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Why does PTC insist on Ribbon Interface? Over 40% strongly dislike!


Why does PTC insist on Ribbon Interface? Over 40% strongly dislike!

Why does PTC insist on pushing the Ribbon Interface in Creo?


I personally feel that the Ribbon Interface doesn't work well in 3D CAD software. CAD softwares are geared to use the mouse as the main input device. The demands of everyday CAD work requires users to click away on the interface. For MS Office Suites, the Ribbon Interface works well. This is because the main input device for these tools is the keyboard. People spend more time typing away and uses the mouse seldomly to format what they have typed. And when they use the mouse, the selections are mostly under one tab. Has PTC conducted any real world usuability studies?


The Ribbons Interface doesn't make Creo easier to use. It's a smoke and mirrors interface. What I mean by this is that it is an interface that may make Creo look like an MS Office product which PTC thinks will make the public think that Creo is finally "Easy to Use". This interface doesn't adress the true usability issue. It's the same tool with a different skin. PTC needs to overhaul their interface from ground up and provide solutions that is truly innovative.


I understand that PTC's management made the decision to license the Ribbon Interface from Microsoft but these management people don't have any clue on how to use the product. When speaking to people from PTC regard the issues with the Ribbons Interface, it sounds like this conversation isn't even open for discussion. They have a lot invested in the interface and managment have given them directives that nobody wants to challenge.


Microsoft shouldn't be a company that PTC should look at for inspiration. What is the last innovative product that Microsoft made? Surface Tablet?


I feel that PTC has dropped the ball and have ignore its customers needs. When going over the polls in this discussion forum, I find that over 40% of the users don't like the ribbon interface. This is a staggering figure.


I'd like to hear what others have to say about this.


Yes, you are correct. I meant feature creation using sketcher.

I appreciate all your efforts to help out the community. This is the tool set that is available and we have to try to figure out a way to best utilize the tool.

What you are showing is a work around. It's not the intended functionality. And it's not elegant and doesn't work in all circumstances.

You have shown that you place the same icons across multiple menus. But depending on which tab is active, doesn't the position change under the ribbon? I want my Analysis feature to be locked in place so people could use their muscle memory to quickly find the icon based on location. For example, when people want to create a new file, many people know that the default location of the New Documents icon is usually located on the top left corner in many applications.

Also, what do you do if you want to measure a distance between two point when you are out of sketcher but in the "Extrude Tab." I may want to measure something before typing in a value for the blind depth. I couldn't find a way to customize this tab.

Thank you for the information on the icon size and the hiding of command labels. Change the icon size and the hiding of the labels are a pain in the butt. You have to change icon sizes one at a time. The hiding of the label could be done at each tab level. This is only an annoyance but not a deal breaker. However, the deal breaker is I can't reconfigure the default icon sets. There is no way to drag the helical sweep icon out to the top level of the Shapes group. Also, there is no way to resize each group window. This causes the icons to get clustered together really tightly and is hard on the eye.

Yes, PTC didn't think about the usability.

I see your point about being out of sketcher and wanting to measure. Its a shame they don't have a measure function built into the drop down box (until next, etc) where you could do a quick measure and have the result populate the field. I'd love to have that.

I also see what you mean about the helical sweep. The only way I was able to get around this with other commands (yes, another work around) was to uncheck the current group and create a new group with the exact icons I wanted. Positioning the groups for your muscle memory is something you could probably get close, but not exact since the groups can be different widths.

I agree that not being able to configure the default icon sets is a pain. It's as if they give you the ability to customize, but not change what they think is best. Can you imagine how long it took me to coordinate the two modeling panels (regular and activated assembly part)? I was definitely cursing at that point. I just had to commit to take the time to get it the way I wanted.

