Microsoft chief software architect Bill Gates introduced new features to be included in the next versions of Microsoft Office and Windows at the company’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles this week.
The first public demo of the next version of the Microsoft Office collaboration suite, code-named “Office 12”, revealed a newly designed user interface (UI).
Gates said Microsoft intended to tightly integrate Office 12 and the new Windows Vista operating system with the company’s .Net web services platform to help deliver new features and business applications to users.
Gates said that the improved visualisation of data and tasks, demonstrated by the new UI in both Office and Vista, was key to making it easier for users to get the most out of their systems.
The Microsoft chief executive said the company intended to “make it easy for people to visualise information coming from any location”.
New UI features in Office will enable users to access tools and solutions in the suite that are already in the software, but which are difficult to tap into with current versions, said Microsoft.
A visual toolbar for instance will be included in Office, so that users not totally familiar with what is contained in the traditional drop down menus, can more easily find solutions.
Similar enhancements will be introduced to Windows Vista. Both packages are expected to become commercially available in the second half of next year.