Microsoft Word 2007

a summary look

Microsoft Word 2007 represents considerable change over Word 97-2003. The biggest change is in the interface, which looks much different. Microsoft opted for a more visual presentation of Word's features. The interface is flashy, even somewhat distracting, but effective even so

New Look

The most obvious change in Word 2007 lies in its user interface. The interface centers on what Microsoft calls the Ribbon. The Ribbon replaces the previous organizational toolbar buttons with tabs. The new interface looks confusing at first, but it organizes functions better. Its visual emphasis keeps more functions in sight. The downside of the Ribbon is its cluttered look.

The Ribbon features icons as well as titles, with many dropdown menus. The interface is busy but the organization of features makes sense.

Office Button

You might not immediately recognize that the Windows icon at the top left of the Ribbon is a button, and not just decoration. This is the Office Button. Click it to reveal basic familiar functions:

Each function has an intuitive drop down menu of related features. Next to the Office Button is the Quick Access Toolbar. The buttons on this toolbar pair with the Start button to give you your most commonly used functions.

Quick Access Tool Bar

The Quick Access Tool Bar is a customizable array of icons representing more of the functions that you will use frequently.

These are the default buttons for this tool bar. The drop down arrow on the right lists more options that can be added to the toolbar:

The Tabs

Once the Start Button and Quick Access Toolbar have become familiar, the tabs make more sense. There are seven tabs. Take them separately:


The Home tab gives you access to the most frequently used formatting commands. The tab is divided into five rationally-organized sections.


Clipboard offers cut, copy, and paste options. You can also perform these functions using keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+x for cut, ctrl + c for copy, ctrl + v for paste), or right-clicking and selecting the option that you want.

Note: The Paste Special command can only be accessed via the Ribbon. Use Paste Special if what you are pasting has different formatting than where it is being pasted. You can keep source formatting or match target formatting.


This section gives you your font options: type, size, color, and so forth. Note the boxed arrow at the lower right of this section of the tab. Clicking the arrow at the bottom right corner of the font section opens the font dialog. This gives you all available font options.

Most tab sections of the Ribbonhave these expansions of possibility. The Ribbonkeeps the most popular options readily accessible and visible. If you cannot find what you need, dig deeper.


These options control alignment, indents, bullets, and so on. Though the options of the Home tab are the ones you will use most often, you cannot keep them constantly visible. This may prove disadvantageous for you. If you have another tab open, you cannot glance to see if bold or center alignments are on.


Styles gives you pre-set formatting options, defining header size and style. Right-click on any style button to create your own definitions. Microsoft's defaults are fine but define styles as you feel fit. Microsoft's defaults often use colored fonts, for instance. You may prefer to save your color cartridges and use only black.

Hovering the cursor over a style button previews the style in whatever paragraph currently has the insertion mark. It may disconcert you to see the format change suddenly if the cursor should accidentally move over the buttons.


Editing consists of Find, Replace, and Select. This placement of these functions seems no more intuitive than in previous versions of Word.

Note: The minimalist question mark (?) located at the top right of the Ribbonis Microsoft's Help Menu. The three tabs of earlier versions of Help have been replaced by Browse and Table of Contents in separate sections, plus a search window. It looks more stylish, in a distracting way.

The other tabs work similarly and can be described briefly.


There are seven sections to the Insert tab. Microsoft performed considerable reordering from previous versions of Word to organize functions in this way. The seven sections are:

Page Layout

These are all the options that affect the look of the page.


References supplies the tools for scholarly works. The six sections are self-explanatory:


This tab makes the process of creating a mailing list much simpler than earlier versions of Word. All options are laid out in a clearly logical, comprehensive presentation.


Revise and receive comments on your document.


Controls Word's display.


Word can now create documents in Adobe's PDF format. PDF, which stands for Portable Document Format, is now a standard format. Its advantage lies in its consistency. PDFs cannot be directly edited. If you need to make changes, you must go back to the original Word document, make your changes, then create a new PDF. Make sure that you specify that Adobe Reader opens all PDFs, otherwise Word will try to. Word can only open PDFs that it created.


Microsoft Word 2007 is fully loaded. You might not need all of its features, in which case use Microsoft's Notepad or any other simple word processor. For better or worse, Word is a word processing standard.