Office Tools of Expression

One of my favorite posts that I’ve ever written was Excel Pile, about people’s propensity for using Office tools like Microsoft Excel to track mundane parts of their lives, or even as tools of artistic expression. From that post three years ago:

[A]lmost every one of my friends has, at one point or another, made at least one Excel spreadsheet to document some arcane aspect of their lives. The number of consecutive sunny days, the types and prices of the cups of coffee they drink, or just straightforward charts about their boss’s mood. There’s no end to the ways one can misuse desktop applications in one’s personal life.

Art of Office - Excel Pixelfreak.png

The team behind Microsoft Office for the Mac has built a site called Art of Office around exactly this concept. I had intended, with that original Excel Pile post, to make a site (called Office Pile, actually) which would let people share and collaborate around these kinds of expressive documents, and it’s exciting to see that someone has done exactly that. At Microsoft, no less! They describe the site well:

Art of Office is for Mac users pushing the boundaries of what can be done in Mac Office. Explore. Contribute. Reuse. Remix. Add your best work. Take what you like (giving credit where it’s due) and make it yours.

Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo created some postcards in MacWord, Phil Torrone made a 361-slide PowerPoint deck of illegal primes, and Pixelfreak made (what else?) pixel art in Excel. I dig it.

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