Microsoft Office 2007 has a feature that allows you to keep previous versions for most programs such as Word 2003. Unfortunately, having both versions is enough of a crutch that some people haven’t given Word 2007 a good try. The excuses I’ve heard fall into two groups:
- I don’t know where my commands are on the Ribbon.
- I won’t be able to share my documents.
The first excuse has some merit. I think it’s easier for a new user to learn Word 2007 than an existing user. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has been presented with this type of problem. Some may remember switching from competing products like WordPerfect. Others may recall the switch from a DOS based word processor to one with a graphical user interface. Microsoft remembers these times and has created resources to help.
Finding the Ribbon Decoder Demo
Word 2007 biggest barrier may be the new ribbon interface. For years, we’ve been trained to look for a consistent menu structure starting with the File menu on the left and the Help menu on the right. As the thumbnail below shows, Word 2007 has neither the words “File” nor “Help” displayed.
There are two resources to the rescue. The first I’ll call the interactive decoder demo as it maps where your old functions exist on the new ribbon.
To find the Word 2007 Interactive Command Demo,
1. Press F1. The Word Help dialog appears.
2. Type “2003 commands” in the textbox
3. Select “Interactive: Word 2003 to Word 2007 command reference guide” from the results list.
Microsoft Word should start your web browser with the interactive flash demo. The page will look like Word 2003with the default toolbars. Use your mouse to click the function you wish to find on Word 2007. In my example below, I was trying to find the new location for Tools | Options. The demo pointed me to the Microsoft Office button.
One method that helped me learn the new ribbon was to keep the interactive demo open on a second monitor. I use my notebook as a second monitor. If I got stuck, I shifted to the other monitor and used the interactive demo. I also created a shortened URL for the demo at: http://snurl.com/word2007.
Another help topic you might want to print is called Reference: Locations of Word 2003 commands. The help topic provides an overview of the ribbon. Toward the bottom of the topic, you’ll see a link for the Word Ribbon Mapping Workbook. This is a large Excel file that covers all Word functions by menu. In the thumbnail below, you can see how the Edit menu commands map between Word 2003 and Word 2007
Although I created shortcuts for these resources, I would encourage you to use the built in help. Chances are that Microsoft has written a help topic for your question.
There are also 3rd party solutions although I’ve not tried them. One example is ToolBar Toggle. The program allows you to use Word’s toolbar interface along with the new Word ribbon. The company also offers a free trial.
A few people were put off by the size of Word’s ribbon. If that’s the case you might be happy to know you can minimize it by double-clicking any tab. The ribbon will shrink to just show the tab names. To expand the ribbon, double click any tab.
Saving Word 2007 Files in the Best Format
Word 2007 introduced a new file format that uses a .docx file extension. Since it is a new file extension, some people thought they couldn’t share files with users of older versions. There can be compatibility issues, but there are several ways to get around this problem.
Although Word 2007 has this new format, you can still save files in other formats such as .doc. Depending on which features you used, you may lose some functionality. If you routinely share your files with others using Word 2003, you may want to change your default Save option for the older format.
To set the default Save option to another format,
1. Click the Microsoft Office button in the top left.
2. Click the Word Options button in the lower right.
3. Click Save from the left side.
4. Select the new default from the Save files in this format: list box.
5. Click OK.
Other times, you may have used a new feature of Word 2007 such as one of the illustration options and wish to preserve them. There are several ways to do this.
1. Save the file as a PDF file. While Word 2007 doesn’t include the Save As PDF option, you can download the add-in from Microsoft Office Online.
2. Have users download the new Word Viewer which can handle .docx files.
3. If you need users with Word 2003 to edit your .docx file, they’ll need to install the Microsoft Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Word 2007 is a more robust program than its predecessors. While there may be a learning curve involved, I think you’ll enjoy the new features. I suspect you’ll also be glad you made the switch as the Office ribbon does make tasks easier.
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Last Updated (Saturday, 19 June 2010 13:48)