribbon, the application is nothing more than a textbox with wordwrapping and print/save/etc.

All it needs is that horrifically ugly blue-ish topbar gradient to be changed to the new Windows 7 style, but so do alot of apps.


Indeed... the color of the background is ugly!!!!!!!!

Betaz said,
What? I'm not sure that makes sense to me. The save button is always at the very top in the title bar, as well as in the orb. So really, there is nothing context about saving. Not sure what you're getting at.

Who needs a toolbar at all, when most of the important stuff can be done via keyboard! CTRL+S is far easier than dragging the mouse... unless of course, you don't have a left hand.

kyller said,

Indeed... the color of the background is ugly!!!!!!!!

You can change the color. My goodness, I wish you guys spent just a few minutes trying to get used to the new UI.

Magallanes said,
And about to follow the guideline about UI, Visio 2007 and Project 2007 are still using the old-good menu system.

I'm with you on that. Visio could really benefit from the Ribbon UI.

Betaz said,


Well, hopefully it will be soon. The ribbon is far superior to previous toolbars, and it needs to become the standard in Windows 7. They do, however, need to design some sort of mini ribbon. Apps like Paint and Notepad, hell, really even Wordpad, none of them even have enough buttons to fill out a ribbon to the point where it's useful how it was designed. And rather than having a fat ribbon bar, just for the sake of having a ribbon, they need to design a small single or double line version to save space.


If you double-click the tab row of the ribbon, it will be collapsed, saving most of the vertical space the full ribbon occupies. There, the "mini ribbon" you wanted.

Steven77 said,
Can't wait for the stripped down piece of junk version?

Can't wait for an asshat to make smart ass comments to a legitimate response to a news story?