Make the switch to Word 2010

See also

The ribbon, in 3 parts

Part of the Microsoft® Office Fluent user interface, the ribbon is the rectangular region across the top of the document window. It puts the options you need in plain view. The ribbon has three basic components:

  • Tabs. There are eight of them across the top. Each represents an activity area.
  • Groups. Each tab has several groups that show related items together.
  • Commands. A command can be a button, a drop-down list, or a box to enter information.

More commands in dialog boxes

The small arrow, called the Dialog Box Launcher Dialog Box Launcher button in Word 2010, in the lower-right corner of a group, points to more detailed or advanced options available for the commands in the group. Click the arrow to open a dialog box or a task pane where you can work with the available options.

The Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar is the small row of icons in the upper left, above the ribbon. It contains some commands that you use over and over every day: Save, Undo, and Repeat. You can add your favorite commands to it so that they are available no matter which tab you are on.

To add commands to the Quick Access Toolbar, click the More arrow to the right of the toolbar, or right-click the command you want to add, then click Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

What happened to the File menu?

The File menu has been replaced in Microsoft Word 2010 with File tab. Click the tab to see the Microsoft Office Backstage view, where you get the same basic commands as before to open, save, and print your document, as well as set permissions, prepare your document to share with others, and manage your document versions.

Click Options in the Backstage view, and you'll find the program settings for features such as your preferences for correcting spelling. (In earlier versions, these options are on the Tools menu, under Options.)

Use the keyboard

Shortcuts that start with the CTRL key (for example, CTRL+C for copy or CTRL+ALT+1 for Heading 1) remain the same as in previous versions of Word. Keyboard shortcuts that start with the ALT key have changed.

  1. Press the ALT key. The KeyTips appear on the ribbon.
  2. Press the key shown on the KeyTip for the tab or Quick Access Toolbar command that you want.
  • If you press a Quick Access Toolbar command, the command is executed.
  • If you press a tab KeyTip, you'll see the KeyTips for every command on that tab. Press the key (or keys) for the command you want. Depending on what command you choose, an action might be executed or a gallery or menu might open. In the latter case, you can choose another KeyTip.

Note    Most of the Microsoft Office 2003 menu access keys (those that start with ALT) still work. However, there are no onscreen reminders of what keys you need to press.

A new file format, and working with files in previous versions of Word

The new Word 2010 document file format is based on the new Office Open XML Formats (XML is short for Extensible Markup Language). You don't have to understand XML. Just keep in mind that the new XML-based format:

  • Helps make your documents safer by separating files that contain scripts or macros, making it easier to identify and block unwanted code or macros.
  • Helps make your document file sizes smaller.
  • Helps make your documents less susceptible to damage.

Here’s a brief description of Word 2010 file formats:

  • .docx. A standard Word document with no macros or code
  • .dotx. A Word template with no macros or code
  • .docm: A Word document that could contain macros or code
  • .dotm. A Word template that could contain macros or code

In Word 2010, you can open files created in previous versions of Word.

  • When you save a file that was originally created in a previous version, the automatic option in the Save As dialog box is to save it as the previous version (.doc).
  • When you save a file as a previous version, if any Word 2010 features are not compatible with the previous version, the Microsoft Word Compatibility Checker tells you so, and any new features will not work.
  • Note that that when you open a Word file created in a previous version, or when you save a file created in Word 2010 as a previous version, Compatibility Mode is automatically turned on.
  • The Word Compatibility Checker runs automatically. You can also run it manually if you wonder whether any features in a document will be incompatible with previous versions. Click File, click Info, click Check for Issues, and then click Check Compatibility.