I started doing this type of work back in '89 on CADDS 4X. Being a lefty in a right handed world, I drive the mouse with my left hand. I hated that the menu was always on the right. I recompiled the menu so that it would be on the left side. Made my life easier, and CADDS had a very nice icon layout that made sense (at least in my opinion). Then there was SDRC I-DEAS Master Series, where there was zero customization, but at least all of the commands were laid out in a meaningful manner. I started on Pro/E with 2000, and hated (and still do) the menu manager. I guess that's why I was happy for Wildfire and happier for Creo with the ribbon.

Oddly enough, since it was mentioned here, I'm also knee deep with the Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, AE) and for all of the nice things about Photoshop's interface, go have a look at Dreamweaver. That one's a real mess.


People at your company are lucky to have someone like you to support them.

Imagine those people who do not have much experience with PTC products or those who migrate from a different CAD system. They will be at a total loss in terms of how to configure the interface. This stuff only makes sense if you've been around this system for a while. From my experience, most will use the out of the box configuration.

PTC needs to make the interface simple so that users could be most efficient out of the box. Right now, advanced users have to mess around with the interface to make the software easier to use. And in some cases, you can't even adress the usability issue. A successful interface is one that you don't have to tweak. The current interface is far from it.

Thanks for the kind words. Now, off to pushing for the Mac OSX version... Have a great weekend.

You can also add the measure command to the Quick Access Toolbar above the ribbon. You still have to add it for different areas as part, asm shtmtl etc but it can be accesssible at the same location.

We add commonly used commands in all areas to the QAT.

Once again, adding items to QAT is a modification that a user has to do. And like you said, it doesn't work in all situations.

Wouldn't think it would be great for PTC to have an interface that is laid out so well that 90% of the users would not have to tweak the default?

Right now, the current interface isn't friendly to anyone.

Agreed. It's by far the worst I've seen in using it from v15.

The ribbon is crap, just like Microsoft. I need more drawing area, not more menu's to drill thru. I have reluctantly switched to Creo from SolidWorks, where I customized my toolbar so I could work faster, and with less clicks. Creo uses too many mouse clicks to do everything. It just wears your fingers out.

Oh, and don't get me started on their worthless offshore technical help. Really, can't I get USA based technical support..

After using Creo, Pro-e or whatever PTC has named it this week, I think one user summed it up nicely.

"I hate Pro-e with the passion of a thousand burning suns..."

Dear Community,

Please show support for this thread by keeping it alive.

Please share with us your issues with the interface. YouTube video with a link would be great! Let us know of your work arounds if there are any. And let us hear what you have to say as to what you would like to see as an improvement over the Ribbon UI.

Let's try refrain from saying hateful words. Let's try to be objective as much as possible. Instead of saying how you dislike the Ribbon UI. Let's collect data such as hours of decreased productivity, increase in mouse clicks, time spent managing the UI, etc.

I'd rather have a command prompt.

The ribbon bar is pretty good. All the commands are in one area of the screen. Nice and simple.

one of the most positive comments on creo 2.0 ribbon interface so far..great..!

I played around with hiding the ribbon and just using the Quick Access toolbar a little bit.

The first hurdle was how to make a tab current so certain commands would work, mostly the Table tab in drawings and Annotate in modeling (you have to have the Annotate tab active to get the Detail Tree to show and Table tab has to be current for Table commands).

I solved that easily with a mapkeys using the Alt+ keystroke and assigned it to an icon to switch tabs. In image 1 and 2 I highlighted them.

It works for the most part except when you do anything that has a Dashboard, the tab doesn't show and it auto hides as you click options or commands in the Dashboard. Thinking on a way to workaround that.

One thing I had overlooked is you can right click on the name of a Group in a tab, add it to the Quick bar and it makes it into one icon on the toolbar with a flyout. So it's really easy to get a lot of the most used into it.

So if PTC could add and tweak some options it is totally possible to get back to that Wildfire feeling.

This is kind of obvious stuff maybe, but I thought I'd share.




5-Regular Member


I got it like that all the functions that are used in one band

Having a widescreen monitor clearly opens up the possibilities!

A ribbon interface compared to a marking menuis is like a donkey and cart compared to a ferrari.

