Word. Microsoft Word has been the world's most popular word processor for so long, it needs only one name—like Oprah or Madonna. Unlike certain celebrities, though, Word has undergone a makeover that goes well beyond cosmetic. Microsoft has redesigned the way you interact with the program and has redefined the underlying document format (don't worry; your old Word documents will still work).
Some things haven't changed: Word 2007 still makes it easy to create professional-looking letters, business reports, and novels. But Microsoft has loaded the program with new features to make designing and formatting attractive documents easier than ever. So even if you're well acquainted with its predecessors, Word 2007 needs an introduction and a new book too. Some of the commands that are old favorites—like Cut and Paste—are in new places. And some high tech features that you may have found counterintuitive or inaccessible—like mail merge and indexing—are now out in the open and easier to use.
In the past, when Microsoft introduced new versions of Word, it seemed as if the developers simply tacked new features on top of the old program wherever they'd fit. Sometimes the result was sort of like putting fins on a Volkswagen Beetle. With Word 2007, however, Microsoft listened to the critics who complained about Word's maze of menus and dialog boxes. There were also legitimate complaints about illogically placed commands and important tools that were buried. With Word 2007, all commands have been reorganized according to task and function. Is the new system going to put a smile on everyone's face? No, probably not. Is it an improvement that makes Word easier to use for most people? Yes.
Another concern was security. Microsoft has made major changes in Word's file formats to minimize the chance that you'll open a document containing a virus. It would be naive to think these steps will eliminate virus threats, but they'll certainly help.
So c'mon, pop the hood, kick the tires, and take a look at Word's new chassis.
Meet the ribbon. The first thing you notice when you fire up Word 2007 is that it looks different from other Windows programs you've used. The old menus are gone and so are the toolbars. In their place you have the ribbon, which is sort of a hybrid of the two, as shown in Figure I-1. Where you used to see menu names, you see the names on tabs. Click a tab, and you see a ribbon full of buttons, tools, and commands. Unlike Word's previous toolbars, these buttons and tools are big, visual, and often include labels. Buttons clearly state what they do with both words and pictures, and if you see a down arrow, you can be assured it opens a menu of closely related commands.
Figure I-1. That big round button in the upper-left corner is the Office button, where you find the commands that used to live in the File menu. When you click one of the tabs along the top of the ribbon, you see buttons and drop-down menus arranged by task. You can customize the Quick Access toolbar by adding the commands you use most frequently. The Help button—a circle with a question mark—is always available in the upper-right corner of the main window and the dialog boxes.
Word's new ribbon is one of those features that's easier to understand when you see it in action. You can see a screencast (onscreen demonstration) of the ribbon over on the Missing Manuals Web site. Head over to the "Missing CD" page at www.missingmanuals.com. Look for other screencasts throughout this book.
Building Blocks for better docs. Word 2007's Building Blocks save time and stress if you consider yourself a writer (or a doctor, or a manager), not a designer. Building Blocks are predesigned, preformatted elements that you can easily drop into your document. Microsoft has thrown in dozens of headers, footers, tables of contents, fax cover pages, and more. Choose a Building Block with the look you want, and then pop it into your document, knowing it will look good and include any pertinent details, like page number, document title, even your name.
Instant gratification with Live Preview. Have you ever paused with your mouse over a command or a formatting option and wondered what it would do to your document? Those days are over. Live Preview is a new feature in Word 2007. Now when you hold your mouse over a formatting style, Building Block, or color, you see a preview right within your document. If you like the look, click your mouse button. If you don't, move your mouse away from the button or menu option, and your document snaps back to its previous appearance. And, of course, you can preview some more options.
More art for the masses. Each version of Word includes more of everything, and Word 2007 is no different in that respect: more clip art; more charts and graphs; and more lines, shapes, and arrows. There's even a new type of artwork called SmartArt. Developed for business presentations, SmartArt makes it a breeze to create flow charts, organizational charts, and other graphics that combine words and pictures. You provide the words, and SmartArt takes care of all the sizing and formatting.
Help! Get me security. That was the cry of many Word users when they opened a document only to let loose a virus on their poor, unsuspecting computer. Microsoft has tackled security problems from several different directions. For example, Word 2007 has a new file format that makes it easier to ferret out documents that may contain virus-infected programs. (When it comes to Word viruses, the main culprits are Visual Basic for Applications and the tools it creates, called ActiveX controls.) In Word 2007, it's also easier than ever to add digital signatures to documents to make sure files come from a trusted source and haven't been tampered with.
File this way, please. The groans are audible any time an industry standard like Microsoft Word makes major changes to its file format. The file format is the way a program writes information to a computer disc. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft is switching to a new file format for the best of reasons—to make all our computers safer from viruses. The downside of a new file format is that you can't open the new documents with older versions of Word unless you install a compatibility pack for the older programs. (You can read all the gory details in Section 15.2.)
Microsoft expects you to get all the information you need about Word from the Help button in the upper-left corner of the window. Word's help system contains a wealth of information, and it's great in a pinch. But the helps screens are a little long on computer geek-speak and short on useful tips and explanations that make sense to the rest of us. In fact, some of the help screens are on Microsoft's Web site, so you can't even read them without an Internet connection. If you're on the road and can't afford a hotel with a wireless connection, you're out of luck.
This book is the manual you need but Microsoft didn't give you. You'll even find some things in here that Microsoft would never say. If a feature isn't up to snuff, you'll read about it in these pages. What's more, Word 2007: The Missing Manual is designed to accommodate readers at every technical level. You won't be lost even if you've never used any version of Microsoft Word. Look for the sidebars called Up To Speed if you feel like you need to catch up on a topic. For the advanced beginner and intermediate readers, there are plenty of details. Word's a humongous program, and this book pokes into all the nooks and crannies. You'll find examples and step-by-step instructions for many of Word's more complicated features and functions. For even more detail on the advanced topics, look for the Power Users' Clinic sidebars.
