Microsoft Excel 12: Now with more flair!

The next version of Microsoft Office boasts many graphical improvements. Like some people, Microsoft seems to have confounded decoration with communication.

Office Space Flair

Productive environments separate content from presentation (consider Textile and/or Markdown) and let people concentrate on communicating.

Instead, Microsoft’s SmartArt gives you lots of choices...

Office Flair 3

...to let you do this...

Office Flair

Users are going to burn tons of hours twiddling all these different options - I’m sure I won’t be able to help myself, for that matter. Result: organizations full of users concentrating on their own self-expression, not on communicating clearly with each other.

The situation with Excel charting is even worse, as Stephen Few has recently pointed out.