A great deal of the time spent in an Office development schedule after Beta 1 is put towards addressing feedback collected through the use of the product, both in our private beta program and through other research.

One of the key areas in which we continue to make improvements is the Quick Access Toolbar.

You may remember that the Quick Access Toolbar is the customizable place in the UI in which you can store frequently-used features so that they're always a single click away (even when the Ribbon is closed!)

Probably my favorite improvement to the Quick Access Toolbar ("QAT") in the Office 2007 Beta 1 Technical Refresh is the ability to add Ribbon groups to it.

That's right--just like you would right-click a command to add it to the QAT, you can now right-click a group to add the whole group to the QAT as a single icon. The group is added as a "popup group" which kind of works like a menu in that it pops down, you can use the controls in the group, and then it disappears back out of sight. As with Ribbon groups in general, the 2-D layout puts features closer to your mouse cursor than a flat list, and the layouts will be familiar because they're the exact ones used in the Ribbon itself.


Adding groups to the Quick Access Toolbar - Click to view full picture

This works great for packing a large number of features into a very small space, and it's more convenient than adding each feature individually. Some power users have indicated they plan to use the feature to enable them to take advantage of the improved organization and layout of the Ribbon while not needing to have it open all of the time.

It's just one example of a broadly useful feature which came directly from the feedback on Beta 1.