In many of the previous versions of Word, the changes have mostly been cosmetic. In version 2007, Word is still
essentially the same program, but on the surface there have been some significant changes that in many cases
have made it easier to use.
Ribbons and Tabs
Like the other programs in the Office package, Word has gotten a new, smarter look. The most obvious change
is that the traditional Menu and Toolbars have been replaced by the new Ribbon. The Ribbon contains Ribbon
Tabs and every Tab contains buttons for the various functions that used to be located in the Menu and Toolbars.
The Ribbon is far more visual and task-oriented; it constantly adapts to your current activity.
If you are used to working with Menus and Toolbars, the Ribbon will take some getting used to, but once that
has happened you will start appreciating it. Previously, many functions required that you click your way deep into
menus and dialog boxes. In the Ribbon, many settings and functions have been pulled out, so they are more
accessible. However, there are also a few unfortunate examples of functions that have become more difficult to
use. Especially when it comes to Styles, the Ribbon should probably have been revised before publication.
But the Ribbon is still new and the idea is good. Nobody can get everything right first time, not even Microsoft,
so maybe the flaws will be fixed in time for the next version.
Where do I Find the Old Buttons?
If you have used Word for some time and just recently changed to the 2007 version, you are probably going to
have some initial problems locating the functions you are used to. This is primarily because many functions have
been redesigned in connection with implementation of the “Ribbon”. In some cases the functions have also
changed name. I am going to list the most important functions, so you can get used to the new interface as
quickly as possible.
New, Open, Save and Save As are located in the Office button. The quick Save function can also be found in
the ”Quick Access” toolbar, next to the Office button.
Cut, Copy, Paste and Paste Special are located leftmost on the Home Tab in the Ribbon. If you click at the
bottom of the large Paste button, it is the same as Paste Special.
Preview and Print are located in the Office button as sub-points to the Print menu point. I recommend that you
put them in the Quick Access toolbar, so they are easier to access.
Styles is located in the Home Tab in the Ribbon. You can modify the individual styles by right-clicking on the
buttons and choose the menu item Edit.
There is no longer a field in the Ribbon where you can just type the name of the Style, if it is not already on the
list. To find the Styles that Microsoft did not think were important, click on what I call "The Secret Button" (see
I call it ”The Secret Button” because it took me three cups of coffee to find the ”Heading 3” Style.
The Secret Button opens a list of many Styles, but if you want to see ALL the pre-designed Styles, including
“Heading 3”, click Settings and select All in the Select Styles box shown. That enables you to use any Style.
To access Columns, select the Page Setup Tab in the Ribbon, then click on the Columns button. There are some
pre-designed configurations to choose from, but if you want to control everything, you can click Custom
Columns at the bottom of the menu that appears. Now you are inside the window that previously controlled
everything about page setup.
If you like using Shortcut Keys instead of the mouse, you need to know that they work a bit differently in Office
2007 compared to previous versions.
I recommend using Shortcut Keys as they are often easier to use than the mouse. Shortcut Keys are
combinations of keyboard keystrokes that give you access to most of the functions you would otherwise select
using the mouse.
I highly recommend that you practice using Shortcuts for the functions you use most often, especially if you type
using the ten-finger system. Firstly, you can work much faster, and secondly, you reduce the risk of getting a
"mouse arm" because you can maintain a good working position.
By simply pressing the ALT key on your keyboard some small boxes with numbers or letters will be displayed
above the Quick Access Toolbar Office Button and the individual Tabs in the Ribbon. The numbers and letters
that appear correspond to the key you should press to select the function. For this you no longer need to press
the ALT key simultaneously. For example, if you press "N", the Insert Tab is displayed, and the features in this
Tab will be automatically highlighted with shortcuts. All you need to do is press what is in the small boxes
without pressing the ALT key.
Some Shortcuts contain more characters to be pressed on the keyboard. For example, the function Increase
Indent, which uses the Shortcut "AY". Here you just press A and Y in rapid succession.
To arrange everything this way makes sense for someone who uses the ten-finger system. Once you have
incorporated the new Shortcuts, you can work even more comfortably with the Shortcut Keys, since you do not have to twist your hands to reach the CTRL key or the ALT key in addition to another key.
Thankfully, the old shortcuts appear to be working still, so if you have very stubborn habits concerning functions such as Cut, Copy and Paste, you can still use the shortcuts you have always used. Personally, I have not had any problems yet.