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Microsoft workers seek Office suggestions

Inspired by Dell's IdeaStorm site, the unofficial MakeOfficeBetter.com lets people suggest product improvements, and rank those suggestions.

Two Microsoft employees have unveiled a crowd-sourcing Web site inviting suggestions for how Microsoft Office could be improved.

Got a suggestion for a better Office? Here's your chance to be heard. ZDNet UK

Steve Zaske, a product planner on the Office development team, wrote in a blog post Monday that the site, MakeOfficeBetter.com, was inspired by Dell's IdeaStorm site. On both sites, the public can submit suggestions for product improvements, and other people rank the submissions to establish their popularity and priority.

"I'm a huge fan of crowd-sourcing, and love Dell's IdeaStorm website, so I thought I'd build one for Office," Zaske wrote, adding that he and Office software design engineer Luke Foust had disabled the site's captcha identity verification system "in an attempt to make the site as easy as possible" and to see whether "trolls will ruin it for everyone."

At the time of writing, the top suggestion on MakeOfficeBetter.com was to improve the HTML support in Outlook--a proposal made by Zaske himself. This was followed by a call for PDF documents to be readable in Word.

"Although we are employed by Microsoft, this is not an official Microsoft website," the site's home page reads. "You should not expect an official response from Microsoft by posting an idea here, but we'll do our best to get the ideas posted here in front of the right people within the Office development team."

ZDNet UK approached Microsoft for comment, but had received no reply at the time of writing.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.