Whilst I love Office 2007 – its snazzy new features and organised tabs are far better than the previous version - but not everybody can get on with them. This is understandable, since we’ve all been brought up with menu bars and toolbars, making it difficult to adapt when such a different approach comes along. In addition, there are times when the old way of doing things is just faster and easier. To combat this, I went gallivanting around the Internet to find some software that would let me use old menus when I wanted, but also keep the snazzy new tabs, and I found that there are a few addons to get the classic look back in Office 2007, but they’ll set you back some of your hard-earned money. Being the cheapskate that I am, I kept hunting until I found a free version, which comes in the form of a German product – UBitMenu. (I’ve linked to the English translated page). The good news is that it’s free for personal use; the bad news is that there’s a cost if you’re planning on rolling it out large-scale – such as at a business or school.
The software adds a tab to the Office 2007 ribbon tabs entitled ‘Menu’, which contains the classic ‘File’ ‘Edit’ etc, menus, and the standard toolbars that you’ve got used to from older versions of Office. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the software works extremely well; the installation took less than a few seconds, and when I loaded up Word to test it out, I had a tab that offered me the old layout of menus and buttons, without replacing my beloved tabs. It works with all Office software in which the old menus were done away with and replaced with a ribbon – so that’s Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, though it doesn’t work with Outlook. The other Office applications (such as Publisher) still use the menu bars in 2007, so it’s not needed there.
There’s very little I criticise with this great bit of software – it’s a very small download and it fulfulls its task perfectly. My only suggestion for improvement would be implementing the ability to alter the existing toolbars and add new ones. I know a certain ICT teacher that will be very excited by this smashing bit of kit. Whilst I’m on the subject, next time, I’ll be reviewing another exciting Office addon that makes life much easier.
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