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Microsoft Office

  1. Highlight button

    Users of the Google Toolbar may be familiar with the Highlight option, which highlights all occurrences of the current search keywords in the current document. This is a very handy feature and it would be good to see it in all Microsoft Office applications as well.

    Figure: Google highlight option in use.
  2. Smart(er) Tags

    Microsoft Office applications allow you to control when Smart Tags are triggered by using 'recognizers'. The list of recognizers can be altered, in most cases through the AutoCorrect options dialog. (See screenshot of Word's AutoCorrect dialog below.)

    It would be good if the list box could allow the user to drill down each recognizer item and view sample data (e.g. for 'Dates' the sample data would be a date, such as '1/1/2003').

    There are two ways in which this could be implemented, namely:

    1. Show it just underneath each item when the item is expanded.
    2. Display a 'More...' button underneath each item, which will open a dialog that displays the sample data.
    Figure: Smart tag settings in Microsoft Word.
  3. Getting More Smart Tags

    Office could be improved in how it handles extending of its smart tag functionality.

    Currently adding a custom smart tag requires editing registry; this should not be necessary. It would be better to implement an 'Add Smart Tag' button to the Smart Tags tab of the AutoCorrect dialog. (See screenshot.)

    Also, the More Smart Tags button in this dialog should be implemented as a hyperlink, as it links directly to a page on the Microsoft website.

    Figure: Smart tag settings in Microsoft Word.
  4. Readable Settings Files

    It would be nice if Office stored all of its settings files in a readable format. For example, if the settings files were stored as XML, then the user could clearly see the settings that were applied, and also be able to import/export parts of the settings files themselves (this is different to the current system where you have an all-or-nothing approach to the import/export of settings).

    Setting Files
    Figure: Settings files are stored in binary format, they should be XML

    But what about invalid xml?

    Just give the user a message something like: "Someone has changed with the xml and now it is invalid. Reverting to default settings."

    Note: Have renamed the file to zzWord11.xml so that they can attempt to fix it if they want to.

  5. Automatic File Version Increment

    It would be really useful if Office documents (e.g. Word, Excel) would have an option to increment the file version every time a document is saved and closed.

    For example, if you opened Session1_ExtremeProgramming_Access97to2003_AdamCogan_ v3 .ppt , made a changed, saved and closed the document, the filename would update to Session1_ExtremeProgramming_Access97to2003_AdamCogan_ v4 .ppt . This would help ensure that the latest version is being used and that you can determine at a glance which version of a document is the newest.

  6. Load MRU (Most Recently Used) lists as a background process during Save or Delete

    During the process of saving a file to a machine, Microsoft Office applications will try to load recently used files.
    This can cause an unnecessary delay when the machine is not connected to the network that a previous project was saved on; after a certain period it times out and goes on to save the file.
    The temporary fix to this is regularly clearing the MRU lists.

    As stated by Microsoft Support , following these steps to clear MRU lists of Microsoft Access, Excel, PhotoDraw, PowerPoint, and Word:

    1. On the Tools menu , click Options , and then click the General tab.
    2. Clear the Recently used files check box, and then click OK .
    3. Figure: Example of clearing MRU lists in Microsoft Word
    4. On the Tools menu, click Options , and then click the General tab.
    5. Select the Recently used files check box, and then click OK .
    6. Figure: Example of checking MRU lists in Microsoft Word

    This is a common issue in a lot of applications; freezes are usually caused by trying to access a network resource that is not available. MRU processes should be executed as background threads so that they dont lock up the main UI and leave the developer waiting.

  7. Run Office 2003 and Office 2007 side by side on the same PC

    Why does the Office team not design you to run Office 2003 and Office 2007 side by side on the same PC?
    Seems a strange thing to not keep on shipping...

Microsoft Word

  1. Move to Folder Function

  2. Suggestion
    Figure: Please add a Move To Folder" function?like in Outlook
  3. Make a Save As option for pictures

    Please add another menu item to this right click menu "Save As" just like Internet Explorer

    Save As
  4. Option to print the computer name when printing documents

    We should have a ' ComputerName ' to show the computer name.

