What Did Happen to UI Consistency?

Although I rather like Windows Vista — I think the amount of Vista nerd rage out there is completely unwarranted — there are areas of Vista I find hugely disappointing. And for my money, nothing is more disapponting than the overall fit and finish of Vista, which is truly abysmal. It’s arguably the worst of any operating system Microsoft has ever released.

[From Coding Horror: Whatever Happened to UI Consistency?]

I am using MS Office on my Mac and one of the things that I find really irritating is that the preferences panel in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel are all dramatically different. Granted they have wildly different application functions which drives preferences but to do something as simple as set the default file format for saving documents one would think they could just adopt a single unified approach.

Here’s a rundown on the 3 main apps and setting the default file format. Interestingly, I had to do this because I was tired of people emailing me to tell me they could not “open that pptx file” and lacking any awareness of why I need the new file formats I just switched back to the old ones.

Click on the Save panel in Word “output and sharing”:


Save button in Powerpoint, which isn’t that much different from Word, but it is a really different layout:


And my favorite, the Compatibility panel under “Sharing and Privacy” in Excel because the Save panel doesn’t actually have save file format options. Also note that the other apps have compatibility options but in both Word and Powerpoint they are completely different options than in Excel: