Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Excel User Interface
An Excel 4.0 macro sheet is a worksheet that has some different defaults. Its purpose is to hold
XLM macros. XLM is the macro system used in Excel version 4.0 and earlier. This macro system
was replaced by VBA in Excel 5.0 and is not discussed in this topic.
An Excel 5.0 dialog sheet is a drawing grid that can hold text and controls. In Excel 5.0 and Excel
95, dialog sheets were used to make custom dialog boxes. UserForms were introduced in Excel
97 to replace these sheets.
The Excel User Interface
A UI is the means by which an end user communicates with a computer program. A UI includes
elements such as menus, dialog boxes, toolbars, and keystroke combinations, as well as features
such as drag and drop.
A new UI
Almost every Windows program you use employs the menu and toolbar approach. That is, at the
top of the screen is a menu bar that contains virtually every command that’s available in the
application, and below that is one or more toolbars, which provide shortcuts to some of the more
frequently used commands. With the release of Office 2007, the days of menus and toolbars are over.
The new UI for Excel consists of components like the Ribbon, Backstage View, the Mini Toolbar,
and the Quick Access toolbar.
The Ribbon is the primary UI component in Excel. It replaces the menu and most of the toolbars
that were common in previous versions, and it is a very significant departure from the interfaces
of most Windows-based applications.
Microsoft felt that the commands contained in the old menu and toolbar system were becoming
so numerous that a new paradigm was necessary. One of the main goals for developing the
Ribbon was to provide the user with a single place to look for a particular feature. Every
commonly used command available in Excel would be contained in the Ribbon (or in a dialog box
accessed via the Ribbon). Although Microsoft succeeded in putting most of the available
commands on the Ribbon, it’s still a pretty big place.
The Ribbon in Office 2007 received mixed reviews. Some people hated it, and others loved it. For
some, the hatred was so severe that they sought Excel 2007 add-ins that restored the old menus.
Others set up online petitions, asking Microsoft to restore the old menus for Office. Fact is, the
Ribbon is here to stay. Once you get used to the Ribbon, it really is easier to use than the
convoluted menu system that it replaced.