Microsoft Office 2007 upgrade tips for support pros

What's new in Office 2007? What's missing? And what's most likely to vex users?

by James E. Gaskin - As companies update to Windows 7, they often bite the second bullet and move to Office 2007. These tips from Jen Darr at PC Helps address some of the most popular user questions and issues.

The ribbon

Yes, your Menu Bar has left the building. Words on the ribbon act like tabs, each above a row of intractable buttons. Moving or changing buttons isn't part of the Microsoft plan, so warn the users.

You can, however, show all keyboard shortcuts on the ribbon by pressing the ALT key and holding it for a bit. Keytips appear on top of the commands.

A new, non-cleverly named Windows button hides several universal Office options, like Save. Windows Button > Menu drops > Save. Thankfully, CRTL+S still works.

Word

In Word 2007, previewing new fonts is actually easier. Microsoft expanded the drop down "font names in the right font" display into an easy way to see your entire document in the new font. Select a block of text, go to the Page Layout Tab, and click the Fonts button. The familiar drop down menu appears, with a twist. When your mouse wanders over the different font listings, the selected text will change into that font. Be ready for font overload from some of your users.

Inserting headers is another tool that's been expanded (did we need more headers?). Go to the Insert tab, click the Header button, and select Edit Header at the bottom of the dropdown menu. Like magic, the page header will expand as the Design ribbon appears with more options than necessary for tweaking and customizing your header. Then be prepared for users to complain that their headers aren't printing right, but that's another tip.

Outlook

Outlook 2007 provides a way to tell someone your schedule without allowing them full access to your calendar. Create a new mail message, then click the Insert tab on the ribbon. See the Calendar icon? Click that, and you be offered a choice of which calendar to include, along with date ranges and the amount of detail to send along. Sometimes you don't want to share, no matter what your mother told you, but you still need to inform. Handy, right?

Excel

Spreadsheet lovers struggle finding the setting to automatically or manually calculate sheets. In Excel 2007, click the Formula tab at the top of the screen, click Calculation Options on the far right and choose between Automatic, Automatic Except for Data Tables, and Manual.

Oddly, you no longer use the Insert function to insert a new page in your worksheet, but at least you can now add new sheets with a single click. Look at the bottom of the workbook and notice the small tab to the far right of the tab block. Click, and presto a new page appears.

PowerPoint

While the meeting fatigued might prefer PowerPoint 2007 was left out of Office, that didn't happen (and you can't blame PowerPoint for bad speakers, just for enabling them). At least those speakers with a photo fetish can use the new Photo Album mode. Click Insert > Photo Album, then choose the directory holding the photos. Select the ones you want to use, and say OK. Each will be placed into an individual slide, ready for the presentation. Now if it only included a stop watch with shut off timer.

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