I used Word 2003 until it was no longer supported recently, then downloaded the free trial version of MS Office 365. I hated the ribbon. It was terribly confusing and cluttered. The only saving grace was the ability to create your own personalized ribbon and put in it the functions that you commonly use. After the month’s free trial expired and I discovered the cost of purchasing it (yearly fees) I searched for a free open source software and saw recommendations for Libre Office 4. It does take some getting used to, but well worth it. The more I learn about using it, the more I like it. The only thing I miss so far about Office 365 is the ease of editing images on a document and seeing a preview before pasting something you copied. I would suggest teaching students the basics of LO. Broaden their horizons! It may come in handy for them someday if they eventually use something other than MS.
I’m a little baffled by many of the answers here, the only people who hate the ribbon interface are those who’ve not spent any time with it, put the effort in for a few months and it proves its superiority, its human nature for many to hate change, more for some then others, but the ribbon interface is literally quantifiably more efficient then the earlier interfaces, if your talking about business use, Libreoffices old interface will literally cost companies time and money, LO needs new UI.
@Xanderxavier, “the only people who hate the ribbon interface are those who’ve not spent any time with it.” This is not a claim you can substantiate. I have used the ribbon for several years. It has problems (some listed in a comment below) that I constantly wrestle with. I find LO significantly easier, more logical, more practical, and less prone to problems, but that is my opinion and is largely unrelated to a ribbon UI. Users of this site are free to opine. When LO will get a ribbon UI is a separate issue.
@Xanderxavier, I have to use ribbons at works and I do not like them, do not find them easier to use, nor are they more intuitive to me. Ribbons are lowest common denominator for all users. Most of the users with the little bit of office software experience find the ribbons annoying.
If the current UI is beautiful (it is not) is open to discussion, but ribbons is not the way to go.
About the patents that Microsoft may claim for the ribbon UI:
Tabbed menus have been around for a long time.
I may not help you with exact answer, but I do understand your point.
My humble opinion is: I don’t like ribbon interface - actually I hate it, but that is not the point - the point is should there be one unified interface per operating system LibreOffice is implemented on? I think yes.
If user is using Windows 7 or newer there is a need to have one single user interface in all of the applications. Why should end-user relearn GUI for each of the application? End-users should get familiar with one GUI interface and all of the applications should support the way of doing it. It is not a question if this ribbon is the best or not, just to have one GUI end-users are familiar with. Having some different GUI it is reinventing the wheel. The best approach (but the from development point of view the worst) in my humble opinion it would be to have end-user the choice to select what kind of toolbar system he/she would like to use.
What I hated the most in LibreOffice when I started using it was the toolbar icons. There icons are so different from the icons I am used on Windows XP that I have spend a lot of effort to accustom to it. Then I start using LibreOffice on Ubuntu, where all of the icons from all of the applications have the same icons for new, open, save, copy, paste etc, except LibreOffice. Why? LibreOffice GUI looks like an alien application - like it does not belong there. Why end-user needs to relearn the GUI? In my humble opinion GUI interface should be aligned = customized according to operating system it is installed on. On Windows 7 it should use ribbon, on Ubuntu it should use Ubuntu style application etc. Something similar Firefox have done and I like it. Some years ago Firefox was also an alien in Ubuntu, but now it looks like true Ubuntu application.
GUI is not something developers like to spend time on, but that is one single thing that end-users see at first they see a product. And it can take seconds and users can decide not to use it just because of special GUI it uses. So it is not a question about if LibreOffice is good or bad, or does LibreOffice uses good or bad GUI. It is just different. And being different can be very powerful argument to not even try the application.
For those who seem to prefer a different interface you could look at the new NOTBOOKBAR interface available to try in LIBREOFFICE 5.3. Its internal development name is Muffin. See Ribbon interface for more information. The team would welcome feedback.
Why do want to have tabs in the UI?
What is the advantage of changing to tabs when you first of all you loose a lot of time to learn where all the menu items are located?
Edit after comment by @Xanderxavier
I used non-ribbon (non tab UI) Outlook versions for many years and knew exactly what I need to do to customize all my Outlook. Beside XP I only use Outlook 2010 from MS. I had to spend a few hours to customize this Outlook version. At the end I still regarded the possible customization of the older versions as better; or I should have spent some more hours for customization. Looking at ribbons in general, I still do not see any advantage of the ribbons. In contrast, I see disadvantages.
