Introduction to Word 2007

Word 2007 Plain and Simple book cover

Microsoft Office Word 2007 Plain & Simple
By Jerry Joyce and Marianne Moon

Jerry Joyce has been the technical editor on numerous books published by Microsoft Press, and he has written manuals, help files, and specifications for various Microsoft products. As a developer, he has created numerous programs and tools to simplify data collection and analysis.

Marianne Moon has worked in the publishing world for many years as proofreader, editor, and writer. She has been editing and proofreading Microsoft Press® books since 1984 and has written and edited documentation for Microsoft products such as Microsoft Works, Flight Simulator, Space Simulator, Golf, Publisher, the Microsoft Mouse, and Greetings Workshop.

Jerry and Marianne are the authors of 15 books about the many different versions of Microsoft Windows and Office, including the best-selling Microsoft® Windows® XP Plain & Simple, Windows Vista Plain & Simple, and 2007 Microsoft® Office System Plain & Simple.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.


In this article


This article is a brief introduction to the entirely new structure of Microsoft Office Word 2007. You'll find that the features in Word 2007 look different from those of earlier versions and work quite a bit differently as well. Whether you use Word 2007 for work, school, personal correspondence, or some of each, we've tried to pack this article with information about the important new features in Word 2007 to help you with the tasks you need to accomplish, from the simplest to the more esoteric.

What's new in Word 2007?

The first conspicuously new feature you'll encounter when you start Word will undoubtedly be the Ribbon, which is part of the new interface called Microsoft Office Fluent user interface. And if you've used previous versions of Word, you'll wonder where the menus and toolbars have gone. That's the beauty of the Ribbon. No longer do you have to wander through the maze of menus, submenus, and toolbars searching for what you want. On the Ribbon are all the commands, styles, and resources you need, arranged on task-oriented tabs. The one remaining toolbar is the Quick Access toolbar, where you can place your most frequently used commands and resources for easy access, regardless of which tab of the Ribbon is active.

Another part of the new Microsoft Office Fluent user interface interface is the galleries. These are the graphical equivalents of drop-down menus, except that they show you samples of all the choices that are available for you to “try on.” There are many different galleries—for styles, for themes, for page numbers, and so on. The galleries provide you with the ability to look before you leap. With Live Preview, you can see how the formatting you choose will change your text, pictures, or other content, or how the overall look of your document will change when you switch the theme simply by pointing to the different items in the galleries.

Some of the biggest changes you'll encounter are the new file types. Word uses a whole new file structure that, unfortunately, isn't directly compatible with earlier versions of Word. Of course, you can open and use files from earlier versions, but people who are using any earlier version of Word will need to download and install a converter so that they can open the documents you create using the Word 2007 file format. However, the good news is that the new file format is what enables many of the improvements in Word 2007.

Word 2007 also includes an entirely new graphics tool, SmartArt, which is designed to help you create diagrams and lists that graphically present your information. If you work with technical or legal documents into which you need to insert citations, a full bibliography, a list of works cited, or a legal table of authorities, you'll find that Word's bibliography and citations features are great new ways to take care of these often tedious and time-consuming chores.

And it's not only all the new stuff that's great. Some of Word's existing features have been much enhanced too. Checking your grammar and spelling has become more accurate, and you can now check the contextual use of words. If you're involved in mathematics, science, or engineering, you'll appreciate the enhanced Equations feature, which not only supplies some predesigned equations that you can edit but also makes it easy to create your own equations and save them for future use. Whether you need legal blacklining to indicate changes in a document or you need to track the changes reviewers make to your documents, you'll find the enhancements to the Track Changes feature—including the ability to distinguish between what has been added or deleted and what has been moved—really invaluable.

Word 2007 has also greatly improved document safety and security. You'll be better able to control access to your documents—for example, you can indicate when a document is completed and that no further changes may be made to it. You can easily check for and remove any sensitive or personal information in your documents that you don't want other people to have access to. You can digitally sign a document to provide verification in the electronic file that it really was you who signed it, and you can even attach a scanned image of your signature right there in the document. With Word's improved document-recovery system, your files are now more secure from loss, and the new file system also assists you in being able to recover files if they've become corrupted. And if you end up with system problems involving Word and your computer, you can easily run a series of diagnostics that can determine the problem and can then either fix it or get you the help you need to get it fixed.

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What's where in Word?

Office Word 2007 has many faces and can be customized in countless ways. The pictures in this section show many of the common features you'll see when you're working in Word, and they also introduce just a few of the customizations you can use. Many of the screen elements are identified for you, but it's a good idea to explore Word's interface to discover more about these features. For example, click each of the command tabs and familiarize yourself with what's on the different parts of the Ribbon. If you're not sure what the buttons are used for, point to one of them. In a moment or two, you'll see a ScreenTip that tells you the button's name and gives you a pretty good idea of that particular tool's function.

