Microsoft Word 2007 …it’s a whole new Word!

microsoft-word-2007-1Microsoft Word 2007 is remarkable because it represents a major shift in how software programs are designed.

With the Office 2007 release, Microsoft eliminated the menu system that was introduced in Version 1.0 (released in 1989). The new interface was not met with unanimous joy. Many users feel lost without familiar menus.

However, the ribbon is here to stay. And other software makers are following the lead set by Microsoft.

The philosophy behind the change

In The Story of the Ribbon, Jensen Harris, the Group Program Manager of the Microsoft Office User Experience team, explains the evolution of the new interface. (The video is no longer available.)

Mr. Harris explains that each new version of Word added more and more menus, submenus, and commands. The software was getting so complex, that users were not able to find new features, and task panes used up most of the workspace area. He states, “The Interface was failing our users.” Something had to change.

And it did.

Introducing Microsoft Office 2007!

About this blog

This website is dedicated to Microsoft Word. However, Word cannot be taken out of context…it is an integral part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Therefore, on this blog you can find tutorials and information that apply to all Microsoft Office programs as well as Microsoft Windows tips to help you get the most out of Word.

My goal is to help you use Microsoft Word 2007 to its fullest capacity so you can be more productive.


What’s new in Microsoft Word 2007

I was stunned the first time I opened Office 2007! But I found it didn’t take long to learn how to use the new interface.

This is a brief roundup of the new features. Click the links to go to articles and tutorials about each one.

A new interface

Most Office 2007 programs host a brand new interface called the Ribbon.

The ribbon interface

The New Interface: The ribbon allows easy access to commands that used to be buried in menus and submenus.

  • Office 2007 Ribbon: Nothing has caused more dismay than the ribbon! Once you get used to it, you can work faster than with the old menu system. This five-part tutorial gets you started.
  • Office Button: another controversial feature is the Office button. Microsoft engineers included the old file menu, then hid it under a button. But it is more than a file menu! It contains links to hundreds of commands and features for using Microsoft Word 2007 and other Office programs.
  • Word Options: this menu hides contains commands for customizing how Word 2007 looks and behaves. If you don’t like the way the program works, look here to see if you can change it!
  • Quick Access Toolbar: only one toolbar remains…the Quick Access toolbar. It is customizable and quite a handy tool, especially if you are a user of a previous version.

New file extensions

Along with the new interface came new file extensions!

  • Docx: this is the new default format for Microsoft Word 2007 files. But you can still use the .doc file extension by using compatibility mode.
  • Docm: Microsoft increased security for files containing macros. Now documents containing macros have to be saved with this new file extension.
  • Dotx and Dotm: template files get a new extension, too! Read more about these special file types.

For more about the new file types and converting files, be sure to visit the file extensions section.

New time savers

The goal with the new interface is to allow workers to be more productive with their time.

Microsoft Office 2007 contains several powerful new timesaving features:

  • Office Themes: now you can change the default fonts, colors, and graphic effects with one click! Themes are a fantastic (but under-utilized) tool for quickly formatting documents.
  • Building Blocks: Word users love to use AutoText for saving time. Well, wait until you see what building blocks can do…Word 2007 takes the AutoText concept miles further!
  • Live Preview: now you can scroll through galleries and see how formatting changes look before you alter your document. This feature saves time AND headaches.

With all of these extra features and shortcuts, you might feel lost. Don’t worry…it isn’t hard to get help.

Getting help

help menuIf you can’t figure out how to use your software, I have lots of tips and tutorials on this website to help you along.

  • Word 2007 Help: sometimes you need extra help right at your fingertips. This short tutorial shows you how to access and use the Microsoft Word help files.
  • Getting Microsoft Technical Support: sometimes you need help from the source. Find tips on how to use the Microsoft support website, or how to get critical support for your business system.

Once you learn Microsoft Word 2007, you can transfer that knowledge to other Office programs or to the newest version, Word 2010.

Knowledge is never wasted!