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March 25, 2008

Google Docs Gets a Menu

After updating the toolbar, Google Docs replaced the tabbed interface with a traditional menu. The File menu looks cleaner and integrates the revision history, the Edit includes some of the options that are missing from the toolbar (cut/copy/paste) and also the HTML code editor. It's amazing to see that Find & Replace is still in alpha and doesn't work as advertised. The Insert menu has the same features as the homonymous tab, Format replaces the Styles dropdown, while Tools lets you select the document's language, check the spelling and read stats about the document. The Table menu was previously available as a contextual menu for tables and there's a new Share drop-down that integrates the options to share a page, publish it on the web and preview it.


Google Docs includes all the menus from Microsoft Word 2003, except for View, Window and Help, but there's enough room to add more menus in the future. The team's blog explains the changes by invoking a user study, but the truth is that most people are used to Microsoft Office's classic interface:
A while ago, our Docs User Research team worked on a "card-sort" study in which we disconnected all features in the application from the places we had put them in the UI, and asked some people what the labels and icons meant to them, and how they would group the concepts they represented. One of the things we found was that names such as File, Edit, Format, and Tools resonated as "where you might look" for certain editing features. Check spelling? Seems to fit in a "Tools" group to many people. Find and replace? People generally look for that in an "Edit" group.

These updates are only for the word processing application, as Google Spreadsheets and Presently continue to use the old interface. Having a unified interface and a set of features that work consistently in all the three applications should be a priority for Google.

11 comments:

  1. It have a bug on FireFox.

    If you put your text cursor and open a menu, if the menu stays on top of the text cursor, you will still see the text cursor behind the menu.

    But its a lot more intuitive. Thansk Google.


    Rui

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  2. Hope google docs will support Konqueror in the near future! xD

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  3. You can even add colors to folders and change ownership of a document. See the "What's New" page.

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  4. "Having an unified interface and a set of features that work consistently in all the three applications should be a priority for Google."

    Amen to that. The other priority should be unified tags.

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  5. Please keep simple, the office virus seems to attack google docs !

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  6. ""Having an unified interface and a set of features that work consistently in all the three applications should be a priority for Google."

    They probably want to do testing for the menus there as well. Were would people look for certain spreadsheet options, etc.

    ""Please keep simple, the office virus seems to attack google docs !"
    -mickael

    I don't agree, this is actually simpler for a lot of people. It's the same kind of menu found in all there apps. This will change the learning curve dramatically.

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  7. To "fix" this "bug" you only have to enable Disable or replace context menus in advanced options of javascript

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  8. I find this funny - Microsoft just left the menu interface for tabs, and Google just left the tab interface for menus! I actually like the new interface, i think it's much easier to find stuff.

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  9. I think Google Docs need to ditch those bastardized "folders" in favor of the same kinds of tags Gmail has. Once people get their head around the fact that they can use their tags the same way, it'll be better for everyone.

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  10. Google Docs actually uses labels, even if they are called folders. Try to drag a document to more than one folder and you'll see that it will be added to all the folders.

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  11. How do i download the google tabs on my old computer. I loved'em on my newer computer, but i dont know how to set it up on the old one.

    Any input for me??? - robinrr7@gmail.com

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