A lot of people are involved with helping to produce documentation and tools to help ensure a smooth transition to Office 12 and the new user experience.  Although the data indicate that people will be able to be productive even as they first sit down in front of the new product, we want to make sure that every "T" is crossed and every "i" dotted.

With that in mind, we're trying out a number of different ways of presenting migration information to see what people find useful.  One thing we wanted to try was to generate a tool that would help people interactively map commands between the menus-based UI of Office 2003 and the Ribbon-based UI in Office 12.

The idea wouldn't be that this was a primary reference, because we really believe people will be able to find the features they're looking for very quickly in the Ribbon.  It's more like a security blanket--so that you absolutely know that if you somehow get stuck, you have a friendly way out.

Your Office 12 security blanket

We've created a beta version of this mapping tool to have people try out along with Beta 1.  It starts by showing a mockup of Word 2003.  You can interact with the top-level menus and the Standard and Formatting toolbars.  Hovering over a command reveals a tooltip with a description of where its located in the new UI.  You can click on the command to get a visual representation of exactly where it is in the Word 12 interface.

I think it's a neat example of the work people are doing to try to make sure the migration to Office 12 is a smooth one, and if people find it useful, we may consider developing it further.

In any case, we're all ears for more ideas on what we can provide along with the product to complement the transition experience.