Credit the Office team at Microsoft for becoming the surprise hit of PDC (Professional Developer Conference 2005 (see my exhaustive coverage): Despite being billed as a coming out party for Windows Vista (see my activity center), PDC 2005 was instead a showcase for Office 12, Microsoft's late-2006 rendition of its classic office productivity suite. In an era of increased competition from OpenOffice.org and StarOffice 8, critics had charged that there was very little anyone could do with an office productivity suite. After all, they argued, word processing is word processing. And with OpenOffice.org taking on the Office 2003 look and feel, that argument seemed correct. Microsoft, the story went, was doomed to watching its competitors slowly catch up.

The Office 12 user interface has changed all that. Making a bold move--rather than "painting the pig" as they had with previous versions--Microsoft elected to dramatically change the Office user interface for the first time ever. It seems the menu and toolbar-based interface had become obsolete somewhere along the way. I'll have a lot more to write about this in the near future. But for now, I wanted to present some quick screenshot galleries so you can get an idea of where Microsoft is heading as it drives towards Office 12 Beta 1. Here, then, are my first Office 12 (pre-beta) screenshot galleries. (Note that many of the Office 12 applications shown here had not been switched to the new UI at the time they were created.)


Part 1: Install

Part 2: Word 12

Part 3: Excel 12
 

Part 4: PowerPoint 12

Part 5: Outlook 12

Part 6: FrontPage 12
 

Part 7: OneNote 12

Part 8: Project 12

Part 9: Visio 12
 

Part 10: Publisher 12

Part 11: InfoPath 12

Part 12: Office 12 on Vista