Button, button...Crabby has a button

Crabby Office Lady: (c) Microsoft Crabby Office Lady

The new Microsoft Office Button is one of the most practical new features in five 2007 Microsoft Office system programs. It's your go-to button for everything from publishing to making that final inspection of your work.

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Button, button, who's got the button? If you're using Office 2007, you may not know it just yet, but you've got the button. If you aren't, well, you still have the good old File menu, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Of course there isn't anything wrong with that...except for the fact that you're missing out on something quite new and innovative; something designed to make your life (and consequently my life, since I won't be hearing as much griping) a whole lot easier. In other words, if you're using the new Microsoft Office Button, you won't be pushing my buttons so much. So button up those lips and let's see what this new Microsoft Office Button is about. (Because I've run out of witty phrases that have to do with...buttons.)

What is the Office button?

Remember, way back when (like...yesterday) when the good old File menu was your one-stop shopping place to open a file, print a file, and save a file (among other things)? Well, we've moved on from that, and have expanded that old-fashioned menu to do a lot more things.

Although some of the features under the new Microsoft Office Button are different, depending on which program you're in, you will recognize some of the same items that were there under the former File menu, such as New, Open, Save, Save As, and Print. However, there are some items under the Microsoft Office Button that will really save you time and energy. "So where is the button?" you ask.

In the upper left corner of the 2007 Microsoft Office system programs Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook (in the composing and reading windows), you will see a happy, shiny, and colorful little button that looks just like the Office logo (you know, the four colored squares all nestled up in each other, sharing the space and yet each identifiable unto themselves). Not ringing a bell? Well, it looks like this:

Button image

Now you see it, right? (If you don't, you're not looking at one of the five programs I mentioned above, the ones that have the button.) Cute, isn't it? However, as we all know, cute doesn't cut it. We shan't judge a book — or a feature — by its cuteness, shall we? No, we shall judge it by its usefulness, and this happy-faced button is nothing if not commodious and convenient, handy and helpful. And why did we switch the <yawn> File menu for the Microsoft Office Button? Read on.

Let's take a look at what's new in each program that offers the Microsoft Office Button.

Word 2007, Excel 2007, and PowerPoint 2007

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint basically have the same Microsoft Office Button options, with a few differences.

  • Prepare    From the Microsoft Office Button, in all three programs, you can do a lot of things, perhaps one of the most important being that you now have the option to inspect your document. If you select Inspect Document, the program runs a little checker that checks your document for hidden metadata (such as personal information) and things like hidden comments, revision marks, and even custom XML data. From Prepare you can also add a digital signature, encrypt a document, and run a compatibility checker to make sure your document doesn't have features not supported in previous versions of these programs.
  • Send    In all three programs, you can send your document, spreadsheet, or presentation as an e-mail, e-mail as PDF attachment, e-mail as XPS attachment, or a fax using an Internet fax service.
  • Publish    You know you want to...so just do it. With very little effort (which, if you ask me, is both a good and a bad thing) you can create a new blog post with the content of your Word document. In Excel, you can save for Excel Services and specify what is shown in the browser. In PowerPoint, you can choose to package your presentation for a CD, create handouts in Word, and more. And in any of these three programs, you can also share the document, workbook, or presentation by saving it to a document management service, or create a new document workspace (and keep the local copy of the presentation, workbook, or document synchronized, too).

Outlook 2007

Remember: The Microsoft Office Button is not going to be in the main Outlook window; it's in the composing and reading windows.

  • Move    You can choose to move the item you're working on to any number of folders you've already created within your folder structure, or you can also create a new folder from there, too.
  • Permissions    Set the permissions on this piece of mail you're sending, such as Do Not Forward, <your company> Confidential Read Only, and, my personal favorite, Do Not Reply All. (Yeah! Finally! Some people just can't grasp this concept and so now, with this feature, you can help them make the right choice.)

Access 2007

Access is quite a different sort of program than the four I've discussed already, and so it only figures that some of the Microsoft Office Button options will be different too. Of course, you will have the New, Open, Save, Save As, and Print features, but there are a few more that we think you'll find extremely helpful.

  • Manage    With this handy feature, you can perform routine maintenance on a database to ensure data integrity, back up a database, and even set up and review basic database properties (such as name and owner).
  • E-mail    When you click the E-mail button, you can choose to send an object within your database in a variety of formats, such as an Excel workbook, in XPS format, in PDF format, and more.
  • Publish    You can publish your database to a document management server or you can even package and sign it, using a digital signature.
  • Close Database    If you want to close the database but not the program itself; (something I tend to do by accident), click this button and *poof* your wish is granted.

Button, button...now it's your button

Note that there may be other options in the various programs that have the Microsoft Office Button. It's just up to you now to go look around and see what's what. If you're like me (and I know you're becoming more and more like me — we're like a crabby cult now — and that's how I want it), you want to know everything about the new version of Office because so many things have changed and even existing features have been improved. So take it from Crabby: The Microsoft Office Button is a very useful feature and one that I think you'll come to rely on more and more.

"If you die in an elevator, be sure to push the 'up' button." — Sam Levenson

About the author

Annik Stahl, the Crabby Office Lady columnist, takes all of your complaints, compliments, and knee-jerk reactions to heart. Therefore, she graciously asks that you let her know whether this column was useful to you — or not — by entering your feedback using the Did this article help you? feedback tool below. And remember: If you don't vote, you can't complain.

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Applies to:
Access 2007, Excel 2007, Outlook 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Word 2007