Picture This: A New Look For Office

This morning at the CeBIT conference in Germany, we revealed the new visuals for the Office 2007 user interface.

You can see a few screenshots of the new look on the Office 2007 UI Preview Site. If you've got a craving to see even more, I've created a mini-gallery of
full-size screenshots from a recent build of the product below.

I've also posted a guest article written by my colleague Brad Weed, head of the Office Design Group. He's penned an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the new visuals from his perspective as a designer.

Screenshots of the Office 2007 User Interface

First, here are some basic screenshots of the Office 2007 programs.

There are so many changes from the Beta 1 visuals that it would be hard to make a complete list, but a couple of the things you might notice right off the bat: the Quick Access Toolbar in the title bar, group titles on the bottom of groups, and the Office Button (more on that below.)

Click each thumbnail to open a full-size version of the picture.

Word 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Excel 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

PowerPoint 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Outlook 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Access 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Close-up Screenshots of the Ribbon

If you don't have the bandwidth to download the full-window pictures above and you just want to see the Ribbon, these pictures are for you.

Word 2007 Ribbon - Click to enlarge picture

Excel 2007 Ribbon - Click to enlarge picture

PowerPoint 2007 Ribbon - Click to enlarge picture

Contextual Tabs

As I've written several times here on the blog, Contextual Tabs are at the heart of the new user interface. When designing the visuals, we wanted the Contextual Tabs to feel special and part of a group--but in the end, they also need to feel like real tabs. This is one of many places in which usability results informed our visual design decisions.

Table Tools in Office 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

Diagram Tools in Office 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

The Office Button

The Office Button provides access to all of the document and system-level functionality in the program. This is where you go to start doing things with your document in Office--from simply opening a file to saving as a PDF to starting a workflow or publishing the document on a server. This is where you start a document, and this is where you finish a document.

There's so much more to write about this in the future, but here's the simple screenshot of what you get when you first click the Office Button.

Office Button - Click to enlarge picture

Adjust To Taste

In Office 2007, we've done something else that we've never done before: given you a choice of skins for the user interface. If you don't like the default blue skin and would prefer something more neutral, we've got you covered with the striking new black skin.

Going Dark in Office 2007 - Click to enlarge picture

On Windows Vista, of course, we fully support glass in both skins. I'll get you some screenshots of that in the not-too-distant future.

Coming Attractions

The team is beyond excited to finally be able to show you what we've been up to recently. There's so much to write about now that we can start showing in more detail the changes we've made since Beta 1 and how the parts fit together.

In the coming weeks, I'll detail more of the thought process and analysis that went into these designs, along with additional perspective from a few guest writers.

The Beta 1 Technical Refresh, from which these screens were taken, will soon be in the hands of our private beta testers. Meanwhile, we remain hard at work on Beta 2.

It's not too late to sign up to receive Beta 2 of Office 2007 when it's ready later in the year. I hope you'll consider giving it a try and letting us know what you think.