Screen tip on the Ribbon

The picture below shows more of Word's interface. As you experiment with it, you'll find that Word has many looks: different tabs on the Ribbon for different tasks, a toolbar that you can customize, items that appear exactly when you need them for the job you're doing right that minute, and much more.

Word interface based on tasks

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Working with old documents

When you open a document that was created in an earlier version of Word, you're working in Compatibility mode, which means that some of the new features of Word aren't available. However you'll maintain full compatibility with anyone who's using an earlier version. You can also convert your document so that you can use all the features in Word 2007

 Tip   Some features work differently in Compatibility mode. For example, equations are inserted as pictures, and SmartArt graphics are limited to the diagrams used in earlier versions of Word. These modifications are necessary so that you can open the file in your earlier version of Word.

File open changes

Kitchen Ideas paragraph

If you upgrade the file format of the document, the file won't be usable by people who have earlier versions of Word unless they've installed the Office Compatibility pack, which enables them to read and save this type of file.

 Tip   If you need to send an upgraded file to someone who has an earlier version of Word but doesn't have the Office Compatibility pack, point to the arrow at the right of the Save As command on the Office menu, and choose Word 97–2003 Document from the gallery that appears. You might lose some advanced features in your document, but at least other people will be able to read it.

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Composing different types of documents

You can use templates to quickly create all kinds of documents. Word 2007 comes with numerous templates, and you can download many more. When you start a new document based on a template, the document contains its own design elements, and the template's predefined styles ensure that all your paragraphs work harmoniously together.

Start the document

  1. Choose New from the Office menu to display the New Document dialog box.
  2. With Blank And Recent selected in the left pane, review any templates you've used recently, and double-click the one you want.
  3. If you don't see the one you want, click Installed Templates to see the Microsoft templates that were either installed on your computer or downloaded, and double-click the one you want.
  4. If you still don't see the one you want, click My Templates, and, in the New dialog box that appears, double-click one of the custom templates.
  5. If you want to download a template from Office Online, click a topic to see templates of that type that are available for download, and double-click the one you want.
  6. If you want to use an existing document as the basis for a new document, click New From Existing, and locate and double-click the document in the New From Existing window that appears.

New From Existing

 Tip   Templates are completely customizable and can come from a variety of sources, so you're likely to encounter substantial differences both in design and in ways you can complete a document based on a template. Try to choose a template that's easy to use and whose design is correct for your purposes.

Complete the document

  1. If you aren't already in Print Layout view, click the Print Layout View button.
  2. Save the document with the file name you want, in the location you want.
  3. If the Show/Hide ¶ button on the Home tab isn't already turned on, click it so that you can see all the elements in the template.
  4. If information such as the date is inserted automatically, don't modify the information—it was inserted using a Word field that's automatically updated and formatted.
  5. Click a content control—in this case, an Address content control—and replace any placeholder text with your own text.
  6. Don't delete any of the special design elements—doing so could ruin the layout of the document.
  7. Complete the document, and then save, print, and distribute it.

Address content control

A paragraph mark contains the paragraph's formatting, so don't delete a paragraph mark unless you want to remove that paragraph's elements from your document. When you delete a paragraph mark, any special formatting that was designed for that paragraph will be lost.

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So many ways to view it

Word gives you several ways to view your document as you work on it, and you'll find that your efficiency increases and your work becomes easier when you use the optimal view for the task at hand. You can use either the View tab on the Ribbon or any of the five view buttons at the bottom-right of the window to change your view.

Print Layout View is the standard working view for print documents and it shows you how your document will look when it's printed—the placement of pictures, the arrangement of columns, the distance of the text from the edge of the page, and so on.

Print Layout View

Full Screen Reading View makes it easy to read documents on your screen. The text is laid out in long vertical pages (or screens), just like those you see in most books. If you increase the size of the text for better readability, the content simply flows from one screen to the next. To maximize the area of the screen that's available for the document's content, the elements you normally see in the other views—the tabs, the Ribbon, and the status bar, for example—are no longer visible.

Full Screen Reading View

Web Layout View is exclusively for working with online documents as if they were Web pages. That is, all the elements are displayed, but font size, line length, and page length all adjust to fit the window, just as they do on many Web pages.

Web Layout View

Outline View displays your document as an outline, with the paragraph formatting defining the levels of the outline. By default, Word's standard heading styles have corresponding outline levels—Heading 1 is level one, Heading 2 is level two, and so on—and other paragraph styles, such as Normal, are treated as regular text. You can use Outline view to organize your topics before you start writing, or you can use it to reorganize an existing document.

Outline View

Draft View is designed for speed of entry and editing. It's based on the commercial publishing technique of creating galleys. You place the text and other elements in one long, continuous column that flows from one page to the next, and you deal with the placement of elements after you've ironed out any content problems. Draft view was called Normal view in earlier versions of Word.

Draft View

Print Preview shows you just how your document will look when you print it. You can see a close-up view, one page at a time, or two or more pages at once. Use Print Preview to make sure your document's layout is exactly the way you want before you go ahead and print it.

Print Preview

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Applies to:
Word 2007