Word 2007: The Missing Manual is divided into four parts, each containing several chapters:
starts at the very beginning and gets you up and running fast, whether you're a Word veteran or a newcomer. This part covers creating, opening, and saving documents—complete with a description of Word's new file formats. You'll learn how to view your Word documents as outlines, Web pages, and in special print preview and reading modes.
You'll find chapters devoted to editing text and setting up new documents with custom margins, headers, and footers. You'll learn how to use Word's templates and themes—special tools that make it easy for you to create professional-looking documents. You probably know that Word includes reference tools that check your spelling and help you find the right word, but have you ever used Word's language translation tools or created a custom dictionary of your own technical terms? Now's your chance to learn how it's done. Part 1 wraps up with a complete discussion about printing Word documents.
helps yougraduate to the next level of Word creations. When you work with long documents, it's more important than ever to plan ahead, so outlines are covered first. Word can automatically create a table of contents, an index, and a bibliography for your long document, but you'll want to learn some of the tips and tricks for using these tools. This section also explains the pros and cons of using a master document to manage the parts of a very long document. These chapters cover all the elements you're likely to add to longer and more complex documents, like tables, pictures, and even video and sound clips. Last but not least, this part includes a chapter that reveals the mysteries of mail merge and takes you through step-by-step examples.
covers ways you can share your Word documents and collaborate with colleagues on projects. Whether you're creating a Web page or creating a form, you'll find the details here. If you're ready for a little tech talk and a glimpse of the future, read the chapter on the way Word makes use of XML (Extensible Markup Language). These days, documents often pass through many hands before they're ready for publication, so you'll learn about Word's tools to make that process go smoothly.
moves into intermediate and advanced territory, but you'll be ready for it when you get there. The first chapter in this part covers how you can set up Word to work the way you like to work. If security is an important issue for you, be sure to read the chapter that covers Word's Trust Center and other features for safe computing. You'll learn how to automate tasks in Word using macros, and you'll find an introduction to Visual Basic. If you're planning on creating documents for other people to use, you'll be interested in the final chapter on creating themes and templates.
Throughout this book, and throughout the Missing Manual series, you'll find sentences like this one: "Click Start → All Programs → Microsoft Office → Microsoft Office Word 2007." That's shorthand for a much longer instruction that directs you to click the Start button to open the Start menu, and then choose All Programs. From there, click the Microsoft Office folder, and then click Word's icon to launch it.
Similarly, this kind of arrow shorthand helps to simply the business of choosing commands and menus, as shown in Figure I-2.
If your fingers have ever graced a computer keyboard, you're probably familiar with the following: Press the keys on your keyboard, and text appears in your document. Hold the Shift key down to type capitals or to enter the various punctuation marks you see above the numbers keys (!@#$*&^). Press Caps Lock, and your keyboard types only capital letters, but the numbers and other symbols continue to work as usual. To correct an error you've just made, you can use the Backspace key. Press it down once, and the cursor moves backward one space, erasing the last character you typed. If you continue to hold it down, it will keep on going, eating up your work like a starving man at a smorgasbord. The Delete (or Del) key, usually on or near the numerical keypad, does the same thing but for the character in front of the insertion point.
If you've got that under your belt, then you're ready for the rest of Word 2007: The Missing Manual. This book assumes you're familiar with just a few other terms and concepts:
Clicking. This book gives you three kinds of instructions that require you to use your computer's mouse or trackpad. To click means to point the arrow cursor at something on the screen, and then—without moving the cursor at all—to press and release the clicker button on the mouse (or laptop trackpad). To right-click means to do the same thing, but with the right mouse button. To double-click, of course, means to click twice in rapid succession, again without moving the cursor at all. And to drag means to move the cursor while pressing the button.
Shift-clicking. Here's another bit of shorthand. Shift-click means to hold down the Shift key, and then to click before releasing the key. If you understand that much, then instructions like Ctrl-click and Alt-click should be clear.
The ribbon. Like the older menu system, Word's ribbon shows names across the top of the window—Home, Insert, Page Layout, and so on. In this book, these names are referred to as tabs. The buttons and commands on the ribbon change when you click each tab, as shown in Figure I-3. The ribbon organizes buttons and commands in groups; the name of each group appears along the bottom of the ribbon. For example, the Insert tab has groups called Pages, Tables, Illustrations, Links, and so on.
Keyboard shortcuts. If you're typing along in a burst of creative energy, it's sometimes disruptive to take your hand off the keyboard, grab the mouse, and then travel all the way up to the top of the screen to, say, save your document. That's why many computer mavens prefer to trigger commands by pressing certain combinations on the keyboard. For example, in most programs you can press Ctrl+S to save the file you're currently working on. When you read an instruction like "press Ctrl+S," start by pressing the Ctrl key; while it's down, type the letter S, and then release both keys.
At the www.missingmauals.com. Web site, click the "Missing CD" link to reveal a neat, organized, chapter-by-chapter list of the downloadable practice files mentioned in this book. The Web site also offers corrections and updates to the book (to see them, click the book's title, and then click Errata). In fact, you're invited and encouraged to submit such corrections and updates yourself. In an effort to keep the book as up to date and accurate as possible, each time we print more copies of this book, we incorporate any confirmed corrections you've suggested. We also note such changes on the Web site, so you can mark corrections in your own copy of the book, if you like.
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