“The Most Frequently Used Features in Microsoft Office”

19 Feb 2008 - 5:43am
6 years ago
10 replies
1082 reads
Jens Meiert
2004

Thought this Google OS post [1] hasn't been posted but would be of interest:

> the most used features in Microsoft Word 2003 […]:
>
> 1. Paste (11% of the usage)
> 2. Save (5.5% of the usage)
> 3. Copy
> 4. Undo
> 5. Bold
>
> These five commands account for 32% of all the command usage
> in Microsoft Word 2003 […]

Probably unsurprisingly, these numbers appear to show some kind of “Pareto principle” usage (“20 % of the application commands are used in 80 % of the time”). Does your experience support this?

[1] http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/02/most-frequently-used-features-in.html

--
Jens Meiert
http://meiert.com/en/

Comments

19 Feb 2008 - 7:13am
Dave Malouf
2005

hmmm? is missing. I live on backspace. ;)

but otherwise, it seems about right to me. I do do a lot of table
work in most of my word docs, but I imagine that is an industry
thing.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26088

19 Feb 2008 - 7:13am
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

From the same article:

"Beyond the top 10 commands or so, however, the curve flattens out
considerably. The percentage difference in usage between the #100
command ("Accept Change") and the #400 command ("Reset Picture") is
about the same in difference between #1 and #11 ("Change Font Size"),"
according to Microsoft's data."

So suppose you took care of the 5 most used commands, a far bigger
challenge is to organise a flat (in terms of usage frequency) list of
500 commands. And that's why such sort of analytics is not
particularly helpful, and you really need to go beyond "commands" and
look at the bigger picture of how people are using a word processor to
accomplish some task.

Cheers,
Alex

On Feb 19, 2008 11:43 AM, Jens Meiert <jens.meiert at erde3.com> wrote:
> Thought this Google OS post [1] hasn't been posted but would be of interest:
>
> > the most used features in Microsoft Word 2003 […]:
> >
> > 1. Paste (11% of the usage)
> > 2. Save (5.5% of the usage)
> > 3. Copy
> > 4. Undo
> > 5. Bold
> >
> > These five commands account for 32% of all the command usage
> > in Microsoft Word 2003 […]
>
> Probably unsurprisingly, these numbers appear to show some kind of "Pareto principle" usage ("20 % of the application commands are used in 80 % of the time"). Does your experience support this?
>
>
> [1] http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/02/most-frequently-used-features-in.html
>
> --
> Jens Meiert
> http://meiert.com/en/
>
>
>
>
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19 Feb 2008 - 7:28am
Claude Knaus
2007

> > 2. Save (5.5% of the usage)

This is the one which worries me. I find myself hitting Ctrl-S every
few sentences or seconds.

How can software restore the trust of the user?

-- Claude

19 Feb 2008 - 7:44am
Jens Meiert
2004

> > http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/02/most-frequently-used-features-in.html

Alexander Baxevanis wrote:
> So suppose you took care of the 5 most used commands, a far bigger
> challenge is to organise a flat (in terms of usage frequency) list of
> 500 commands. And that's why such sort of analytics is not
> particularly helpful, and you really need to go beyond "commands" and
> look at the bigger picture of how people are using a word processor to
> accomplish some task.

That's for certain, interpretation is “limited” here.

Claude Knaus wrote:
> > > 2. Save (5.5% of the usage)
>
> This is the one which worries me. I find myself hitting Ctrl-S every
> few sentences or seconds.
>
> How can software restore the trust of the user?

In this case by providing auto-save, presumably, long overdue [1] anyway.

[1] http://meiert.com/en/blog/20070625/a-plea-for-better-software-provide-auto-save/

--
Jens Meiert
http://meiert.com/en/

19 Feb 2008 - 8:55am
Bill DeRouchey
2010

> the most used features in Microsoft Word 2003 […]:
>
> 1. Paste (11% of the usage)
> 2. Save (5.5% of the usage)
> 3. Copy
> 4. Undo
> 5. Bold

That's funny. I would've thought that this list should have started...
The most used features in Microsoft Word 2003 are […]:
1. Typing in words
2. Reading words

This is a perfect example of the challenge with software. They tend to
forget why they were made in the first place. They lose their essence.
Microsoft Word is for writing and reading. Everything beyond that just
gets in the way. I bet that 95% of what we do in Word existed in Word
circa 1990.

All those extra features and toolbars and status dealies put you in
the mode of "making a document" instead of "writing something
brilliant." They distract you from what it says to what it looks like.
I do it all the time. I'll be typing and think, "This should be
indented differently. This is a larger point size." It gets in the
way.

This is why I love products like WriteRoom. It is pure writing and
reading. It removes every distraction. You see no menu bar, no
buttons. It's just you, a blank white screen, and words. That's it.
When I use WriteRoom, I actually work better. I focus on the words.
That's the feature I want from a "word processor".

Don't get me wrong: I couldn't live without Save, Undo, Copy, Paste
(probably in that order). But in reality I could chuck everything
else.

Bill

19 Feb 2008 - 9:37am
kimbieler
2007

I use CopyWrite (http://www.bartastechnologies.com/products/
copywrite/) for fiction writing. It's got a full-screen mode that is
very calming, as you say, and it's otherwise quite minimalist.

Oddly, at work, I often find myself using an email window to jot down
notes or compose forum posts or whatever (FWIW, I'm on a Mac). Then I
just save them into the drafts folder if I want to file them for
future reference.

