Playing Hide & Seek with the Office Ribbon

It's 2012, and I still dislike the MS Office Ribbon. I spent a good ten minutes today trying to figure out how to automatically resize two objects in Visio 2010 to the same dimensions. Went through all the ribbon tabs one-by-one but couldn't find an option for that. The right-click context menu didn't reveal anything either. I had to hit Google to find out how to do it: View tab > Task Panes > enable Size & Position, then type the dimensions manually in the new overlay dialog.

I've had similar problems in Power Point and Word trying to find commands that I once knew how to access, but now have no idea where they are. I suppose I need to abandon my old mental model of how the commands were organized and try to start from scratch, but unlearning is hard.

It would be really useful if MS bundled an instant-search in the ribbon, similar to the Win7 start menu, where you could just type say 'resize' and it would bring up all relevant commands.

Since the command list is mostly static, MS could easily build in a simple ontology or semantic model to associate different words with the correct commands (e.g. a search for 'flip' may bring up the 'rotate' command). This would have reduced my 10 minute hunt to 5 seconds today.

Microsoft has actually developed something like, see Office Labs Search Commands. I only found this today and wish I had it before. It does pretty much what I described above, but doesn't work with Visio, and is apparently no longer supported or maintained. I really hope MS includes it as standard in the next Office/Windows. Instasearch is so much easier than trying to remember where things are!


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