    Page Setup
    Figure: Word's Header and Footer fields

    Read the same request for Internet Explorer on our Microsoft Internet Explorer Suggestions .

  5. Option to choose a footer style When print document with multiple pages

    When print document with multiple pages - Please pop a message box with a question:
    "Would you like to choose a footer style so you have page numbers when you print?"

Microsoft Excel

  1. Confusing Save Dialog

    Before closing, Excel prompts the user to save any unsaved documents. Sometimes the wrong sheet is shown behind the save dialog; this can be very confusing.

    Excel Interface
    Figure: Confusing Save prompt in Excel.

Microsoft FrontPage

  1. Why can't I add custom tag's to the FrontPage validator?

    In Tools - Page Options, users should be able to add custom tags. (eg missing span). Currently I need to switch to Dreamweaver to use this functionality.

    Figure: Not in Front Page 2002...
    Figure: ...nor in Front Page 2003 Beta 2

  2. FrontPage should support ASPX and ASCX files. (Thank you. Fixed in FrontPage 2003 Beta 2)

    In the Normal view there should be a GUI component to show a reference to an aspx include file - currently it is too easy to delete code like this (because you dont see it in the designer).

  3. Where is the strikethrough option? (it is in Word)

    Right click the menu - Customize. No Strikethough option to drag onto the toolbar.

    Figure: Strikethrough command does not appear in the list
  4. Move a picture from here please

    Need a button under "Browse...", named "Move" picture and when I click it, it defaults to CurrentFolderOfPage/Images/..

    Figure: No 'Move...' button here.
  5. Captions For Images

    Microsoft Word currently supports attaching captions to embedded images, as seen in the following screenshot. This cannot be done with embedded images in Microsoft FrontPage, however. It would be useful if users could add captions to FrontPage images as well.

    Figure: Microsoft Word's image pop-up menu includes Caption command.
  6. CSS comments

    This is clearly a comment and Show Color Coding is checked on, yet the comments are not in green like all other Microsoft development environments.

    Figure: Comment text not green, even while 'Show Color Coding' is checked.
  7. MailTo: Links

    The mailto: link supports a body parameter. This should be editable in the hyperlink dialog.

    Figure: Body parameter not allowed.
  8. Last Saved By

    I love editing web pages using FrontPage directly from Internet Explorer. However doing it this way can cause concurrent editing problems, as it doesn't recognise which user is making the changes. You can see that the the "saved to the server by ..." field is blank. You don't get this problem if you open the file in FrontPage from Windows Explorer directly. Unfortunately there is no work-around to this bug.

    Last saved by
    Figure: Editing in FrontPage from Internet Explorer potential causes concurrent editing problems

Microsoft PowerPoint

  1. Captions for images

    Microsoft Word currently supports attaching captions to embedded images, as seen in the following screenshot. This cannot be done with embedded images in Microsoft PowerPoint, however. It would be useful if users could add captions to PowerPoint images as well.

    Figure: Microsoft Word's image pop-up menu includes Caption command.

Microsoft Outlook

  1. OutLook Time Zone

    Outlook currenly uses 12 AM to 12 PM for All Day Events. This creates problem when it is for different time zone.

    It would be useful to use additional time zone feature in outlook to display local time zone without changing time of operating system. Either you can change all day event to local time zone setting.

    One best option to handle with this problem is storing all time zone using UTC(Universal Cordinated Time) so that there is no need for any other time settings and appointment can be rendered using local time zone.

  2. Change "All Day Appointment" to be an all day appointment

    Currently Outlook uses 12AM to 12PM to signify a full-day event - this causes problems when you change time zones.

    A full-day event is a full-day event, no matter what time zone your are in.

    Ken Getz says more on this:
    Time Zone Disaster--All Outlook Appointments Bite the Dust

  3. Image size

    When I put pictures into an Outlook HTML email, they are much less quality and significantly larger, even though Outlook reports that they are 100%.

    More information at: More Outlook HTML Email Problems


Adam Cogan
Jatin Valabjee
Ryan Tee