Getting to Know Office 2007 - 25 Apr 2007

Answers to your questions about the new Microsoft Office 2007 system

I liked the previous Microsoft Office Word feature that let me view and manage styles from a pane alongside my document. Can I duplicate this functionality in Word 2007?
Yes, you can! In the Styles section of the ribbon, in the lower right corner, you'll see the Styles dialog box launcher, which Figure 1 shows. It's a small button with an arrow pointing down and to the right. Click that button and a popup Styles dialog will appear (or use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Ctrl+Shift+S). Double-click the title bar of the floating dialog box, and it will "dock" as a task pane.

Where did Microsoft Document Imaging go?
This tool, which lets you work with scanners from within Microsoft Office applications, is still available but doesn't install by default. To install it, do the following:

  1. Navigate to Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs.
  2. In the Currently installed programs list, click the Office 2007 version that you've installed.
  3. Click Change.
  4. Click Add or Remove features, then click Continue.
  5. Expand Office Tools.
  6. Click Microsoft Office Document Imaging, then click Run all from My Computer.
  7. Click Continue and follow the prompts to finish installing the new tool.

How can I convert my trial version of Microsoft Office 2007 system to the full, released version?
Office 2007 lets you enter a valid product key to convert your trial version to a full version without reinstallation. From inside any Office 2007 application, do the following:

  1. Click the Office Button in the upper left corner of the Office applications.
  2. Select Options (e.g., Word Options).
  3. In the resulting dialog box, select Resources.
  4. Select Activate Office and follow the prompts from there. Have your product key ready.

Just so you aren't surprised, even after activating you'll see a message in the Resources section that says Activation is required to continue using all the features in this product, and the Activate button remains enabled. Ahhh… software!

Because the Ribbon can't be customized in Word 2007, where can I put shortcuts to frequently used commands?
Some third-party developer could make a mint by creating an easy way for users to create a custom section of the Ribbon UI, but for now the Ribbon remains sadly non-configurable. However, there's a tiny piece of real estate next to the Office button called the Quick Access Toolbar, and you can add commands to this toolbar. Just right-click almost any item on the Ribbon, and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar (for individual items) or Add Gallery to Quick Access Toolbar (for categories and galleries of items). You can also right-click the Quick Access Toolbar and choose Customize Quick Access Toolbar. From there, you can locate commands, grouped into options in the Choose commands from drop-down menu, and add them to the toolbar. Here are some of my favorite commands to add:

  • Print (from the Office Menu group): I prefer the Print command over the Quick Print command, because plain-old Print gives me the Print dialog box so I can make choices about what, where, and how to print.
  • View Macros (from the Developer Tab group): This command gives me quick access to lists of macros in my documents.
  • Paste Special (from the Home Tab group): By using the Paste Special command instead of the Paste button on the Home tab, you can reduce the number of clicks it takes to paste. I find myself pasting content as "unformatted text" or as an embedded object pretty frequently.

Help! I can't find macro options!
You'll find macro options on the Ribbon, on the Developer tab, which is hidden by default. In Word 2007, Microsoft Office Excel 2007, Microsoft Office Access 2007, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, you can do the following to make the Developer tab visible:

  1. Click the Office button.
  2. Select Application Options, where Application is the name of the Office application in which you want to display the Developer tab (e.g., if you're in Word, click Word Options. If you're in Excel, click Excel Options).
  3. In the Popular section, select Show the Developer Tab on the Ribbon.

However, the Developer tab has many commands that most power users don't use regularly, so you might want to add commands for recording and viewing macros to your Quick Access toolbar instead and keep the Developer tab hidden. (For information about customizing the Quick Access toolbar, see the previous Q&A.)

Most of my coworkers use Microsoft Office 2003, so I constantly have to choose that file type for saving. Is there a way to make the Office 2003 format the default for saving documents?
Yes, there is. In any program that uses the Ribbon (Word 2007, Excel 2007, Access 2007, PowerPoint 2007), do the following:

  1. Click the Office button.
  2. Select Application Options.
  3. In the Save section, set the appropriate format in the Save files in this format option from the drop-down list.

How do I use shortcut keys with the Ribbon UI?
Remember how you could use Alt keys with menus in previous versions of Office (e.g., Format, Paragraph was Alt+O,P)? On the Ribbon, each item on every tab has a keyboard shortcut associated with it. Press the Alt key to display a tip over each item. That tip identifies the unique key that will activate that item. As you press target keys, new tips appear for subitems. For example, Alt+P activates the Page Layout section of the Ribbon, then shortcut-key tips appear for commands on that section of the Ribbon, such as B for Breaks and N for Next Page section breaks.

What's the best (i.e., quickest and easiest) way to make the default document template look the way that I want it?
After you've changed the various settings to your preferences (e.g., changing the theme, fonts, colors, or paragraph spacing), you can make that particular combination the default to be used for all your new documents. To do so, in the Change Styles gallery menu, simply choose Set as Default.

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