How To Use Microsoft Word

Most of us are already familiar with the Microsoft Office suite which offers software for preparing spreadsheets, documents, presentations, database management and other office-related activities. Microsoft Word is the document processing software which comes as part of this suite and allows you to prepare documents such as reports, articles, essays, blogs, etc. Many versions of the Office suite have been released so far, the latest being the 2007 version. In this article, the 2007 version of Word and how to use it are described. This version is quite different from earlier versions in many ways, one in terms of appearance and graphics, the 2007 version is quite colorful in layout as opposed to the drab black and white layout of previous versions. Other differences are covered further below.

  1. Basic features: Two new features in Word 2007 are the "Office Button" and the "Quick Access Toolbar". These will be found at the top left hand corner of the screen as large graphic icons. The Office button helps you in creating, opening, saving, printing, previewing and many other functions related to document creation. The Quick Access toolbar allows you to click on most frequently used commands such as ‘undo', ‘repeat', ‘save', etc. The traditional toolbar makes way for a new "ribbon", which is comprised of several tabs, each with a grouped set of commands. For example, the ‘home' tab will contain commands related to fonts, paragraph styles, etc.
  2. Live preview: Another new feature in Word 2007 is the ‘live preview' where highlighting some text and keeping the cursor over some formatting style will show you what the text will look like with that kind of formatting. The formatting is removed when the cursor is moved away and the text is deselected. The advantage of the live preview is that you can see what a prospective change will look like without making the actual change and undoing the action later as it is with the older versions of Word.
  3. Tabs in the Ribbon: As mentioned in new features above, Word 2007 replaces the traditional toolbar with a ‘ribbon' which is basically a grouping of tabs; each tab is a collection of particular groupings of commands. The first tab in the ribbon is the ‘home' tab which contains commands for clipboard functions - copy, cut, paste, etc; the next tab is ‘font' with commands for font type, size, color, bold, italic and underline options. The next tab is ‘paragraph' which provides access to line spacing, bullet point styles, indenting, borders, etc. The last two sub-tabs are for ‘styles' and ‘editing' tasks.
  4. Tabs (continued): After ‘home' the next tab is ‘insert' which allows access to page styles and breaks, tables, inserts for illustrations, links for bookmarks, cross-referencing and hyperlinks, header and footer styles, symbols and equation styles and special text formatting. Page setup, background, paragraph sizing and alignment commands come under the ‘page layout' tab. Other tabs in the ribbon are ‘references - table of contents, footnotes and endnotes, citations & bibliography, captions, index and table of authorities; a ‘mailings' tab which allows access to mail merge, envelop & label creation and preparing marketing campaigns; the ‘review' tab contains spell check, dictionary, language settings, options for tracking changes, addition/deletion of comments, document comparison and protection. The last tab in the ribbon is ‘view' which gives you document previews, macros, page sizing and other prep commands prior to printing.

The usage of commands and tabs remains the same in Word 2007, except that these are graphically and color enhanced, screen tips are available with short descriptions. The Office button also provides the ability to convert earlier versions' documents to the new 2007 format and you also have the option of changing the document prepared in 2007 into ‘compatible' older versions such as Word 97 or 2003 with some loss in formatting and styling. For any additional queries or assistance on the Word 2007 edition, help can be accessed at the Microsoft product website.


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