The disadvantage becomes perfectly to be seen with the sidebar of LibO. Current PC screens are wider compared to the height of screen than older PC screens. Thus, there is more space at the side available which cannot be used by ribbons. Further, the rather high ribbons reduce further space from screen in the vertical direction. LibO went the right way by developing the sidebar. This bar uses the rather unused space at the side of a LibO document. In my case, I have now only one row of toolbar icons left below the menus and use the sidebar intensively.
As the LibO’s devs continously improve LibO, I am looking forward to improvements in the pipeline. My contribution to this are a few enhancement requests.
@Xanderxavier - It would be interesting for members of this forum if could be so kind as to explain the advantage of ribbons from your point of view in detail going beyond your statement:
…the cost in time to re-train is well worth the time savings of future use.
Maybe you have some figures to support your above quoted statement. Your explanations may enlighten all forum members who do not see the advantages of the MS’s ribbons yet.
The ribbon UI’s efficiency is well understood by this point worldwide, the cost in time to re-train is well worth the time savings of future use.
@Xanderxavier, you exclude people who switched to LO especially because they do not want the ribbon.
@ROSt53, the main point behind the MSO ribbon is accessibility (related MSO blog entry here. It was largely designed as a response to touch devices, which demand larger targets to poke at and menus that stay displayed once selected (and are contextual). The main problem I have with the effort by MSO was how many problems the implementation had e.g., limited style list, styles that do not display, settings that are shown incorrectly, contextual selection when not required, etc. The LO sidebar is having similar teething issues.
@oweng - Thanks for explanations. The touch device reason is pretty good. But if one doesn’t need to touch with fingers… Although I like the LibO Sidebar very much, I do see still some challenges and enhancement potential. I am currently very curious for each new Libo version to see how the sidebar enhances.
The ribbon, as the new windows tile design, is an attempt to unify the GUI of the different devices My personal opinion is that it is doomed by the very concept. Different kind of devices are used in a different way and have different physical properties.
The side bar is better solution anyway, especially on tabs.
Use Sifr icons, they look modern. And to every fanboi you know what to say… buy a licence, if that program really is that good.
Honestly, I have a license
honestly I think that negation of a possibility to implement a tab UI is just a proud think, document foundation should see that majority part of LO users is common people that just need a real alternative to MSO, and LO is great but too ugly, too different, too old UI, it is true that Ribbon UI was rejected in MSO 2007 but know we are in 2014, 7 years with Ribbon between us and to be realistic, once you get use with ribbon or tab UI you can see that all toolbars and all menu items are present and ordered in tabs, no matter what button you need to click, it is present in one tab, that is the advantage of Tab UI above toolbars and menu UI, and I think that as longer user of LO I definitely have the right to use a UI that I want, I do not ask for a redesigned UI, just the possibility to use another UI via Skins or Extension, that is the freedom of open or libre software, you can choose, but in this case even in MSO you can have a old toolbar UI via plugin and absurdity you can not do that in LO.
P.D: If developers could adapt sidebar in order to permit docking in uper side, I mean, horizontally under menu bar, and add a couple of tab, that must be a good start to have a tab UI on LO
The problem about LibreOffice’s UI is not about getting old-fashioned, but not getting up to date for the new ways to interact with the technology. The screens are now touchscreens and the old menus are a shooting exercise for our fingers. And more, people are waiting for a smartphone version of LO for about five years.
But everyone understand that LO is not market oriented, so it is ok.
And sorry for my bad english.
Well, this is part of the problem, but for anyone who’s used ms offices since 2003, it’s literally alien to go back in time to a pre-2003 interface, its smacks of downgrading, it’s less efficient to use, which is a shame, I would love LO to be a true alternative to msoffice suite, but due to what appears to be a lack of understanding of the importance of good UI, its simply not, they should have a special funding campaign to work on a ribbionUI for libreoffice, sooner rather than later.
@Xanderxavier Well it seems you don’t know how old the Ribbon Bar! The Ribbon Bar dates back to the 80s, so the concept is not really new! (Source) I have to work with MSO2010/2013 at work since 3 years and I’m still searching for some features and functions very long as it really was easier in 2003 for the “not so common features” which were “hidden” behind some special menus.
@dennisroczek: The wikipedia page you referenced as your source says the following: “The usage of the term ribbon dates from the 1980s and was originally used as a synonym for what is now more commonly known as a (non-tabbed) toolbar.” I don’t think that supports your argument.