Walt Mossberg

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Replacing the Ribbon

Q:

I’m not pleased with Microsoft’s Ribbon interface for Office. Any way to revert to the old menu format instead?

A:

When Microsoft replaced the classic menus and toolbars with the tab-based “Ribbon” at the top in the 2007 version of Office for Windows, it didn’t offer an option to keep the old approach. It still doesn’t.

(Microsoft’s Mac version of Office is an exception: It lets you opt for the old interface.)

However, some independent companies make add-on products that restore the classic interface. I haven’t tested any, but you can find them by searching for “Office classic menu.”

Q:

I need to purchase a new MacBook to replace an aging machine. On the new machine I will need to run Windows. I was reviewing your article on Parallels Desktop for Mac. Will this application run adequately on a MacBook Air? Apple sales consultants suggest that it will not and that I should instead purchase a MacBook Pro.

A:

In my experience, Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac, which allows you to simultaneously run Windows and Mac programs, runs perfectly fine on a MacBook Air. I have used it on an Air many times to run Windows programs like Internet Explorer, Quicken and Microsoft Office for Windows.

Q:

It used to be that leaving a phone plugged in too long supposedly damaged the battery. But with the newer devices, I have gotten into the habit of plugging it in before bed and leaving it plugged in all night. In general is this OK for today’s batteries or do I need to get up in the middle of the night and unplug?

A:

I do the same thing with my phones and I don’t believe this damages the battery.

I have tested many, many phones in recent years and have never seen a warning against this practice. Some modern chargers and phones are designed to cut off the power once the battery is charged, both to protect the battery and to save energy.

You can check with the manufacturer to be sure.

Write to Walt at walt.mossberg@wsj.com


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