A customized Marking Menu is very easy to remember. They are also surprisingly easy to remember when modified. I am not one to remember small shortcuts but something about using a Marking menu just is easy and intuitive. As mentioned, if you want to see how efficient and fast a marking menu is, just watch a Maya user work. Their Marking Menu can be divided into three areas. Each is in effect when different combinations of the SHIFT– CTRL –ATL keys are pressed if I remember correctly. Maya has the best Marking menu setup on the planet. That is why it is the undisputed leader for advanced 3D work outside of ID and Engineering work.

Another one of the most important features of a Marking Menu is that it allows the toolbars to be reduced in size or even eliminated. This allows for more space to see the model, a super critical need when doing advanced surfacing.

Keyboard commands cannot touch marking menus for speed because the fingers have to stretch to get more than about a dozen commands. This usually also requires looking down at the keyboard. Once that is done, time and some visual concentration is lost. This is where I personally lose my desire to use more than a couple keyboard commands.

There is a marking menu in Creo’s Freestyle tool but as far as I have heard, no immediate plans to take it further than there. That menu is good but not very big and I think it is not customizable but am not sure because I have only recently picked up Creo. After checking it further, It is generally nicely setup but a little slow to work with when drop down menus are accessed.

Remember what I said, watch a good Maya user blaze away and you & Creo will be a convert, hopefully.

I've often wondered if they have a patent on that interface because no one else (that I know of) has implemented anything close to that.

I tried faking it in Rhino but it got to involved.

The marking menu always seemed faster than anything else out. Would love to see it in more programs.

Please consider voting for this idea if you have access:

Floating GENERAL Toolbar


I just have a question,

What would happen to the majority 60% ( me included) of users that like the ribbon?

Forgive me if this has already come up, I admittedly have not read the entire thread.

This thread keeps coming up and I've always wondered about the 40% figure, so I re-read the original post and found this:

John Pynkel wrote:

... When going over the polls in this discussion forum, I find that over 40% of the users don't like the ribbon interface. This is a staggering figure.

I'd like to hear what others have to say about this.

It seems that this is just an observation of the OP from the posts on this forum. Several thoughts:

  1. This is not exactly a scientific or reliable study.
  2. 40% is still a minority.
  3. This is only one forum, there are at least two other active forums of PTC users.
  4. Forums are biased toward users with a gripe. People don't come to a forum, generally, to sing the praises of the software, car or whatever the forum caters to. They come with a complaint or a problem to solve. So, the people without issues will be underrepresented.
  5. With any UI change, a given number of users are going to be unhappy.

Frankly, given the nature of forums and the nature of UI changes, if there are only 40% of the people here unhappy with the ribbon, I'd say that's a success. What this is saying is of the group of users unhappy enough to log on to a forum to complain, only 40% are complaining about the ribbon.

Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

You know, 92% of all statistics are made up on the spot!!!

I'd actually say that number is low Doug. I know plenty of people that hate it but aren't even ON the forum. If the people that hate the ribbon are the majority, even at 40%, then it's a dismal failure.

Having just gotten in to the pro/Creo world at Creo.

I have to say, that the OLDER the menus are, the more they seem to get the job done, instead of looking "pretty" and confusing

Agreed. The older menus are function over form. I think they're earing menus now for the younger generation who prefer pretty interfaces over actually getting anything done....


And I know plenty of people that like/love it that aren't even on this forum too. So who's to say which one of us is right? For the record I am not on Creo but if it's anything like Office 2010 then I will hate it.

22-Sapphire I

Well, considering the power users I know all hate it........

Maybe for the casual, barely competent Pro/E user, it might be fine....


It's been obvious for who is the ribbon good for.

Well, I like it. I've been using Pro/E for 17 years, I think that makes me a power user.

Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

I think you're the lone exception my friend.

Can you say the drawing ribbon actually GAINS you time? If so, you're TRULY the only one. And if so, I need to know your tricks!