Ever wish you had the ear of the employees who work on Microsoft Office? For all those whose work lives and breathes Office, here’s your chance to make yourself heard. Two enterprising Microsoft employees have created MakeOfficeBetter.com, an unofficial outlet for ideas that will improve the world’s most popular office suite.
Like the White House project that started up in March, the site is basically a clone of Digg’s functionality, even if it isn’t using that exact software. By logging in with your OpenID or signing up, you can submit new ideas and vote up favorites.
Normally, this wouldn’t be news. If you’ve got an idea or complaint, why not just go to Get Satisfaction or contact Microsoft support?
But while this site is not an official Microsoft project, it is the project of Microsoft employees who work on the team doing actual development of Office. Specifically, Steve Zaske is Product Planner for Office.
Microsoft Office might be frustrating and backwards for some, and companies like Google and Zoho are certainly trying to entice those who have issues over to their side. But the vast majority of enterprise people still spend much of their time within Microsoft Office. That makes any chance to sway what the developers do with the next release a very big deal indeed.
So How Do We Make Office Better?
The site breaks down into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and OneNote. As of 11:30 PST, here are the issues with Office overall that have received the most votes:
Apparently, Microsoft really needs to synchronize Outlook Notes and Tasks. With about 30 votes, it’s the most popular idea to date. The second issue is that Microsoft needs to improve the HTML support in Outlook, which actually uses Word to render HTML email, if you can believe it.
The last of the top five issues include detaching the Outlook UI from the network thread(s), improving the RSS reader in Outlook, and adding more bulleted formatting options in Word.
While some of these are pretty critical, we know there have got to be more pressing problems with Office than new kinds of bullet styles. If you’ve got a feature that you’ve always wanted in the next edition of Microsoft Office, don’t waste the chance to make it happen.