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Outlook 2013 going metro on you: how to really edit contacts

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Mar-2013 11:40

I just had the most strange experience after installing Office 2013 on my laptop… Someone pointed out to me that an Anniversary date showing in my Windows Phone calendar for a contact was wrong by a couple of days, so I went into my Outlook on the laptop to update the information.

It took me almost 24 hours of talking a Microsoft friend how to actually access the Anniversary field in an existing contact. I will show you why…

Let’s create new contact, which uses a “long form” dialog like previous Outlook versions:

After saved I find my contact in Outlook and this is what I see:

Double-click the contact in the list and we now get a different, “metro short form” dialog:

Nowhere to edit the Anniversary. Surely if I entered that information in my contact card then I should be able to edit it?

I asked my Microsoft friend and he kept telling me on Twitter to edit the contact and click “Details”. But there’s no details here. Someone else then suggested I change the Contacts view from “People” to “Card” before opening the contact.

Changed from People to Card view and that’s how the list looks now:

When I double-click the contact entry to edit I then get the old style “long form” edit form, the same one used to create the contact in first place:

And indeed if I click Details I get to the information I want to change, which is what I’ve done for the last fifteen years:

So let’s check this:

  • Regardless if you are in People or Card view, you always get the “long form” when creating a new contact
  • If you are in People view you get the all hipster “metro short form” when trying to edit a contact
  • If you want to actually, you know, edit the contact with all the information in the “long form” then you have to switch to Card view before opening the contact to edit because there’s now switch before “short” and “long” forms once you start editing it.

Why didn’t I think of this? Perhaps because it’s not intuitive enough? Perhaps because it’s confusing? Even the Microsoft guy forgot to tell me that I had to switch between views. He kept telling me on Twitter “People, Contact, Details” and never mentioned that I had to switch views.

A friend on Twitter came on Microsoft’s defence saying that any upgrade project would require training, etc. But I don’t buy that. Do people seriously think John Doe walking into Dick Smith to buy a copy of Office 2013 to install on their new PC (or buying a new PC with pre-installed Office 2013) won’t get confused? Do people seriously think John Doe will buy a new PC and training to use at home? I got confused, and I use this every day, I can imagine what non-tech users will think.



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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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