At a Glance
Note: This review addresses an earlier version of the software. The current version supports Windows 7 and Office 2010.
There's a lot to like about Microsoft Office 2007's ribbon-based interface, but it can get confusing. With all of the features inside Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, it's easy to get lost inside those ribbons, trying to remember which one has the feature you need right now.
That's where Search Commands, an Office add-in from Microsoft Office Labs, comes in. True, this add-in puts yet another ribbon in the overcrowded interface--but this is the ribbon you can go to for anything you can't find in the others. Simply type a keyword into the field on the ribbon's left edge, and up come some likely commands.
Search Commands doesn't always deliver perfect results. When I searched in Word for autocorrect, the first icon to appear had the promising caption "Set AutoCorrect Options." But all it did was bring me to the Word Options dialog box. The third icon, called "AutoCorrect Options," took me where I needed to go. That's still a lot easier than bringing up Help.
It's more difficult if you don't remember the feature's name, but with a little guessing, Search Commands can still help in these situations.
Note: This download is supported only on systems running Windows XP or Vista, but I ran it on Windows 7 without any problems. The program doesn't work in Office 2010 (it won't install if it can't find Office 2007), and no similar program has been announced. This is, after all, not a commercial program but the result of a lab experiment.