On Feb 19, 2008, at 9:55 AM, Bill DeRouchey wrote:

> This is why I love products like WriteRoom. It is pure writing and
> reading. It removes every distraction. You see no menu bar, no
> buttons. It's just you, a blank white screen, and words. That's it.
> When I use WriteRoom, I actually work better. I focus on the words.
> That's the feature I want from a "word processor".
>

-- Kim

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Kim Bieler Graphic Design
www.kbgd.com
c. 240-476-3129
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

19 Feb 2008 - 10:06am
Dave Malouf
2005

On the document writing front, I LOVE using Buzzword.com
This webApp is a great example of elegant and engaging design. Not
too much, and not too little.

I love this tool.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26088

20 Feb 2008 - 12:16am
Murli Nagasundaram
2007

The problem with (and yet, advantage of) software is its near-infinite
plasticity. In the physical world, a device such as a bicycle attains
design maturity (in terms of both form and features) fairly quickly and
remains largely unchanged thereafter. [If anything, designers try to
simplify its form even further.] Different sorts of vehicles with 3, 4, or
more wheels are created to meet specific needs given that physical designs
are not quite so plastic. Of course, from time-to-time, designers try to
develop 'hybrid, multi-purpose vehicles' that try to interpolate between
multiple vehicular forms to meet a broader spectrum of needs.
Design evolution and integration in software is achieved far more rapidly --
and with greater ease, from a developer's standpoint. Humans, on the other
hand, have not yet evolved to easily deal with (cognitively, emotionally as
well as physically) with such immense shape-shifting plasticity in the
physical world (which is why shape-shifting beings are met with fear and
anxiety).

So there is a wide gap between what is achievable through technology and
what humans can comfortably work with.

Alexander mentioned the problem of organizing 500+ commands. The answer is,
you don't organize it. Not in the conventional way, anyway. Anybody who
had downloaded Mosaic back in 1992-93 and surfed over to Yahoo would have
found (at one point) an organized list of about 50 websites -- that's all
there was at that time. Yahoo continued with that model -- creating
organized lists -- and then added a search feature when the web exploded
beyond the point where organized lists of any kind become virtually
impossible. Remember the time when there were these things called 'Web
Portals' that were supposed to simplify your surfing experience? Where the
heck did those go?

When Google entered there scene, there were already a gazillion websites.
Organization wasn't even an option. The solution was to provide the best
kind of search facility possible so that you could find (in theory, anyway),
exactly what you were looking for even if you didn't know the precise terms
to use. While we are still not at the point where clicking on 'I'm feeling
lucky' will take you to exactly where you want to go, the Google model has
worked very well. Used to be that one had to grab domain names that matched
your corporate name precisely. Now, all you need to do is to type in words
that relate somehow to the corporation and, more often than not, the right
link is there right on the first page of results.

So, I think search-based feature access might be the way to deal with a huge
feature list. The day I first accessd Google, I fell in love with it and
left Yahoo search forever. It's true that I rarely use advanced search, but
I rarely need it, anyway. Word processor designers can learn a lot from
Google.

Murli

20 Feb 2008 - 3:25am
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

On Feb 20, 2008 6:16 AM, Murli Nagasundaram <murliman at gmail.com> wrote:
> Alexander mentioned the problem of organizing 500+ commands. The answer is,
> you don't organize it. Not in the conventional way, anyway.

Well, that was mostly a rhetoric question :) I agree that search is a
good idea in many cases: after installing Launchy
(http://www.launchy.net/) on my Windows machine and Quicksilver
(http://www.blacktree.com/) on my Mac, I have only needed to go back
to my Start Menu/Applications folder to find an app that I don't use
very often and whose name I can't quite remember.

And that is actually one of the issues with search: how can if find
something if you don't know what you want? As somebody mentioned
above, there are people who have been using Word for ages, and would
still create a heading manually by changing font size etc. instead of
using a style. I can't see how search would let them discover commands
that can help them work in a better way.

There are systems like LaTeX that make it much more difficult to
fiddle with fonts/sizes/bold/italic etc. individually and provide very
convenient shortcuts for applying styles. There is also a wealth of
templates/plugin that can really simplify many common workflows. But
when most Word users are faced with such a system, they can't find
they "Bold" button, they scream, and run away :) I wonder what would
take to ensure a smoother transition between these two alternatives?

20 Feb 2008 - 9:57am
Claude Knaus
2007

> Claude Knaus wrote:
> > > > 2. Save (5.5% of the usage)
> >
> > This is the one which worries me. I find myself hitting Ctrl-S every
> > few sentences or seconds.
> >
> > How can software restore the trust of the user?
>
> In this case by providing auto-save, presumably, long overdue [1] anyway.
>
> [1] http://meiert.com/en/blog/20070625/a-plea-for-better-software-provide-auto-save/

I see two problems with auto-save:

1. It has to work with every application. As a user, I don't bother
checking which applications have auto-save or not to change my
behavior accordingly.
2. Even if auto-save happens periodically, the last few changes may
still get lost.

There is also a general problem with saving: Is it a snapshot with
full revision control, or do I loose my last version? Again, it should
be uniform across all applications.

Even if all applications would suddenly start to behave properly, once
the damage is done, it is difficult to regain the trust.

I will be hitting Ctrl-S for a while...

-- Claude

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